Fitting floor tiles in front of appliances

Cutting Corners
You need to be mindful when fitting floor tiles in front of appliances. The same applies for laminate floor, or any flooring that raises the height of the floor in front of the appliance. Many people try to save money and effort by not fitting their flooring behind appliances. But I’ve seen a lot of dishwashers, tumble dryers and washing machines that were trapped under a worktop.

People are totally unaware of the problem until the appliance needs to come out to be repaired, or replaced. If you are installing an appliance under a worktop, or having a new flooring fitted in front of an appliance, make sure you understand this potential problem first.

If you tile up to an appliance you could have big problems in the future

When you push an appliance underneath a kitchen worktop it needs to stay on the same level as the floor in front of it. If the floor tiles or flooring has not been fitted all the way underneath where the appliance will stand then there could be a problem. When you push the appliance into place, it drops down behind the tiles.

To come out again it needs to be lifted over these tiles. However, the worktop above often prevents the appliance from lifting up. It’s now stuck and will not come out. You need more room to lift an appliance over the flooring than you might think because you can only lift it from the front. So the appliance has to be lifted and tilted back. If an appliance has dropped 10 mm behind the floor, it may need tilting back an inch or more to be able to pull it over and out.

Even cushion floor or lino can be a problem

Even if you are only fitting cushion floor or a lino-type floor covering, if you don’t fit it all the way back you can have problems. You still need to lift the appliance up and over the flooring to get it out. That’s when the back feet of the appliance can slide underneath the flooring and rip it.

Fit the flooring all the way back

If there is a big gap above an appliance when it is pushed underneath a worktop you may not have a problem. Just try tilting the appliance back and lifting it up at the front to see how high the front feet can be raised. Is this enough to be able to pull it out over the new flooring? It is a lot easier though if the flooring goes all the way back.

So ideally if you are having flooring fitted in front of an appliance you should move the appliance out, and install the flooring all the way back underneath the appliance. Just make sure that the worktop is not fitted so low that there isn’t enough clearance under the worktop to allow the appliance to stand on the new flooring. This shouldn’t happen if the worktop is fitted to a standard height.

An example of what can happen if an appliance gets trapped

Here’s an example, with photo of the drastic action that had to be taken in order to get out a dishwasher that was well and truly trapped underneath the worktop and behind kitchen tiles. It also contains helpful advice and tips on how to get an appliance out if it is trapped Appliance stuck behind tiled floor

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