Any time that you install plank-style flooring, such as hardwood or laminate, you should stagger the joints where the planks come together to avoid straight joint lines across the floor. This creates a sturdier flooring surface, which holds up better under normal use. Though it might sound like a puzzle, staggering the joints in a flooring job is a simple process that can be accomplished by trimming flooring planks.
Lay the first row of flooring planks out in a straight line across the floor near one wall. When you reach the end of the first row and cannot fit a full plank, measure the space left at the end of the row and cut the final plank down to that size with a circular saw to fit it into the leftover space.
Measure 6 to 8 inches from the end of a flooring plank on each edge and mark the plank on each side. Trim the 6- to 8-inch piece off of the flooring plank. Place this at the beginning of the second row of planks, locking the plank into place with the tongue-and-groove feature of the plank.
Place full-size planks next to the trimmed plank at the start of the second row up to the end of the row where you can't fit a full plank. Cut a plank down to fit the space as you did for the first row.
Measure 12 to 16 inches down from the end of the flooring plank to start the third row, marking each side of the plank and cutting the piece off with a circular saw. Lay the plank down to start the third row, placing full-size planks down the row next to it until you reach the end of the row and then cutting the final plank to size.
Start the fourth row with a full-size plank just as you did the first row and lay the planks out as you did in the initial row. Cut the next row's first plank down by 6 to 8 inches, the following row's first plank down by 12 to 16 inches then continue the three-row pattern across the room to stagger the plank joints.