Most plank installations will require working backwards somewhere

Working backwards can be difficult and it can be easy, it really depends on the product you are using. Either way, I always try to start in an area that will help me avoid having to do so. I do have a few tips that will help you when you do have to work backwrds. We will discuss this later in this post. 

Why is it difficult?  It is really easy to damage the locking system of the plank when installing. Especially when a tapping block is needed to help tap the plank into place. Because the plank’s locking system is designed for the tongue to go into the groove and not the opposite, a tapping block is usually needed to force the plank together. 

When you are working backwards you will be hitting the tongue with the tapping block and the tongue is really easy to damage. If you damage the tongue, even slightly, it is very difficult to get the planks to lock together. The result will be you will have a slight gap instead of that tight joint that is desired. 

Planks can come apart

Another issue from working backwards while installing plank can be the planks come apart a lot easier.When you are installing a plank you need to lift it at a slight angle to get the joints together. Because of the design of the locking sytem, when you lift the planks from the tongue side(instead of the normal lifting from the grooive side) it comes apart a lot easier. 

Well, that be great if you were trying to take the floor apart, but not when you are trying to put it together. It can cause frustration pretty quickly when you get a row almost done and then it all comes apart again while trying to put another plank in.  




Tips for working backwards

Cut a Scrap

If you cut a scrap of plank and use this to beat on with your tapping block, then the edge of the plank you are installing will not get damaged. You can also use this same tip when installing all of your plank.

Get a good tapping block

A good tapping block cannot be found at any of the big Home Improvement stores. I really don’t know why they haven’t been providing quality tools for plank installations, they just haven’t.  Click Here to see where I get it.

Do you want to AVOID using Transitions?

This is a question only you can answer, I cannot answer this for you. The reason is pretty simple –

Yes, your manufacturer will void your warranty if you do not use transitions at breaking points like doorways and long runs that they state “are too long”. 


So, I will only answer this question one way-   what would I do if this were a job I was installing or what would I do if  I was installing plank in my own house. 

I only use transitions where the plank will come to an end. This is how I approach every installation I do Professionally. It is also how I would do it in my own house. 

If I were to ever have an issue of the floor buckling, I would then cut the floor at a doorway and add a transition at that time. 


Now you need to decide what you would do…


If you decide to use transitions in every door then you will not have to worry about working backwards as much. It is when you decide that you want a seamless installation and no transitions, then you might have to work backwards in a few areas.

Many people these days are installing plank all throughout their entire house. This is where you need to get creative and come up with a good plan on where you should start. If you do this then you might be able to avoid having to work backwards in some of the areas and maybe even none at all. 

Here are some examples of some layouts and how you can AVOID working backwards

Here is what I would do to AVOID working backwards

Here is another example

If I start in the Kitchen there is One Bedroom and the Nook to install backwards

Sometimes it is a toss up on where the best place to work backwards is. The last one I just showed you was a tossup. You might have furniture to consider or maybe the order of what you remodeled first. There can be many factors brought into your decision, you just need to at least think about it in the beginning. By doing this you are saving yourself a lot of headaches.

Need Help Deciding

I can help you with your layout and help you decide where the best place to start would be. You can share a drawing with me, we can talk it through and make a great plan. As a member of Laminate University you will have access to these benefits and plenty more. Join 100’s of other DIY’ers just like you and let’s make a plan.