Dilatation without secrets. How to make expansion gaps in the kitchen that will not to eliminate the warranty?

More and more vinyl panels are sold in the well-known floating system. This means that the panels are joined together by means of milled locks and are not permanently attached to the ground. 

More and more vinyl panels are sold in the well-known floating system. This means that the panels are joined together by means of milled locks and are not permanently attached to the ground. The "click" system, also known as "floating", requires wall expansion gaps - thanks to them, the panels can work, and the sensitive panel locks do not have the opportunity to break. But what to do when we also arrange panels in the kitchen? All installation instructions for vinyl panels clearly state that heavy furniture should not be placed on them or that the floor should not be dilated under the legs. So what to do with kitchen cabinets or a free-standing island?

Dilatation - the most common cause of floating floor problems

Dilatation - the most common cause of floating floor problems

Laying the same panels over the entire surface, with a modern floor based on a HD Mineral Core, there is no need to use dilatation alu profiles in the passages between rooms up to an area of 200 m2.
In this case, we only leave 5 mm perimeter dilatations and cut off heavy furniture with dilatations. However, the issue of dilatation is often controversial. First of all, a different team is responsible for our flooring, and much later, is responsible for the kitchen furniture. So it is not possible to precisely cut out the furniture legs to solve the problem. Companies assembling kitchen furniture on the other hand, they do not want to take responsibility for cutting the floor - they do not take responsibility for the installation of the panels. As a result, most investors choose not to use expansion gaps. And unfortunately, if there is a problem with the panels arranged, the complaint may not be considered by the manufacturer. Failure to keep the dilatation is a serious breach of the guarantee rules.

Dilatation - the problem of responsibility

First of all, the dilatation under the kitchen furniture should be made by the company that installs the panels. In the event of an assembly order, the installer takes responsibility for the installed floor and is liable to the manufacturer in the event of assembly errors. Therefore, we should absolutely require dilatation under the kitchen furniture before signing the final work acceptance protocol.
However, when we install the panels ourselves, we must ensure that all the manufacturer's requirements are met. Maintaining the expansion gaps of the floating system is crucial and is one of the first points in the complaint form in the event of problems with the panels. Therefore, be sure to carefully read the instructions for laying the panels, but also, and perhaps above all, the warranty conditions! It is in this document that you can usually find exclusions in which the manufacturer has the right to refuse to recognize our claim.

Step by step dilatation under kitchen furniture

How to make a safe dilatation under kitchen furniture? The work should begin when the panels are already laid and we know exactly where our kitchen furniture or a free-standing island will be placed. Our goal is to make a 5mm expansion gaps. We will need a pencil, a long spirit level, a measure and a multitool, or another tool that will be used to cut the dilatation.

  • First, we measure exactly where the furniture line will be - it is important that the dilatation runs under the furniture line and is not visible after assembly.
  • Make sure the line is straight - it's best to use a long, rigid tape measure and a spirit level
  • Mark the cutting line with a pencil, the cutting line should be between the planned plinth of the furniture and the legs. In such a way that the entire weight, i.e. all the legs, of the furniture rests on the part of the panels cut with dilatation
  • Then cut out the dilatation - a space of about 0.5 cm. The sharp multitool, which can be purchased at home improvement stores, is ideal for this.

A floor prepared in this way will look great because the dilatation will not be visible. At the same time, we meet the warranty conditions for the panels. This is the safest way.

Dilatation under kitchen furniture
Dilatation in difficult places

Dilatation in other difficult places

We will deal with a similar situation when installing free-standing stairs or other very heavy fixed elements (e.g. steel shelves). Then it is recommended to position and install the elements attached to the floor before the panels are installed. The heavy element should be anchored directly to the concrete floor. Then, we can make the appropriate dilatation when laying the panels, and the resulting gap can be covered with maskings made by, for example, a manufacturer of stairs.

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