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Where Should You Not Use Laminate Flooring?

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By Donovan Carrington

Avoid using laminate flooring in high-moisture areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements, where water damage risks are significant. Outdoor spaces and unfinished areas are also unsuitable due to exposure to elements that can lead to warping and damage. Additionally, uneven subfloors can cause instability, and rooms with floor drains pose water damage risks. If you want to know more about where not to use laminate flooring, keep on exploring for essential insights on proper flooring choices for different spaces.

Quick Overview

  • Avoid high moisture areas like bathrooms and basements to prevent warping and mold growth.
  • Outdoor spaces and unfinished areas are unsuitable due to exposure to elements and lack of protection.
  • Do not install laminate flooring on uneven subfloors to prevent buckling and instability.
  • Rooms with floor drains can damage laminate flooring; opt for water-resistant materials like vinyl instead.
  • Proper subfloor preparation, moisture barriers, and mitigation measures are essential for maintaining laminate flooring integrity.

High Moisture Areas

When considering where to install laminate flooring, high moisture areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms should be avoided due to their propensity for water damage. Laminate flooring isn't suitable for rooms with high moisture levels due to the risk of warping, expanding, or even mold growth. Bathrooms and laundry rooms are particularly prone to water spills and humidity, making them unsuitable locations for laminate installation. The constant exposure to moisture in these areas can cause significant damage to the flooring material over time.

In bathrooms, the presence of showers, sinks, and toilets increases the likelihood of water splashes and spills, which can seep into the seams of the laminate planks. Similarly, laundry rooms with washing machines and dryers pose a risk of leaks or water overflow, further compromising the integrity of the flooring. To avoid costly repairs and replacements, it's best to choose alternative flooring options for these high moisture areas.


Avoid using laminate flooring in bathrooms due to the high moisture levels that can lead to significant damage such as swelling, warping, and deterioration of the material. The humidity levels in bathrooms, combined with frequent water spills, create an environment that is not ideal for laminate flooring. This exposure to moisture can compromise the integrity of the flooring, causing it to lose its shape, warp, or even start to disintegrate over time. Installing laminate flooring in bathrooms may initially seem cost-effective, but the long-term consequences of water damage often outweigh any short-term benefits. Opting for flooring options specifically designed for high-moisture areas can prevent issues like mold and mildew growth, ultimately saving you from costly repairs and replacements in the future.

Pros Cons
Easy to install Prone to water damage
Affordable May not withstand humidity levels
Wide range of styles Requires frequent maintenance
Resistant to stains Can deteriorate over time

Laundry Room

Consider laminate flooring carefully before choosing it for your laundry room, as the high moisture levels in this area can lead to significant damage over time. Laundry rooms are prone to moisture due to the frequent exposure to water and humidity, making them unsuitable for laminate flooring.

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The moisture in laundry rooms can cause laminate flooring to warp, swell, or even separate at the joints. The core of laminate flooring is particularly vulnerable to damage from the humidity and moisture present in these areas. Over time, this can lead to issues such as buckling or cupping of the laminate planks.

To avoid potential damage to the laminate, it's recommended to opt for flooring options better suited to high-moisture environments. Choosing materials that are more resistant to water and moisture can help maintain the integrity and longevity of your laundry room floor.


You should avoid using laminate flooring in basements due to high moisture levels and humidity. Proper subfloor preparation and moisture mitigation measures are important in basement environments to prevent damage to the flooring.

Additionally, the risk of potential flooding in basements can pose a significant threat to the durability of laminate flooring.

Moisture Concerns

Basements pose a significant challenge for laminate flooring installation due to their high moisture levels. The moisture in basements can lead to issues such as swelling, warping, or buckling of the laminate.

Humidity and moisture problems are common in basements, making it imperative to implement proper moisture mitigation strategies. Without adequate measures, the moisture can severely damage the laminate flooring over time.

To prevent these issues, it's advisable to contemplate alternative flooring options better suited for high-moisture environments like basements. By selecting the appropriate flooring material and taking necessary precautions to address moisture concerns, you can guarantee a durable and long-lasting basement floor that withstands the challenges of its environment.

