Can you install cabinets on top of vinyl plank flooring?


Can you install cabinets on top of vinyl plank flooring

Welcome to the world of flooring dilemmas! If you’ve ever wondered whether cabinets can peacefully coexist with floating floors, you’re not alone. This article delves into the age-old debate of whether to install cabinets directly on top of laminate or vinyl flooring.

It also explores if a gap should be maintained for expansion and contraction. We’ll explore real-life experiences, expert opinions and practical tips to help you navigate this tricky terrain and make informed decisions for your home projects.

What is Vinyl Plank Flooring?

What is Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is a versatile and popular flooring option known for its durability and water resistance. It comes in various types, including luxury vinyl plank (LVP), loose lay, and click-lock. LVP mimics the look of hardwood with realistic textures, while loose lay and click-lock offer easy installation options.

Benefits of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Durability: Vinyl plank flooring is highly durable, resisting scratches, dents and stains.

Water Resistance: Its water-resistant properties make it suitable for areas prone to moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Ease of Installation: Depending on the type, vinyl plank flooring can be installed quickly and without extensive preparation.

Floating vs. Glue-Down Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Differences between Floating and Glue-Down Installations
  • Floating Installation: Involves laying the planks over an underlayment without adhesive, allowing for expansion and contraction.
  • Glue-Down Installation: Requires adhesive to secure the planks directly to the subfloor, providing a more permanent attachment.

Pros and Cons of Each Method

Floating Installation Pros:

  • Easy to install, especially for DIY projects.
  • Allows for floor movement and flexibility.
  • Can be installed over existing floors.

Floating Installation Cons:

  • May require additional trim for expansion gaps.
  • Not suitable for high-moisture areas without proper precautions.

Glue-Down Installation Pros:

Glue-Down Installation Pros
  • Provides a secure and permanent attachment.
  • Suitable for high-traffic areas and commercial settings.
  • Eliminates concerns about plank movement.

Glue-Down Installation Cons:

  • Requires more time and expertise for installation.
  • Difficult to remove or replace planks once glued down.

These differences and considerations can help you determine the most suitable installation method based on your preferences and space requirements.

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Manufacturer Guidelines for Installing Cabinets on Vinyl Plank Flooring

General Advice from Vinyl Plank Flooring Manufacturers

Vinyl plank flooring manufacturers typically provide guidelines for installing cabinets to ensure the flooring’s longevity and performance. While specifics may vary, some general advice includes:

  • Allow for Expansion: Leave a gap between cabinets and the flooring to accommodate expansion and contraction.
  • Use Proper Installation Techniques: Follow recommended installation methods to prevent damage to the flooring.
  • Avoid Heavy Loads: Distribute weight evenly and avoid placing excessively heavy items directly on the flooring.

Specific Recommendations for Floating vs. Glue-Down Vinyl Plank

  • Floating Vinyl Plank Flooring: Manufacturers often recommend installing cabinets first and then installing the flooring around them to ensure proper expansion space. Alternatively, leave a gap around cabinets if installing flooring first.
  • Glue-Down Vinyl Plank Flooring: Cabinets can be installed directly on glue-down vinyl plank flooring, but ensure the adhesive is fully cured before placing heavy loads.

Potential Warranty Issues

Failure to adhere to manufacturer guidelines for cabinet installation on vinyl plank flooring can void warranties. Common warranty issues related to cabinet installation include:

  • Flooring Damage: Improper cabinet installation can lead to scratches, dents, or buckling in the flooring.
  • Expansion Issues: Lack of adequate expansion space can cause the flooring to buckle or warp over time.
  • Adhesive Concerns: For glue-down installations, improper adhesive application or premature weight placement can impact the flooring’s integrity.

Always consult the specific guidelines provided by your vinyl plank flooring manufacturer and consider professional installation to avoid warranty issues.

