Installing Cabinets On Top of a Floating Floor

      There are at least two ways to do it so that the floor is free to expand and contract. However, water damage to flooring is still a risk to consider. November 19, 2005

Question
I have a client that wants to install a floating laminate style floor and then have me install the cabinets on top of it. I told him it was a bad idea because the floor needs to move around for seasonal expansion and contraction. He told me that the sales rep said it would be ok. The cabinets will be on 3 walls, so the floor would truly be trapped. I am looking for some responses to this so that I can show him I'm just not making things up. I told him if I do this I will put in my contract that I told him about floor problems in advance and will not be responsible for any buckling or separation.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor W:
If it were one wall I might consider it, but 3 walls is not a charm. The floor has no where to go during expansion, especially in the short span between cabinet bases. In many situations heavy furniture is placed on these floors after the install, but at least you could move them if a problem arises.



From contributor J:
I recently did a church that had laminate flooring installed, and was surprised at the amount of expansion and the force it creates. They had to come back and cut the flooring around the perimeter after about a month, and they removed 3/8"- 1/2". If he'd sign off on it, go for it, but he will have expansion and contraction issues with the floor, guaranteed. It would be better to lay the flooring after the cabinet install for a variety of reasons - floor damage during construction, expansion issues, being able to solidly shim the cabinets to the floor, and etc. Let it be his call.


From contributor E:
They will have to greatly improve on laminated flooring before I would ever buy it. I just don't like it at all. Most of it is made out of masonite. Get a little water on it and watch it swell up. You better write up a contract stating you are not responsible for the floor. Have the guy sign it.


From contributor C:
I have installed cabinets over laminate flooring in the past. What I did was drill oversized holes in the laminate for my leg levelers. There were no problems, and the kicks hide the holes and the floor can move all it wants.


From contributor G:
Contributor C has a good idea. I hadn't thought about drilling holes for the levelers. We install Euro cabinets on leg levelers over existing wood floors, and there hasn't been a problem so far. In other words, put legs on your cabinets and let them float on top of the floating floor. Depending on the look you want, you could have euro style legs with a detachable kick or traditional cabinet legs (which would cost more).


From contributor H:
I wouldn’t install these under any circumstances. I moved into a condo in South Florida and had Quickstep flooring with a 25 year warrantee including water. The installers would only install after I installed the cabinetry in the kitchen. I used euro legs and fit the toekick in after. Then we had a main drain stack back up into our sinks and flood the floor badly as well as the inside of my sink cabinet. I build the sink cabs with ply and Formica and put silicone on the joints before assembly. The cab was fine but the floor swelled in two places. It was a simple job to remove the toekick and cut out the damaged area and patch new strips back in. You cannot tell that anything happened to this floor. This would not have been possible to do if the flooring ran under all the cabinets.


From contributor F:
To the original questioner: Can you attach the cabinets in two places along the back and not the floor? This will still allow the floor to float. If you must attach to the floor, drill oblong holes for your mounting screws to go into. If you don't install on the floor, someone else will. The unfortunate event described by Contributor H is really the owner’s responsibility and has no affect on your cabinets if it is discussed prior to install.


From contributor M:
I had a tech advise me on this very subject. He had me put metal cabinet protectors nailed to the bottom of the bases. The floor can slide on the metal caps. It’s been about 2 years and there have been no problems. The floor did expand, yet there was no buckling. Have the homeowner sign off anyway to cover yourself.



Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: Installation


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2014 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article