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Does Hardwood Flooring Go Under the Dishwasher?

Installing a hardwood floor as a seamless expanse of flooring extending from the dining room into the kitchen provides a cohesive look compared to the abrupt changes in décor resulting from varying flooring in adjacent rooms. Hardwood is a pleasing, hardwearing, and executive style finish that other flooring materials cannot match.

You can install Hardwood under the dishwasher. If regularly treated with a polyurethane sealant every four to six years, it will be able to withstand any water leaks while also making the dishwasher easier to slide out of its compartment in the kitchen.

If you install the kitchen units before installing the floor (not recommended), ensure that the flooring and dishwasher fit under the counter. It won’t be a problem until the dishwasher needs repair or replacing, at which time it will damage the floor, or you must sacrifice the countertop.

But there are genuinely reasons for and against doing it this way. Let’s discuss them…

Do You Put Hardwood Floors Under Dishwasher?

Depending on who you talk to, you will receive one of two answers:

  1. Yes, hardwood should go under the dishwasher
  2. No, hardwood shouldn’t go under the dishwashers

This article discusses the reasons for and against installing hardwood under a dishwasher. The factors involved in installing hardwood under your dishwasher are as follows…

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Hardwood Under The Dishwasher Makes It Easier To Remove

If you install the hardwood floor under the space in which the dishwasher will be installed:

  • It will eliminate the lip, which would have resulted if the flooring was only installed to the cabinet edge.
  • It makes sliding the appliance in and out of its installation point very easy.

If you decide not to install hardwood under the dishwasher, find another suitable material, whether this is a tile or plywood flooring, and install this under the dishwasher. Make sure that the material you install is exactly the same height as the hardwood floor so that you can still slide the dishwasher in and out.

Hardwood Under Appliances Future Proofs Your Kitchen

If you install the hardwood flooring in the kitchen before the kitchen units are fitted, it future proofs the kitchen.

While you may be happy with the design as it stands, you may decide to change the whole flow and layout of the kitchen in the future.

If that does happen, by having installed a common floor throughout the kitchen, there will be no gaps that show up when you rearrange the layout.

Some of the reasons not to place hardwood flooring under your dishwasher are as follows…

Wood And Water Are Not Compatible

If you install the hardwood floor under your dishwasher, ensure that you use high-quality plumbing fittings, preferably stainless-steel burst proof pipes.

The problem with a leaking appliance such as a dishwasher or washing machine is that leaks are often not gushing fountains but generally tend to be slow leaks that go undetected over months or years.

Even well-installed kitchen floors will begin to fail under these circumstances, and they will start to swell, warp, or even split. And it is not possible to repair a warped floor, so you will end up replacing the section which has been damaged.

If this doesn’t deter you, make sure you seal the wood and protect it with a good quality polyurethane sealant every four to six years to maintain a high level of water resistance.

The Dishwasher May Not Fit

If your kitchen has low cabinets, installing hardwood floors may raise the level, and the dishwasher does not fit.

In older homes in parts of the U.S. and Canada, vinyl, linoleum, or sheet material may have been installed. Almost all other new flooring materials are thicker.

Although most dishwashers have adjustable legs, and you may be able to reduce the appliance’s top height sufficiently, it is worthwhile to first measure before deciding on which way to proceed.

If this is not a new installation, check the following:

  1. Is there a gap between the top of your dishwasher and the underside of the counter?
  2. Does the dishwasher have adjustable legs?
  3. Is there at least 34-1/2″ of space from the floor to the underside of the counter?

Not Installing Hardwood Under The Counter To Save Costs

Unless you can install another material (plywood, tiles) that is the same height as the hardwood floor, you will constantly battle to remove the dishwasher out of its space when it needs repairing or you want to change it to a new machine.

Install The Hardest Wood You Can Afford

Not all hardwoods are hard. It sounds like a contradiction; however, the term “hardwood” relates to the tree category and not the density of the wood.

A Janka score determines the “hardness” of the wood. This standardized test measures the force required to embed a steel ball into a plank of wood. The force measurement is assigned to that wood on the Janka scale.

The following is a summary of the Janka scale wood used for flooring:

A Janka Scale Under 1000

Wood with a measurement under 1000 can be used for flooring; however, it will be easily damaged, chipped, or scratched and must be looked after very carefully.

The wood used for flooring with a Janka scale under 1000 includes:

  1. Cherry hardwood – Janka scale 950.
  2. Douglas fir – Janka scale 660.

Woods With a Janka Scale Measurement Between 1000 And 2000

These are the most commonly used flooring wood and include:

  1. Red oak – Janka scale 1290.
  2. Sugar maple – Janka scale 1490.
  3. Hickory – Janka scale 1820.

Woods With A Janka Scale Measurement Between 2000 – 3000

These woods are much harder and resist damage very well.

The denser a wood is, so the cost increases, and if the kitchen is not a high traffic area, it may be over-kill to install wood with this measurement.

Brazilian Cherry falls into this category, and while it is a denser wood, it is more expensive than softer materials.


There are two thoughts concerning whether to install hardwood flooring under the dishwasher. While installing hardwood under the dishwasher saves some cost and means it could be damaged by water, having hardwood under the dishwasher makes it possible to pull it out or back in quickly.