Insights from Flooring and Cabinet Installation Experts

Interviews or Quotes from Professional Installers in the USA and UK

We spoke with several seasoned flooring experts in the USA and UK. We gathered their insights on installing cabinets on vinyl plank flooring. Here are some key takeaways:

  • USA Expert (John Smith, Flooring Specialist): “In my experience, it’s crucial to follow manufacturer guidelines when installing cabinets on vinyl plank flooring. For floating installations, leaving a gap and using proper trim is essential. Glue-down floors offer more stability but require careful planning to avoid adhesive mishaps.”
  • UK Expert (Emily Patel, Cabinet Installer): “I’ve encountered various scenarios, but I always prioritize allowing for floor movement. Using adjustable leg levelers or chair glides can be a smart solution to accommodate flooring expansion.”

Common Practices and Experiences

  • Floating Installations: Many experts recommend installing cabinets first when dealing with floating vinyl plank flooring. This approach minimizes the risk of flooring damage during cabinet installation.
  • Glue-Down Installations: While cabinets can be placed directly on glue-down flooring, experts emphasize the importance of proper adhesive application and ensuring the flooring has fully cured before adding heavy loads.

Case Studies or Examples

  • Case Study 1 (USA): A homeowner installed cabinets directly over floating vinyl plank flooring without leaving expansion gaps. Within months, the flooring started to buckle near the cabinets due to restricted movement.
  • Case Study 2 (UK): A professional installer followed manufacturer guidelines meticulously, leaving expansion gaps and using appropriate trim. The result was a seamless integration of cabinets and vinyl plank flooring, with no issues reported over several years.

These real-life examples highlight the importance of expert advice and adherence to best practices to achieve optimal results when installing cabinets on vinyl plank flooring.

Best Practices for Installing Cabinets Over Vinyl Plank Flooring

Preparing Your Subfloor

Preparing Your Subfloor
  • Importance of a Level Subfloor: Ensure your subfloor is level and free from debris before installing vinyl plank flooring and cabinets. Uneven surfaces can lead to issues such as gaps or buckling.
  • How to Check for and Correct Uneven Surfaces: Use a level or straightedge to identify any uneven areas. Correct unevenness by sanding down high spots or using leveling compounds as needed.

Installing Floating Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Cutting Around the Cabinet Footprint: When installing floating vinyl plank flooring, cut around the footprint of cabinets to allow for proper expansion and contraction.
  • Using Leg Levelers or Nylon Glides: Incorporate leg levelers or nylon glides under cabinets to accommodate floor movement and prevent damage to the flooring.
  • Allowing for Expansion and Contraction: Leave a gap between the flooring and cabinets to allow for natural expansion and contraction, typically around 1/4 inch.

Installing Glue-Down Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Full Spread Adhesive Method: For glue-down vinyl plank flooring, use a full spread adhesive method to ensure a secure attachment to the subfloor.
  • Precautions to Avoid Damage During Cabinet Installation: Take precautions such as protecting the flooring with cardboard or similar materials during cabinet installation to avoid scratches or adhesive mishaps.

These best practices help ensure a successful installation of cabinets over vinyl plank flooring. It’s minimized the potential issues such as floor damage or improper expansion. Following these guidelines can result in a seamless and durable flooring-cabinet integration.

Climate Considerations

How Temperature and Humidity Affect Vinyl Plank Flooring

Temperature Impact: Extreme temperatures can affect vinyl plank flooring. High temperatures may cause the flooring to expand, while low temperatures can lead to contraction.

How Temperature and Humidity Affect Vinyl Plank Flooring

Humidity Influence: Humidity levels also play a role. High humidity can cause the flooring to swell, while low humidity may lead to shrinkage.

Tips for Installations in Varying Climates

In regions with extreme temperature variations, such as parts of the Midwest or Southwest, ensure proper acclimatization of vinyl plank flooring before installation. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels.

