Could heat from a hot water heater cause floating bamboo floors to buckle?

Asked by Mary Millhauser
Charlotte, NC

We have installed Bamboo floors in our kicthen and our utility room with linoleum is adjancent to the kitchen. The linoleum is worn and we have extra flooring. We were told by the flooring company the floor would be fine but our contractor says it will buckle due to heat & weight of the hot water heater. Weight doesn't make sense as we have very heavy furniture (antique coke machine in the kicthen) but I can understand the heat issue especially with the metal catch pan underneath. Seems like there could be a fix though? Kitchen is totally updated and this adjacent room looks like a dungeon


Sean Lintow Sr

Answered by Sean Lintow Sr

Naperville, IL

SLS Construction & Building Solutions

October 3, 2013

The flooring company is right, and in a way the contractor is right also. This also depends on the quality of the material being installed.

Your best bet is to install a transition piece in the doorway allowing for any expansion to be taken up in the utility room. Generally the biggest issue is not expansion and contraction caused by room temps but rather water leaks.

One other trick (only for electric water heaters) is to place a piece of rigid foam under the catch pan or better yet the water heater to help hold the heat in and create a buffer zone. One of the least insulated portions of most electric water heaters is the bottom, and as heat moves to cold...

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