How Much Wood Do I Need For a Herringbone

Wood is a versatile and very durable material if taken care of. Flooring and walls can be made of it, and one popular design choice of flooring made of wood is herringbone. It can be a bit expensive to get it done professionally, but if you are well versed in woodwork, then you can turn it into your next DIY project. Though you might be confused as to how much wood does it require to get a herringbone? Well, let’s help you find out.

Usually, the amount of wood you will need for a herringbone will always be 20-25% above the wood you would need for normal flooring. This 20-25% is the waste that will be removed from the wood after the cut. A herringbone requires more cuts and thus we need that much extra wood for such a flooring design.

There are many design patterns for flooring that people like to install in their homes. It just makes it aesthetically pleasing to look at and improves the real estate value. The only issue is that patterns like herringbone can be really costly, but you can reduce the costs by doing it yourself. However, you will still need to buy extra wooden boards if you are repurposing the old ones accounting for the waste from the cuts.

How Much Extra Material Does Herringbone Need?

You will need 20-25% extra wooden boards than what is needed for normal wooden flooring for herringbone. But that is not all, you will also need to get enough finishing to reapply on the parts that are cut. So this way the flooring will be protected from any moisture damage.

If you look at the herringbone pattern, it requires you to lay wood flooring 45-degrees instead of vertically or horizontally to the wall. So when you come close to the corners, you will need to make plenty of cuts to fit the wood. This will cause a lot of wood to get wasted in the process. You will need smaller triangles to fit in the zig-zag shape in the four ends of the room.

Basically, there is a lot of board cutting, and even more finish to apply in the areas you have cut to protect the boards from moisture. You will also need tools like a router and a miter saw along with a circular saw. Without these tools, it will be a bit hard for you to work on a herringbone pattern flooring yourself.

Can You Make Your Own Herringbone Pattern?

You can work on your own herringbone pattern flooring, it is not impossible. All you need is some experience, a little guidance, and some equipment. If you have all of this, then you can definitely do it by yourself without hiring professional help.

Here is a detailed video of how you can install herringbone flooring by yourself:

This video illustrates how much waste goes into a herringbone as well as how much time it takes to install it compared to normal flooring. He needed to make a jig, cut the normal boards to fit in the narrow path, and make grooves and tongue joints from scratch after he had cut them off for fitting purposes. All you need is the proper equipment, and you can do it yourself as well.

What Angle Do You Cut a Herringbone

The herringbone pattern requires you to install wood at a 45-degree angle. That is the angle that you cut it as well, to fit it on your room floor. While normal flooring is perpendicular and parallel to the sides of the room. In addition, not only do you require the wood at a 45-degree angle, but you also need to cut it like that as well. This matters a lot because even a single degree can ruin the whole board. 

After that, you will need to start again and cut a new board at that angle. This is why there are high chances of waste in herringbone pattern flooring, not to mention the waste that is inevitable.

What Finish to Apply on Herringbone Flooring

Since it is flooring, it will require you to seal the wood with the same finish as any normal wood flooring. People usually use either varnish or polyurethane, a film-based finish, that will protect the wood from moisture. People can spill water on the floor by accident, and you need a finish that seals the wood so well that the water does not get absorbed by it.

It will also protect the flooring from dents, scratches, and such. You can apply a wax polish or floor wax to keep the shine of the floor from diminishing. This will give the floor a fresh look.


What is the meaning of herringbone?

Herringbone is a pattern in which rectangles are joined in a way that resembles the skeleton of a fish such as a herring.

What is the amount of waste wood that is produced from the herringbone pattern?

Usually, the waste is 20-25% from the cuts but might vary in some cases depending on the size of the space you need to install the herringbone flooring.

What tools will you need to install a herringbone pattern yourself?

You will need a miter saw for cutting wood at a perfect 45-degree angle, a router for cutting grooves and tongue joints into the board, nails, and hammers for sliding in the boards and fitting the joints, and a circular saw for making quick cuts for adjustment.

What finish is best suited for herringbone flooring?

Herringbone flooring will require a varnish or polyurethane finish to help it preserve any moisture. You can add a coat of any polishing compound or wax for extra shine and protection over the varnish or polyurethane as well.

Final Thoughts

A herringbone pattern is sublimely beautiful, it can be the next step to enhance the aesthetics of your house after installing normal wooden flooring. As hard as it sounds, It is not impossible to achieve as well if you keep in consideration the wood waste and extra material required for it. 

If you are prepared for anything, it will come a bit easier to you, whether you have to work on a herringbone pattern or some other design. You can do it yourself as well if you have time, experience, and the equipment needed for it.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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