Is the Herringbone Floor Pattern Right for You?
Solid and engineered hardwood Herringbone wood floor costs around $9.50 per square foot installed. While a herringbone wood floor is a gold standard, many stylish alternatives exist, including tile, vinyl & laminate. Wood herringbone is more expensive than other options due to the increased labor costs for installation.
Last Updated: June 8, 2023, by: Greca Fotopoulos
Herringbone wood floors make an attractive statement, delivering energy and a sense of flow to any home or office. You know that; it’s likely why you’re here. So, let’s talk about Herringbone floors.
WHAT IS A HERRINGBONE FLOOR PATTERN (A SHORT HISTORY)
Herringbone wood flooring is produced using wood pieces all the same length, usually 12” to 24” long, but planks to 36” are available. Planks are also called slats by installers.
The essential element is that the diagonal planks are arranged to meet at 90-degree angles.
In traditional herringbone, the ends of the planks feature a straight cut, and the plank ends are arranged in a back-and-forth staggered way. Here is the key: The end of one plank butts to the side of the plank it meets at the 90-degree angle.
What is a chevron pattern? The planks are arranged similarly, but their ends are cut at an angle rather than straight across. And the planks meet end to end. This results in a visual straight line formed where the planks butt one another.
The angle of the cut can vary; it isn’t always 90 degrees. Dramatic angles give rise to a tighter, more vertical pattern. Lesser angles produce a broader, more relaxed configuration.
Did you know? Both styles are considered parquet flooring or parquetry. Look at plenty of both samples as you consider the herringbone vs. chevron stylistic difference before purchasing.
Herringbone, a brief history: Tales are told, and artifacts are displayed, of this zigzag pattern dating to ancient Egypt and the later Roman Empire.
However, it wasn’t until the 16th century that herringbone wood floors became the rage among the upper crust in Europe. As the middle class developed, this distinctive flooring pattern rose in popularity. Today, these floors are available at various prices suitable for most budgets.
Did you guess this? The traditionally narrow planks arranged as they are in the design gave rise to its name – Herringbone, or herring bone. The slats and pattern look something like a fish skeleton.
HOW IS WOOD HERRINGBONE INSTALLED?
While not a Herringbone flooring installation tutorial, here are a few tips for getting a finished floor you’ll love forever. In short, this is the installer’s approach to the job – though the first task on the list is yours.
1). Decide on solid hardwood Herringbone floors or engineered flooring. If the floor is above grade and not a bathroom, then consider solid wood flooring first.
When moisture or humidity could be an issue, consider engineered hardwood Herringbone floors with attached underlayment or padding. A solid hardwood layer sits atop layers of plywood or similar material that make the planks less prone to swelling and shrinking with changes in humidity.
2). Layout the flooring so that a Herringbone pattern runs near the center of the room. This will produce a balanced appearance. It will also look better if the pattern is somewhat balanced at the edges of the room rather than having a full pattern against one wall and a partial pattern at the opposite wall. This is especially noticeable in a small area like a bathroom or hall.
3). Use a tool called a rafter square to maintain the 90-degree angle for planks as the installation proceeds. Most installers also use a piece of thick plywood with a true 90-degree angle to guide installation. This is called a nailing blank or template.
Each plank is placed against the blank. Most feature tongue and groove design for a snug fit. Boards are secured with a nail gun.
4). Work out from the established pattern. Additional slats and rows of slats can be installed vertically and horizontally to create the flooring field.
Planks are trimmed at the edges, of course, allowing a small gap at the walls. The gap allows for expansion of the wood with changes in humidity, and the gap is covered by shoe molding. Another option is to run slats end to end around the room’s perimeter to create a border that frames the floor.
WOOD HERRINGBONE INSTALLATION COST
Solid and engineered hardwood Herringbone wood floor costs around $9.50 per square foot installed. Top prices for premium herringbone hardwood floors are over $30/per square foot. Cost is high partly because the work is labor-intensive and beyond the skills of most DIY enthusiasts.
|Wood Type||Installed Cost / Sq.Ft.|
|White Oak||$12.50 – $24.00|
|Red Oak||$12.75 – $25.00|
|Maple||$14.50 – $29.00|
|American Walnut||$21.00 – $32.00|
|European Oak||$15.50 – $26.00|
|Imported Generic||$9.50 – $16.00|
|Imported Exotic||$24.00 – $33.00|
|Cherry||$22.50 – $32.00|
|Bamboo||$19.50 – $28.50|
COST FACTORS TO CONSIDER
There are a few decisions to make that affect the price of Herringbone wood floors.
Wood species: As the price list shows, the cost varies significantly. Cheap imported flooring is the most affordable. European and domestic hardwoods like white oak vary but are primarily in the midrange in price. Imported exotic woods like Brazilian Cherry are the most expensive. Bamboo is an attractive newer option.