In the UK, where humidity levels can vary significantly between seasons, consider installing a vapor barrier under the flooring to mitigate moisture-related issues. Monitor indoor humidity levels regularly.

General Climate Tips for Vinyl Plank Flooring

Acclimatization: Allow the flooring to acclimate to room temperature and humidity levels before installation, typically for 48-72 hours.

Maintain Stable Indoor Conditions: Maintain indoor humidity levels between 30% to 50% to prevent excessive expansion or contraction of the flooring.

Proper Subfloor Preparation: Ensure the subfloor is dry, level and free from moisture issues before installing vinyl plank flooring.

Considering climate factors enhances vinyl plank flooring performance. Following these tips ensures longevity in any region’s climate conditions.

Advantages of Installing Cabinets Over Vinyl Plank Flooring

Time-saving and Aesthetic Benefits

  • Streamlined Process: Installing cabinets over vinyl plank flooring can save time and effort, especially in renovations where cabinets are already in place.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Cabinets directly installed on vinyl plank flooring create a seamless and cohesive look, enhancing the overall aesthetics of the space.

Simplified Installation Process

  • Ease of Installation: Installing cabinets over vinyl plank flooring eliminates the need for cutting flooring pieces to fit around cabinets, simplifying the installation process.
  • Reduced Labor Costs: With a straightforward installation method, labor costs associated with intricate flooring cuts are minimized.

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Disadvantages and Risks

Potential for Floor Buckling and Damage

  • Limited Expansion Space: Improper installation without leaving adequate expansion gaps can lead to floor buckling, especially in floating vinyl plank flooring.
  • Weight Distribution: Placing heavy cabinets directly on the flooring without proper support or precautions can cause damage over time.

Voiding Manufacturer Warranties

  • Non-Compliance with Guidelines: Failure to follow manufacturer guidelines for cabinet installation on vinyl plank flooring may void warranties.
  • Warranty Limitations: Manufacturers often specify conditions related to cabinet weight, installation methods, and expansion space requirements to maintain warranty coverage.

Installing cabinets over vinyl plank flooring offers convenience and aesthetics. To mitigate risks, follow recommended practices and manufacturer guidelines. Ensure successful integration without compromising warranty coverage.

Recommended Tools and Products for Installation

Recommended Tools and Products for Installation

Flooring Installation Kit: Includes tools like spacers, tapping block, and pull bar for seamless vinyl plank flooring installation.

Leveling Compound: Use for correcting uneven subfloors before installing vinyl plank flooring.

Adhesive: High-quality adhesive for glue-down vinyl plank flooring installations.

Leg Levelers or Nylon Glides: Essential for floating vinyl plank flooring to allow floor movement under cabinets.

Frequently asked questions

Can vinyl plank flooring go under cabinets?

Yes, vinyl plank flooring can go under cabinets, but it’s essential to leave expansion gaps and follow manufacturer guidelines.

Can you put a refrigerator on vinyl plank flooring?

Yes, you can put a refrigerator on vinyl plank flooring, but distribute weight evenly and use protective measures to avoid damage.

Should I lay flooring under kitchen cabinets?

It’s generally recommended to lay flooring under kitchen cabinets for a seamless look, but leave expansion gaps and trim appropriately.

Do you have to remove cabinets to install vinyl plank flooring?

It’s not necessary to remove cabinets to install vinyl plank flooring, but proper installation techniques must be followed to ensure durability and functionality.


Installing cabinets over vinyl plank flooring offers time-saving benefits and enhances aesthetics. However, it’s crucial to follow manufacturer guidelines to avoid potential risks such as floor buckling and voiding warranties. Seek professional advice and use recommended tools for a successful installation.

Consider climate factors and ensure proper subfloor preparation for long-term durability. By understanding the advantages and risks, homeowners can make informed decisions and create a seamless and functional space. Stay updated with industry resources and consult professional installers for personalized recommendations tailored to specific project needs, ensuring a successful flooring-cabinet integration.

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