Can I use laminate flooring under cabinets?

Installing laminate flooring under cabinets is a very common question for homeowners. When installing laminate flooring in kitchens and bathrooms, you cannot place cabinets or any hardware that is meant to be bolted permanently to the floor on the laminate. Installing these items on top of your new flooring will cause pressure and not let the flooring expand and contract to temperature changes. This will cause the flooring to buckle, destroy the locking system, and ruin your flooring permanently.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Installing New Cabinets

You will need to install permanent items to your subfloor first, and then install the flooring around those areas. This will allow enough expansion for the flooring to expand and contract through the seasons with temperature changes. Starting off on a new slate like this means you can choose both your flooring and your cabinet colors, giving you ultimate control of how your space looks.

Eclectic Kitchen by South West Design-Build Firms Completion
Eclectic Kitchen by South West Design-Build Firms Completion

2. Working with Current Cabinets

If you are installing laminate flooring around current cabinets, it is often difficult to decide what flooring will match and look best. There are two popular ways to do this.

You can look for a floor that is a similar color, however tones lighter or darker. This will give your space a complete look without appearing blended and boring. If you have wood grained cabinets, choose either a lighter tone or darker tone from these cabinets and use it for your floor color.

Modern Kitchen by Old Lyme Architects & Building Designers Solstice Architects
Modern Kitchen by Old Lyme Architects & Building Designers Solstice Architects

You can also choose to go for an extreme contrast. This can really make your space pop by either bringing out the cabinets or the floor. If you are doing something like this, try to stick with a theme for a cohesive look. An example would be to pair modern looking cabinets with a modern looking floor, rustic to rustic, etc. You will be amazed at how much life this type of pairing can bring to a room.

Modern Kitchen by New York Architects & Building Designers Chelsea Atelier Architect, PC
Modern Kitchen by New York Architects & Building Designers Chelsea Atelier Architect, PC

3. Ask for Help

If you are struggling to make a decision of what laminate flooring to use with your cabinets, search the internet for inspiration. Pinterest and Facebook are a good start. Find a kitchen with similar cabinetry to yours and see what color flooring it is featured with. Once you have a few ideas in mind, order a free sample and see which one you like best with your own eyes!

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4 comments

  1. Hi Bobby, thanks for reaching out. Laminate flooring is a floating floor, so we do not recommend installing kitchen cabinets on top of laminate as they could pin the floor down and prevent it from expanding and contracting with temperature changes, leading to buckling and separation at the joints. Go ahead and install your kitchen cabinets directly on the cement subfloor. As for the areas left without laminate, we recommend uninstalling your flooring to a place where you can add in the necessary planks as if you were installing for the first time, and install around the kitchen cabinets. Be sure to use the same underlayment that you used when the flooring was originally installed. Hope this helps! Please give us a call if you have any further questions.

  2. I am re arranging the foot print of the cabnets in the kitchen/

    the banets that are being moved does not have the laminate flooring under them. the place they are going has flooring down.

    2 questions,

    do I put the flooring under the cabinets or just leave it open and put the cabinets right on the concrete.

    also, some area where the cabinets are being moved will not be open and need flooring added. I have plenty of extra boxes of flooring to match. How do I weave in the flooring to fill in where the cabinets got taken from.

  3. Hi Michael, thanks for your comment. If your cork flooring is a floating floor, the same rules would apply as for a floating laminate floor. You will need to install permanent items such as kitchen cabinets to your subfloor first, and then install the flooring around those areas. This will allow enough expansion for the flooring to expand and contract through the seasons with temperature changes. Hope this helps!

  4. Michael Roides

    Can you put kitchen cabinets over cork flooring or does the laminate process apply?

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