How to Replace a Kitchen Floor – 2023 Updated Guide

Are you considering giving your kitchen a fresh new look? One of the most impactful ways to transform your kitchen’s appearance and functionality is by replacing the flooring.

Whether you’re tired of outdated tiles or worn-out vinyl or simply want a change, replacing your kitchen floor can bring new life into your home’s heart.

Replacing your kitchen floor offers a fresh look, improved durability, enhanced safety, better functionality, and increased home value. It’s a worthwhile investment that transforms your kitchen into a stylish and practical space.

In this blog, I will walk you through how to replace a kitchen floor step by step, providing you with expert advice, practical tips, and important considerations along the way.

How to Replace a Kitchen Floor?

In this section, I will walk you through the step-by-step process of replacing your kitchen floor, helping you transform your space with a fresh and stylish new look.

StepsEstimated Time
Step 1: Preparation2-4 hours
Step 2: Remove the Old Floor4-6 hours
Step 3: Prepare the Subfloor2-3 hours
Step 4: Install the New Flooring8-12 hours
Step 5: Finishing Touches2-4 hours

Step 1: Preparation

  • Consider the kitchen’s style and design aesthetic.
  • Research different flooring options suitable for kitchens.
  • Assess the durability, maintenance requirements, and cost of each option.
  • Choose a flooring material that suits your preferences and budget.
  • Measure the length and width of the kitchen floor using a tape measure.
  • Multiply the length and width measurements to determine the square footage.
  • Add 10% extra to account for waste, cuts, and mistakes during installation.
  • Divide the total square footage by the coverage per package to determine the number of packages needed.
  • Empty all cabinets and remove any items from the countertops.
  • Disconnect and remove appliances like refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers.
  • Store furniture and appliances in a safe and secure location outside the kitchen area.
  • Protect delicate or heavy furniture by using furniture sliders or moving blankets.
  • Ensure there is a clear and unobstructed workspace for the flooring installation process.

Required Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Notepad and pen
  • Calculator
  • Furniture sliders or moving blankets
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Storage containers

Step 2: Remove the Old Floor

  • Carefully examine the floor for any signs of damage, such as cracks, rot, or water damage.
  • Check for uneven spots or dips in the floor that may need to be addressed before installing the new flooring.
  • Note any areas that require repair or leveling and make a plan to address them.
  • Use a pry bar or putty knife to remove the baseboards or molding from the walls carefully.
  • Start at one end and insert the pry bar between the baseboard/molding and the wall.
  • Gently pry the baseboard/molding away from the wall, being careful not to damage it.
  • Repeat the process along the entire length of the baseboard/molding until it is completely removed.
  • Set aside the removed baseboards/molding for reinstallation later.
  • Start by removing any loose or easily removable sections of the flooring material by hand.
  • For tiles or laminate flooring, use a hammer and chisel to break and remove individual pieces carefully.
  • For vinyl or linoleum flooring, use a utility knife to cut the flooring into manageable sections for easier removal.
  • Lift the flooring material using a floor scraper, starting at one edge and working your way across the floor.
  • Be cautious not to damage the subfloor while removing the old flooring.
  • Use a floor scraper or putty knife to scrape away any remaining adhesive or glue on the subfloor.
  • Apply gentle pressure and work in small sections to avoid damaging the subfloor.
  • If the adhesive is stubborn, consider using an adhesive remover or a heat gun to soften it for easier removal.
  • Clean the floor by sweeping or vacuuming any debris, dust, or small particles.
  • Wipe down the subfloor with a damp cloth or mop to ensure it is clean and free of any remaining residue.

Required Tools

  • Pry bar or putty knife
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Utility knife
  • Floor scraper
  • Adhesive remover or heat gun
  • Broom or vacuum cleaner
  • Damp cloth or mop

Step 3: Prepare the Subfloor

  • Inspect the subfloor for any signs of damage, such as rot, warping, or cracks.
  • Check for any areas of the subfloor that are uneven or not level.
  • Look for moisture or water damage that may require additional attention.
  • Replace any damaged or rotten subfloor sections with new plywood or appropriate subfloor material.
  • If the subfloor is uneven, use a leveling compound or self-leveling underlayment to create a smooth surface.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and applying the leveling compound or underlayment.
  • Before beginning the flooring installation, let the compound or underlayment fully cure.
  • To remove any loose dust, dirt, or debris, sweep or vacuum the subfloor.
  • Remove any residual debris or residue from the flooring by wiping it clean with a moist cloth or mop.
  • Let the subfloor entirely dry before putting the flooring.
  • Check for any remaining adhesive or residue and remove it using a floor scraper or adhesive remover.
  • Roll out a moisture barrier over the subfloor, such as a plastic sheet or vapor tape.
  • Ensure the moisture barrier covers the entire floor area, overlapping the seams by several inches.
  • Secure the moisture barrier in place using tape or adhesive as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Trim any excess moisture barrier material along the room’s edges.