Prefinished or unfinished: Prefinished flooring costs more, but you save the cost of finishing it on-site. In the end, you probably save with prefinished Herringbone wood floors.
Plank or slat width and length: The wider and longer the pieces, when all else is the same, the higher the cost. For example, a survey of pricing showed that 2.25”x12” American Walnut costs about 12% less than 5”x30” flooring. In white oak, the difference is around 15%.
Solid vs. engineered hardwood: There’s little difference in cost. In some brands, solid costs more than engineered. The opposite is true for other lines.
BEST PLACES TO BUY WOOD HERRINGBONE
As interest in this unique hardwood flooring surges, it is on trend, as they say, more retailers will carry it. But currently, your options for where to purchase Herringbone wood floors are limited.
If you prefer to buy locally, check out flooring stores near you. Chances are that the stores will have limited flooring in stock. Most options will have to be ordered – but that’s true for most hardwood flooring purchases.
Your local Lowe’s, Home Depot, and other building supply stores can order herringbone. But if you want to talk with a salesperson with a more thorough understanding of this wood floor type, then you will probably prefer the experience at a dedicated flooring store.
It’s not abundantly available on the internet, either. Hosking Hardwood, Havwoods, BuildDirect, and Czar Floors have an acceptable selection of herringbone.
WOOD HERRINGBONE ALTERNATIVES
The pattern is not unique to hardwood! Please take a look at these options.
Most herringbone floor tile is produced in mosaics – a series of ceramic, porcelain, or marble tiles in the proper configuration and pre-attached to a mesh backing. The assemblies are fastened to the subfloor and then grouted. Of course, individual tiles could be used too, but installation can be a nightmare even for a tiler, and installation prices would skyrocket.
Cost for 300 square feet installed: $3,500 to $6,600
Example: Havenwood 12″ x 15″ Porcelain Herringbone/Chevron Wall & Floor Tile
Related Reading: How to Clean Grout
VINYL SHEET FLOORING
The most affordable choice, herringbone vinyl sheet flooring, is waterproof and suitable for any location, including wet areas. Sheet herringbone vinyl comes in the look of wood, tile, and bricks.
Cost for 300 square feet installed: $1,450 to $2,750
Example: Stainmaster Walnut Herringbone Wood Look sheet vinyl with a retail price of $1.59 per square foot.
LVP – LUXURY VINYL PLANK FLOORING
Herringbone LVP has a lot going for it, from a lower cost than hardwood to easier DIY installation to water-resistant durability that is softer underfoot.
Cost for 300 square feet installed: $2,600 to $3,825
Example: Lifeproof Click Lock LVP herringbone plank flooring in various colors retails for $3.70/square foot.
If you prefer something with more of a wood feel but a much lower cost, herringbone laminate flooring is an ideal choice. Most options are water-resistant and DIY-friendly.
Cost for 300 sq ft installed: $2,385 to $4,400
Example: AquaGuard Herringbone Water-resistant laminate flooring in several colors for about $4.00 per square foot for the flooring only.
Whilst it won’t give you the wood look, another material that lends itself really well to the herringbone pattern is brick paver flooring. Virtually indestructible and completely waterproof, brick is a particularly good choice for entryways, mudrooms or bathrooms.
Cost for 300 sq ft installed: $2,400 to $6,000
Example: These very different colored brick options show you the range of styles that can be created – from modern farmhouse to scandi-chic.
Is a herringbone floor a good idea?
Herringbone is sophisticated and timeless. The energy and sense of movement that the herringbone pattern creates make it the most popular wood floor installation style. Yes, it’s attention-grabbing, which might seem daunting, but you won’t regret it.
Is herringbone floor more expensive?
A herringbone wood floor is more expensive to install than regular wood flooring planks due to the increased time and labor costs to install the herringbone pattern. However, this is not true of tile flooring (pre-attached to a mesh backing) or vinyl sheet flooring.
Is the herringbone floor out of style?
The herringbone pattern has been around for centuries and has remained popular throughout that time. As a flooring pattern, it is more of a statement floor than other flooring options and needs to be surrounded by thoughtful interior design, but it will never be out of style.
Related Reading: Rustic Hardwood Flooring Ideas
How much does it cost to lay herringbone floors?
Wood herringbone (solid or engineered hardwood) costs anywhere from $9.50 to $30+ per sq/ft, depending on the quality of the wood. Herringbone wood floor alternatives, like tile and vinyl, are much cheaper, ranging from $4.80 to $14.60 per sq/ft on average.
About the Author:
Greca is the lead style writer at Home Flooring Pros (more), with a BA in Technical Art, she’s focused on flooring trends, flooring ideas, and flooring brand reviews.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than creating a home that you love. The hardest thing about this job is trying not to covet all the great floors I get to review; if I could remodel my home every month, I would!”