Racking is defined as laying out the floor before it is installed.

Racking becomes time saving and gives one a better idea of the overall color and appearance of the installation before it happens.  A lot of professionals and Do-It-Yourself’ers will pull one piece at a time from boxes and install it right away. This will not get you a good mix of colour and in cases of a hardwood floor, a poor length mix. This will always result in a poor experience for the home owner, and rightfully so.

Racking will provide a better mix of Colour.

The last thing you want is to be looking at a brand new installation with dark and light colored boards bunched across the floor. The same goes with poor distribution of lengths as nearly all hardwood floors are manufactured in random length. Racking will prevent bunching of smaller pieces in one area, providing the installer keeps an eye out for it. Generally you or the installer should select from 4-5 bundles or boxes of hardwood, vinyl or laminate at a time to allow a better mixture of colour and lengths.

By using 4-5 boxes you not only get the colour and grain variation, but the lengths are mixed accordingly. Avoid bunching smaller and larger pieces as well; they should be placed at random. End joints should be staggered as far apart as possible but six inches seems to be a preferred minimum among professional installers for products three inch wide and less. For wide plank floors the spacing should increase. End joints should not be repeated with subsequent rows.

Racking also allows for final inspection of the flooring for finish quality and milling before the actual fastening. Sometimes you cannot see every flaw on the floor while you are on your hands and knees installing it, but looking from a standing position is likely to provide a better view. Keep in mind, if any defective hardwood is installed, no manufacturer will consider it a claim, nor is it covered under warranty. It is the responsibility of the installer to perform final inspection.