Required Tools

  • Subfloor repair materials (plywood, screws)
  • Leveling compound or self-leveling underlayment
  • Mixing tools
  • Broom or vacuum cleaner
  • Damp cloth or mop
  • Moisture barrier (plastic sheet or vapor tape)
  • Tape or adhesive
  • Utility knife

Step 4: Install the New Flooring

  • Choose a straight wall or reference line to begin the installation.
  • Measure and mark a guideline parallel to the reference point, ensuring it is square to the room.
  • This reference line will ensure that your flooring installation remains straight and aligned.
  • Lay out several rows of flooring material without adhering them to the subfloor.
  • Arrange the planks or tiles in the desired pattern or layout, considering factors like color variation and natural light.
  • Ensure the layout is balanced and aesthetically pleasing before proceeding.
  • Measure the remaining space at the edges of the room to determine the size of the cut pieces.
  • Use a tape measure and pencil to mark the dimensions accurately on the flooring material.
  • Use a utility knife, jigsaw, or appropriate cutting tool to cut the flooring pieces along the marked lines.
  • Double-check the accuracy of each cut piece before installing it.
  • Apply adhesive to the subfloor or use the recommended installation method, such as a click-lock system or interlocking mechanism.
  • Use a trowel or recommended tool to spread the adhesive evenly, ensuring complete coverage according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • If using a click-lock system, follow the specific instructions for engaging the planks or tiles together.
  • Start at the reference line and place the first piece of flooring material in position.
  • Press it firmly into the adhesive or connect it to the previous piece using the designated method.
  • Use a tapping block and rubber mallet (for laminate or engineered wood) or a tile spacer (for tiles) to ensure a snug fit and proper alignment.
  • Continue installing subsequent pieces, working row by row, maintaining the pattern and alignment.
  • Stagger the seams between adjacent rows, ensuring they are properly spaced between ¼ and ½ inch.
  • Use a tapping block, rubber mallet, or tile spacer as needed to ensure each piece fits tightly against the previous one.
  • Measure and mark the dimensions of the flooring pieces needed to fit around corners, cabinets, or other obstacles.
  • Use a jigsaw or coping saw to make precise cuts along the marked lines.
  • Check the fit of each trimmed piece before installing it, making any necessary adjustments.

Required Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Straight edge or reference line tool
  • Cutting tools (utility knife, jigsaw, coping saw)
  • Adhesive
  • Trowel or recommended tool for spreading adhesive
  • Tapping block and rubber mallet (for laminate or engineered wood)
  • Tile spacer (for tiles)
  • Protective gear (gloves, safety goggles, knee pads)

Step 5: Finishing Touches

  • Measure and cut the new baseboards or molding to fit the length of each wall.
  • Apply adhesive or use nails to secure the baseboards or molding in place.
  • Ensure the baseboards or molding are aligned and flush with the wall.
  • Use a putty knife to fill any gaps or nail holes with wood filler, then sand it smooth once dry.
  • Apply a suitable sealant or finish according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Use an applicator appropriate for the type of sealant or finish being used.
  • Apply the sealant or finish in smooth, even strokes, working in the direction of the flooring planks or tiles.
  • Allow the sealant or finish to dry completely before allowing foot traffic on the new floor.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris.
  • Use a damp mop or microfiber cloth with a mild cleaning solution recommended for the specific flooring material.
  • Wring out the mop or cloth well to avoid excess moisture on the floor.
  • Clean the entire floor surface, paying attention to corners and edges.
  • Allow the floor to dry completely before placing furniture or appliances back in the kitchen.

Required Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Adhesive or nails
  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • Paint or stain
  • Sealant applicator
  • Cleaning supplies (broom, vacuum cleaner, damp mop, cleaning solution)

Can You Replace a Kitchen Flooring without Removing Cabinets?

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, installing new flooring is a significant aspect of the project.