Subfloor Preparation

With high moisture levels in basements posing a risk of water damage to laminate flooring, proper subfloor preparation becomes essential. Basements often have concrete slabs that can harbor moisture issues, making them unsuitable for laminate without adequate measures.

Before installing laminate in a basement, it's important to address these concerns by implementing moisture barriers. Concrete slabs can allow moisture to seep through, potentially causing swelling or warping of the laminate planks. Hence, applying moisture barriers prior to installation is vital to safeguard the flooring.

Potential Flooding Risks

In flood-prone basements, laminate flooring is highly vulnerable to water damage and should be avoided to prevent costly repairs. When it comes to basements, where water intrusion is a common issue, opting for laminate flooring can lead to various problems:

  1. Swelling: Moisture seeping through concrete slabs can cause laminate planks to swell and lose their shape.
  2. Warping: The high humidity levels in basements can result in laminate flooring warping and becoming uneven.
  3. Mold Growth: Excess moisture in basements can create an environment conducive to mold growth, further deteriorating the laminate floor's condition.

To steer clear of potential water damage and extensive repairs, consider alternative flooring options better suited for basements.

Outdoor Spaces

You should avoid using laminate flooring in outdoor spaces like porches or patios due to weather exposure. The elements can cause warping, swelling, and deterioration over time.

Direct sunlight, rain, and temperature changes can lead to damage that laminate flooring isn't designed to withstand.

Weather Exposure

Exposure to weather elements poses a significant risk to laminate flooring, leading to warping, swelling, and potential damage. When it comes to outdoor spaces, laminate flooring isn't suitable due to its vulnerability to environmental conditions. Here are three reasons why weather exposure can be detrimental to laminate flooring:

  1. Sunlight: UV rays can cause discoloration and fading of laminate flooring.
  2. Rain: Moisture seeping into the laminate can result in swelling and warping.
  3. Temperature Fluctuations: Extreme heat or cold can impact the structural integrity of the flooring material.
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To safeguard the longevity and quality of your flooring, it's advisable to opt for more weather-resistant alternatives for outdoor areas.

Moisture Concerns

Considering the detrimental effects of weather exposure on laminate flooring, it becomes evident that moisture concerns in outdoor spaces present a significant risk to the integrity of the flooring material. Moisture from rain or humidity can quickly damage laminate flooring in outdoor installations, leading to issues such as swelling, warping, or deterioration over time. The lack of protection from the elements in outdoor spaces makes laminate flooring unsuitable for such areas. It is essential to explore alternative outdoor flooring options like porcelain tile or natural stone, which offer greater durability and longevity in the face of moisture concerns.

Moisture Concerns in Outdoor Spaces
Exposure to rain and humidity
Swelling, warping, deterioration
Lack of protection from elements
Consider porcelain tile or stone
Alternative options for durability

Spaces Exposed to Elements

Spaces like porches, patios, or decking aren't suitable for laminate flooring due to exposure to the elements. When it comes to outdoor areas, laminate flooring may not be the best choice, especially in locations with high humidity levels. Here are three reasons why laminate flooring isn't ideal for spaces exposed to the elements:

  1. Moisture Damage: Rain and moisture can seep into laminate flooring, causing it to warp and swell over time.
  2. Sunlight Exposure: Direct sunlight can lead to fading and damage to the laminate flooring's surface, making it unsuitable for areas exposed to the sun.
  3. Temperature Changes: Extreme temperature changes can cause laminate flooring to expand and contract, leading to potential issues in outdoor spaces with fluctuating temperatures.

Considering these factors, it's advisable to avoid using laminate flooring in outdoor areas or spaces that are directly exposed to the elements to guarantee its longevity and durability.

Unfinished Areas

Unsuitable for laminate flooring are areas that remain unfinished, such as basements or below-grade spaces, due to potential moisture and humidity issues. Laminate flooring isn't recommended in spaces with high moisture levels, like basements, as the moisture can seep through the subfloor, causing the laminate planks to warp and swell. The humidity in these areas can create an environment where mold and mildew thrive, further damaging the flooring.

