Laying hardwood floors in different directions

Q: We are currently having Bamboo floors installed in our house by a contractor. The contractor is saying that our subfloor is uneven because of settling. Our contractor wants to run the floors in our family room perpendicular to the way he laid them in the living room and dining room?

Shouldn’t the floors be laid in the same direction throughout the entire house? Is there a way to fix the unevenness of the subfloor? Is laying hardwood floors in different directions okay?

A: As a general rule of thumb, most floors (planks) should be installed across the joists and not parallel to them. Anything can be fixed and whatever is causing unevenness in the sub floor would need to be ascertained first.

Similar Q: My hardwood floors are 100 years old, and run the same as the joists. I want to add a new hardwood floor to my kitchen. Which way should the floor lay, with the joist or across the joist?

A: Your existing hardwood is likely 3/8 strip which one old time expert has referred to as a “floor covering”. it doesn’t add any structural stability as was often laid in any direction without concern for the direction of the joists. A 3/4 thick floor should almost always be installed across the joists unless the sub floor is 1 1/4 thick or more.

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