One question that often arises is whether it’s possible to replace the kitchen flooring without removing the cabinets.

The answer is, ‘Yes.’ Now let’s discover some ways to replace kitchen flooring without removing cabinets.

Floating Floors for Convenience

If you’re looking to install linoleum, wood, laminate, or other floating floor options, you’re in luck. These types of flooring can often be laid without removing the cabinets.

Simply cut the linoleum or laminate pieces as needed to fit snugly against the cabinet base, creating a clean and polished look.

This method can also work for porcelain or ceramic tile, although cutting tile requires the use of a specialized tool known as a wet saw.

Considerations for Tile Flooring

Tile flooring tends to be thicker than linoleum or laminate, which means that installing it directly over the existing kitchen floor without removing the cabinets can result in a noticeable difference in countertop height.

If you remove a thick tile floor but leave the tile underneath the cabinets, you may find that your countertops need to be lowered.

In most cases, it is recommended to remove the cabinets when installing tile flooring for optimal results.

Cabinet Toe Kick Modification

In situations where the new flooring height differs from the previous one, modifying the cabinet toe kick can help accommodate the change.

By adjusting the toe kick height, you can maintain the integrity of the cabinets while ensuring a level and visually pleasing flooring installation.

Installing strip molding or a “toe kick” can help hide any disparities in height, but removing the cabinets often leads to a higher-quality end result and offers more flexibility in kitchen design.

Additional Tips for Replacing a Kitchen Floor

In this section, I provide valuable additional tips to help you navigate the process easily, from preparation to finishing touches.

  • Follow recommended cleaning methods and products to avoid damaging or discoloring the floor.
  • Use doormats or rugs in high-traffic areas to protect the floor from dirt, scratches, and moisture.
  • Promptly clean up spills or stains to prevent them from causing permanent damage.
  • Regularly inspect the flooring for any signs of wear or damage and address them promptly.
  • Some flooring materials may require acclimation to the environment before installation.
  • If encountering difficulty in aligning or connecting flooring pieces, use a tapping block and rubber mallet.
  • In case of gaps or separations between flooring pieces, consider using appropriate fillers or transition strips to achieve a seamless appearance.
  • If the subfloor needs to be adequately prepared or uneven, it may impact the final result. Address subfloor issues before proceeding with the installation.
  • Determine your budget for the new kitchen floor, including the cost of materials, tools, and any professional assistance if needed.
  • Research and compare prices of different flooring materials to find an option that fits within your budget.
  • Consider additional costs such as underlayment, adhesive, and any required accessories or finishing products.
  • Consider the flooring material’s long-term durability and maintenance requirements to ensure it provides value for your investment.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, safety goggles, and knee pads, to protect yourself during installation.
  • Use caution when handling tools and sharp objects to avoid accidental injuries.
  • Ensure proper ventilation in the work area when using adhesives, sealants, or any products with strong fumes.
  • Follow electrical safety guidelines when removing or reinstalling appliances, ensuring power sources are turned off and connections are handled properly.

Bottom Line

Replacing your kitchen floor is a significant step towards giving your kitchen a fresh new look.

This 2023 updated guide should provide you with step-by-step instructions and valuable tips to make the process easier.

From evaluating kitchen aesthetics to selecting the perfect flooring material and completing the installation, this guide ensures a successful renovation.

So go ahead and transform your kitchen with confidence, knowing that you have the knowledge and support to replace your kitchen floor effectively.

Happy remodeling!


What type of floor is best for kitchen?

When choosing a kitchen floor, it’s important to prioritize durability due to the high traffic experiences.

Opt for resilient materials such as ceramic or porcelain tile, natural stone, or hardwood floors that can withstand the demands of daily use.

These options are sturdy enough to handle foot traffic and the weight of furniture, ensuring longevity and maintaining a beautiful kitchen space.

What is the cheapest floor to put in a kitchen?

Sheet vinyl is often considered the cheapest flooring option for kitchens. Its low material and installation costs make it a budget-friendly choice.

Following sheet vinyl, laminate flooring, and vinyl planks also offer cost-effective options for kitchen flooring.

What is the quickest flooring to install?

When it comes to quick and hassle-free installation, luxury vinyl plank (LVP) and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) are among the top choices.

These flooring options feature a convenient click-and-lock system that allows for easy installation over the sublayer.

With this floating floor design, you can achieve a fast installation without messy adhesives or extensive preparation.