What is the Best Floor for a Cabin?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I have a cabin that I use off and on throughout the year and we’re looking to make a few upgrades. The cabin is not temperature regulated when we are not there. What is the best floor for this type of usage?
– Ron G.

Dear Ron,

That is a great question! We often don’t think about how temperature affects our flooring, but it can lead to major issues. Humidity and drastic changes in any wood-based flooring, such as laminate or engineered hardwood, can leave you with gaps and/or buckling planks.

For a cabin that is not temperature regulated, we would recommend a vinyl plank floor. Vinyl planks are a synthetic material that are waterproof and do not shift with temperature change. This flooring is also anti-slip, scratch resistant and affordable.

Most indoor vinyl floors will only have a warranty that covers temperature controlled spaces. If you are concerned about upholding a warranty, you will want to look at vinyl options that are suitable for indoor and outdoor usage.

Vinyl plank flooring is easy to install and comes in a variety of looks, such as wood, tile and stone. Find a rustic look with a hand scraped texture or a subtle stone look to match your cabin’s appeal. You can choose from a floating vinyl plank, a glue down vinyl plank or a loose lay vinyl floor. This can be a quick project that creates a beautiful look for years.

Learn more about vinyl flooring here:

Contact a flooring expert for additional information on vinyl plank flooring! Call 800-520-0961 or email: [email protected].


  1. Hi Mike. Flooring in unheated spaces can be tricky sometimes. However, you would be able to use either a glue down or nail down material. You would need to stay away from any floating floor in an unheated space though.

  2. Hello Bob & Betsy,

    Do you recommend a preferred form for the vinyl plank flooring to be used in an unheated space? I would like to use this for a barn floor (new construction over plywood subflooring, above grade) and wondered which of the options (i.e. floating, glue down, etc.) you thought would be best in such an application. Location is central Pennsylvania, so outside temperatures down to 0 F in winter and up to 90 F in summer.


  3. Hi Patsy! You would have to check with the manufacturer of the engineered hardwood to be sure. Typically we would not recommend using an engineered hardwood in a space that has temperature fluctuations.

  4. Hi. We are looking at installing an engineered hardwood in a sunporch that has some fluctuations in temperature. Is this a good idea

  5. Hi Rita, thanks for the question. Yes, you should be able to install over it if it is 1.5mm or less. It will also depend on how thick the flooring will be that you install over it. Any rigid core should be able to easily float over this.

  6. We recently purchased a cabin, non temp regulated. It has glued indoor-outdoor carpet thru out.
    Can we install vinyl planks on top of this thin, no padding carpet?

  7. Hi Marie, sorry to hear about the issues! Unfortunately, with temperature changes and moisture, your laminate can expand and contract. We talk more about buckling laminate here. Hope it helps! https://www.bestlaminate.com/blog/buckling-laminate-flooring/

  8. When we replaced the flooring in our camper we use laminate planks. I asked a million questions before we did this. No one told us about the spaces and buckling including the lumber yards and camping repair place in town. Now we have buckling and space forming. Do you have any advice what to do after the mistake has been done. I cant afford to replace the flooring. I am so frustrated with this flooring. We have worked hard at making this our forever camper.

  9. Hi DL, yes it looks like a sheet vinyl will probably be your best bet if you want the warranty to be upheld. We do have some SPC (stone plastic composite) vinyls that are resilient in temperature changes, but the warranty will be voided if you install it in a non-temperature controlled space. You could also opt for concrete or tile that is outdoor rated, such as porcelain.

  10. Hi Alana, we still are working on this project. When you say indoor/outdoor vinyl floors, do you mean sheet vinyl or something else? We still are looking for something that can handle the temperature variances of an uninsulated and non-temperature regulated cabin in Northern MN.

  11. Hi Kathy, You should never install laminate flooring over the old carpet padding. Carpet underlayment is too thick and can risk damaging your locking system on your new flooring. You can read more in our blog article, “Can I Install Laminate Flooring Over Carpet Underlayment?“.

    Since you purchased laminate flooring that has padding attached, you do not need to purchase any extra underlayment. If you are installing over concrete, you should install a vapor barrier, such as Visqueen. If you need additional help with your installation, please send us an email at [email protected] or call at 800-520-0961 and we will be happy to help!

  12. Dear Bob and Betsy, I am installing laminate flooring. There was padding in good condition from the old carpet. I left it on and bought padded laminate flooring. Is this a bad idea to put the laminate flooring on top of the old padding. I’m thinking extra padding will be better. What’s your thoughts?

  13. Hi DL, thanks for the question! You are correct – most indoor vinyl warranties will state the planks should be installed in a temperature controlled environment. Our recommendation would be to look into indoor/outdoor vinyl floors if you want to maintain a warranty. We will revise our post to include this important information! Thank you for bringing this information to light. Hope this helps!

  14. Hi Bob and Betsy,

    That is a recommendation we received for our non-temperature regulated home in N. MN. However, I found that the warranty is voided for some of these planks. Do you have suggestions on planks that will not void a warranty and handle the toughness of negative temps in the winter?




  15. Glad it was helpful!

  16. Taylored Improvements

    There is certainly a lot to find out about this topic. I really like all of the points you made. You made some good points there. I checked on the net to learn more about the issue.

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