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mnp13 11-12-2012 09:57 AM

Herringbone floor calculation
I have been looking into putting down a herringbone floor, and I am not understanding the "rules" for the calculations.

The most common thing I have read is that the length of each board must be a multiple of the width of the board. I don't understand why, and have not found an explanation for that anywhere. Is it for aesthetics or is there an actual reason that the pattern will not work right if that rule is not followed?


Awoodfloorguy 11-12-2012 10:28 AM

The reason the width of the floor needs to be a multiple of the board, is not just for ascetics it's to make the pattern work. It is very hard to explain, but it does need to be done this way. Many manufacturers mill flooring specifically for herringbone installations. A good option for prefinished or unfinished herringbone is WD Flooring for unfinished flooring, or their stang-lund line for prefinished. They will custom make any of their products to your specifications. Here are some links to their sites;,

mnp13 11-12-2012 10:51 AM

That's the thing, I'm using reclaimed maple for my floor, so I'm not ordering anything. I'm trying to figure out if I can do herringbone for my dining room, but haven't figured out the math on it yet. The boards are 1 1/2 inches wide, and I want to do the center of the room in the pattern with concentric squares around the outside. I have a staircase that juts into the room and I'll be starting the center at the corner of that so that if we ever move the stairs I can just fix the outside of the room, and not have to mess with the herringbone area.

I've been searching for information online but haven't found anything to explain the reasons for it. My hardwood floor book wasn't much help either.


Awoodfloorguy 11-12-2012 11:00 AM

You can use 1.5", you just need to be sure the lengths you make each board are multiples of 1.5". So sizes that would work are 12", 13.5", 15", 16.5" and so on.

mnp13 11-12-2012 11:10 AM

Thank you. :thumbsup:

But my question remains... why? :laughing:

The boards are laid at 90 degree angles to each other, with overlapping ends between rows. If 1.5 inch wide boards are cut to 10 inches long, won't they still be at 90 degree angles to each other and the ends will still overlap between rows? There will just be more rows to fill the same field.

If it's aesthetics and proportion and balance to the overall look then I can accept that. But I'm not understanding why the pattern would or would not work based on the length of the boards. Again, I'm not challenging the fact, but I'm not understanding it.

Yes, I'm one of "those" people - I'll do as I'm told, but I want to understand the why of it, so that when someone asks me I don't have to say "because the internet told me so."

tacomahardwood. 11-12-2012 05:07 PM

The old rule of thumb , Lay some out the way you think they should be and see what happens before you cut all your stock up , If it works Keep cutting and laying if not then go figure , But you are right in my assumption , However any time I layed herring bone / I THINK I recall the ends did not have toungues and I don't remember why

mnp13 11-12-2012 06:14 PM

Yes, my research says that all of the end should be grooves, and not tongues. I've seen that a few places. I'm going to play with some scraps and figure things out.

tacomahardwood. 11-12-2012 09:32 PM

You can het a biscut cutter bit or groover bit at Home depot and toungue them with a router , Just use a grooved piece of the wood to set the depth on the router bit so you groove it right.

DrLaf23 03-21-2017 03:11 PM

Re: Herringbone floor calculation
Something that can't be explained often doesn't exist. Pattern on the left is 2,7 inches by 6,3 (0.4285714285... ratio), pattern on the right is 3 by 9. :vs_worry:

DrLaf23 03-21-2017 03:18 PM

Re: Herringbone floor calculation

jlhaslip 03-21-2017 10:28 PM

Re: Herringbone floor calculation
bad link for the image

LawnGuyLandSparky 03-22-2017 11:02 AM

Re: Herringbone floor calculation
5 year old zombie thread.

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