In unfinished areas, the lack of proper sealing or moisture barrier can exacerbate these problems. The moisture and humidity levels in basements or below-grade spaces are often hard to control, making it challenging to maintain laminate flooring in good condition. To avoid issues such as cupping, buckling, or mold growth, it's best to opt for flooring options that are more resistant to moisture in these environments. Consider alternatives like vinyl flooring or ceramic tiles that can better withstand the conditions in unfinished areas.

Uneven Subfloors

An uneven subfloor poses a significant risk to the integrity and longevity of laminate flooring, potentially leading to issues like buckling and premature wear. When considering laminate flooring installation, addressing any uneven subfloor issues is vital to guarantee a durable and long-lasting floor. Here's why uneven subfloors can be problematic:

  1. Buckling: Uneven subfloors can cause the laminate planks to buckle, creating unsightly bulges in the flooring.
  2. Premature Wear: Installing laminate flooring on an uneven surface can result in premature wear and damage, reducing the lifespan of the flooring.
  3. Instability: An uneven subfloor can create an unstable base for the laminate flooring, leading to issues like gaps, creaking sounds, and potential movement over time.
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To prevent these problems, properly leveling and preparing the subfloor before laminate flooring installation is crucial. Seeking professional assessment and correction of any irregularities in the subfloor is pivotal to maintaining the integrity and longevity of your laminate flooring.

Rooms With Floor Drains

Consider avoiding laminate flooring installation in rooms with floor drains to prevent potential water damage and warping issues. Installing laminate flooring in such areas can lead to moisture seeping into the planks, compromising their integrity. Laminate flooring isn't equipped to withstand constant exposure to water from floor drains, making it susceptible to damage. Water pooling around these drains can infiltrate the laminate planks, causing them to swell and buckle over time.

To avoid these detrimental effects, it's advisable to steer clear of using laminate flooring in rooms with floor drains. Opting for more water-resistant flooring options in these areas can help mitigate the risk of water damage and safeguard the longevity of your floors. When considering flooring choices for rooms with floor drains, prioritize materials that can withstand moisture and are less prone to warping, such as vinyl or tile flooring. By making informed decisions about where to install laminate flooring, you can maintain the quality and durability of your floors in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Not to Put Laminate Flooring?

Avoid placing laminate flooring in high moisture areas like bathrooms or basements. Consider rooms with floor drains or sump pumps cautiously for laminate. Outdoor spaces or places with extreme temperature changes, like sunrooms, may not be suitable.

What Is the Downside to Laminate Flooring?

Avoid laminate flooring in areas prone to high moisture levels, such as bathrooms and outdoor spaces. It doesn't fare well in rooms with frequent water spills like kitchens. Basements, below-grade areas, and sunrooms with unregulated temperatures are also unsuitable.

What Is a Common Problem With Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring frequently encounters problems like swelling or warping in high-moisture environments. It's essential to avoid areas with frequent water spills or high humidity levels. Protect your flooring from rain, sunlight, and extreme temperatures to prevent damage.

Can You Put Laminate Flooring in Kitchens and Bathrooms?

You can put laminate flooring in kitchens and bathrooms, but be cautious of moisture. Precautions like sealing and maintenance are crucial in these areas to prevent water damage. Avoid floor drains, sump pumps, and excess moisture for long-term durability.


Overall, it's important to avoid using laminate flooring in high moisture areas such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements, as well as outdoor spaces and unfinished areas.

Additionally, avoid installing laminate on uneven subfloors or in rooms with floor drains.

By being mindful of where you install laminate flooring, you can guarantee its longevity and prevent potential damage from moisture and other environmental factors.

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Donovan Carrington


Donovan Carrington, a flooring expert with extensive experience of over 25 years, is the driving force behind Flooring Explorer. Initially working as a flooring installer, Donovan gained hands-on experience with different flooring materials such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile. His profound knowledge and expertise in flooring technologies and installation techniques have established him as a respected authority in the industry.