Flooring for a kitchen... (warning - long story!)


Summary: I'd like advice/opinions on flooring a kitchen, in vinyl sheet or ceramic tiles.
I'll try and start at the beginning... we moved into our flat about 15 months ago now, and at that time the kitchen was floored with a (fairly cheap) non-water tight laminate floor. Since we had a 4 year old at the time (and now a 10 month old too!) you can imagine that it didn't stay clean and new looking for long. Problems began to arise when our aging washing machine leaked (just the once - it was overloaded) and water was spread all over the kitchen. The room is about 2 metres wide and 3 metres long, with the worktops at the far end and down the left hand side. The laminate flooring was laid on the area where the worktops weren't - i.e. not to the far walls. The water got under the boards, and before we realised what was going on, split all the boards apart and caused chaos. On lifting the boards and investigating, I found the concrete floor underneath (first floor flat if that helps any builder identify the type of concrete! :S) was damp. I cleared all the laminate flooring and removed as much stuff as possible to allow it to dry - which took about a week. We had no money at the time (baby being born...) so I got an offcut of vinyl sheet and laid it down. I managed to get a bit 2m x 2.98 ish (a mm or two short!) which I thought would be OK, since no-one's going to looking underneath the cupboards at the far end for a while. It's "standard" stuff with a cushioned back - so I was sold, erm.. I mean told. I also managed to lay the whole thing flat by adjusting the cabinet feet one at a time and easing the vinyl underneath the cabinets. Here's the first question - is that a usual thing to do?!? How often do you pro's put in a new floor without removing kitchen cabinets??! The new problem (as of only a few weeks ago) is that the vinyl sheet is slowly becoming more uneven, since I followed TWO friends AND my father's advice - which was "don't bother gluing it down"!! I'm going to be asking about all future jobs on here, rather then ask them again!! Is there an easy way to smooth out the vinyl, "stretch" it back down, and glue the edges without lifting it all up again?? Does anyone think that this might be related to water seeping underneath the flooring again, or the concrete still being damp, and should be properly investigated!?!
I'm also thinking of replacing the vinyl sheet with ceramic tiles anyway. So a few questions on that. I've read that you're supposed to start laying tiles from the centre of the room - is this strictly necessary?? Can I not start with a whole tile in the "good" corner and work my way to the cabinets at the other sides?? Can I use the same trick as I did with the vinyl, and lay the tiles carefully under the cabinets by raising an adjustable leg, carefully (and awkwardly I imagine) sliding the tile underneath, levelling, waiting for it to set (how long is that??!) and lowering the leg before moving on to the next??
Or am I just full of daft ideas this weekend?!!? Thanks for any input :D __________________________________ The Grim Reaper
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The Grim Reaper wrote:

The reason you start in the middle is that walls are rarely true and you could end up with some odd angles and wotnots if you started at an edge or corner. There are some neat tricks to laying tiles and cutting them to size which it's probably best to read up on in a book.
--
Malc

"AFB Mr Tracey."
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"The Grim Reaper" wrote:

I have laid sheet vinyl loose and not had any problems but it should be stuck down. You might be able to stretch it outwards and stick it down. Softening it with a fan heater or hair dryer will help. Ceramic tiles should be laid from the centre outwards and the floor must be level.
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