good kitchen floor choice

I had been leaning toward installing laminate flooring in our kitchen, but a recent incident tells me that this might not be a good choice: Our water heater resides in a closet that is part of the kitchen and during the middle of the night, a leak sprung up that flooded the kitchen. How well would laminate flooring recover from being flooded (or hardwood for that matter)? With the water heater basically in the same room and our washer is also in the kitchen, would it be more prudent to choose a different floor covering?
Thanks.
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I had been leaning toward installing laminate flooring in our kitchen, but a recent incident tells me that this might not be a good choice: Our water heater resides in a closet that is part of the kitchen and during the middle of the night, a leak sprung up that flooded the kitchen. How well would laminate flooring recover from being flooded (or hardwood for that matter)? With the water heater basically in the same room and our washer is also in the kitchen, would it be more prudent to choose a different floor covering?
Thanks.
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I had been leaning toward installing laminate flooring in our kitchen, but a recent incident tells me that this might not be a good choice: Our water heater resides in a closet that is part of the kitchen and during the middle of the night, a leak sprung up that flooded the kitchen. How well would laminate flooring recover from being flooded (or hardwood for that matter)? With the water heater basically in the same room and our washer is also in the kitchen, would it be more prudent to choose a different floor covering?
Thanks.
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If water gets under a wooden floor, chances are that it will need to be removed. It is not uncommon to see a wooden kitchen floor buckle, then discover a long-term leaky pipe under the sink. From a practical sense, vinyl is best. Tile is okay but this can crack or chip, anything glass dropped will shatter, and tile is uncomfortable after standing on it for a long time.
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Most likely, your laminate would be trashed. Ceramic tile, sheet goods would have fared better. If the flood was bad enough, anything may have been damaged as water got under seams.
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wrote:

There are one or two laminate floors that use a synthetic (non-wood based) substrate. They're expensive and choice is limited but they are waterproof and would work in a kitchen.
In my experience, spills and even floods are inevitable in the kitchen. It's only a matter of when, not if!
And when it happens, you'll have a few minutes to mop it all up before your regular laminate floor is damaged, if not destroyed.
I would choose a good floor tile every time but vinyl also works pretty well. Vinyl feels warmer and dropped items have a slightly soft landing. It's durable, waterproof and cheap too. Of course, many folks hate vinyl and if you're one of those you can just pass by that option.
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The first question I'd ask myself is this one:
"What are the odds that my kitchen is going to be flooded again? Take the number of catastrophic water heater leaks in a given year and divide it by the number of installed water heaters. I'm guessing the number is miniscule. Now, considering the fact that you've already been a victim, what are the odds that you are going to be a victim again? Some will say that the odds are the same as anybody else's since the failure rate is based on the water heater, not on the person, but I'd be willing to bet that you've seen the catastrophic water heater leak you're going to see in your lifetime.
Then I'd ask myself:
Do I want to limit my choices of flooring based on the extremely remote chance that my water heater is going to ruin it? Do I want to live in fear or am I willing to take the risk to enjoy my home as much as possible. If you choose to not to live with the risk, then you should take steps to protect everything else in the house that could be damaged by the leak.
Next: Will my homeowner's insurance cover the damage? If so, why worry about it?
And finally...
What can I do to protect my home from a leaky water heater? Can I put a tray under it with a drain? Can I redirect the water from a (reasonable) leak so that it doesn't damage my floor? Can I relocate the device so as to eliminate the risk altogether? How can I limit the risk so I can live in a house that is finsihed in a manner that I find enjoyable?
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And dishwashers, faucets and associated water pipes, icemaker lines and the list goes on. Kitchens suffer plenty of spills and floods, some minor and some major. I would never install flooring that wasn't waterproof in a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. Floods happen!
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According to basic probability analysis, the odds are exactly the same as they were before the first flood. Unless you factor in that the WH leak was caused by the WH failing and now they have a new one. So, the odds of another failure are lower for a few years from the water heater itself failing again, but by the time the new heater is the age of the one that just went bad, the odds are back to exactly the same. For example, if the probablility of you getting struck by lightning is 1 in 100,000, and you get hit and survive, the probability of you getting hit again is exactly the same, 1 in 100,000. Many people have the misconception that the odds change, but they do not.
Some will say that the odds are the same as anybody else's

So, what are you saying? That the failure rate is based on some given number of events per person over their lifetime instead of physical events?

Yes, any water heater that is located where leakage will result in damage should have a pan with a drain routed to take any water to a safe dumping point. And a $10 water alarm, which you can set in the pan or on the floor.
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On Oct 25, 5:58 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

given number of events per person over their lifetime instead of physical events?
No, I'm saying exactly what you are saying. I fact, I already said it: "the failure rate is based on the water heater, not on the person". But I'd still be willing to bet that the OP has seen the last catastrophic water heater leak he's going to see in his lifetime. It's a bet - I'm willing to bet that based on the failure rate of water heaters, which will play out as they are supposed, that he won't be impacted again. I'm betting that there are enough other water heater owners out there that the risk is spread out pretty thinly. Again - it's a bet. Of course, it's a bet the OP has to be willing to take, since I don't really have a stake in his kitchen floor. :-)

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Ok, what am I missing? How can a water heater flood the kitchen when the water heater is in the basement and the kitchen is one floor up? How many people don't have full basements? Is it really a house if there isn't a full basement? Certainly not in upstate NY. I don't even think it's legal to not have a basement here.
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On Oct 25, 7:41 pm, <h> wrote:

-- Ok, what am I missing?
Perhaps you missed this line in the OP: "Our water heater resides in a closet that is part of the kitchen".
That said, how do you know the kitchen isn't the basement?
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h wrote:

kitchen corner cabinet. Access panel is in a separate utility closet outside our unit where main breakers, meters and phone panel are.
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<h> wrote in message

What are you missing? An incredible amount of geography and housing information. There are hundreds of thousands, probably millions of homes that have no basement. Pretty much every house in Florida, for instance. Thousands of homes in Nevada, CA, New Mexico.
Ask how many people have water heaters in their garage too.
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h wrote:

everyone can afford modern houses on proper basements, and in many areas,the water table makes basements impractical. There is no way they can <require> a basement, but common sense and local soil conditions may make that the most common practice around there. Here in midwest, some fancy-looking subdivisions are actually all above crawlspaces, not because of water table, but to keep the price low- you can't see the basement from the curb. (They also only put brick on the outside walls visible from street...) Lots and lots of cheap slab houses, older houses on piers or crawlspaces, modern prefab modular houses on crawlspaces, etc, many with the furnace/utility closet and laundry room right off the kitchen. Cheap house, you try to minimize the number of 'wet walls' and pipe runs, and make them as short as possible. I've seen double-wide modulars where ALL the plumbing was in one half, so they wouldn't have to pay for hooking up stubs to other half. Not even an outside hose bib on that side- they were on the ends.
aem sends...
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I like your reasoning...
wrote:

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chairs,tables and appliances can easily scratch wood flooring.
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adhesive. Hardwoods would dlikely not fare so well. Tile is close to vinyl - enough standing water to affect the subfloor may damage tile mounted to it.
Perhaps an alternate consideration might be a liner for the closet containing the water heater? If you feared a leak there, a structure similar to the base of a walk-in shower might be an answer at a fraction of the price. Ideally it would have a drain and connect to the grey water system. Even without a drain, it might buy you time in the event of a slow leak so that water is contained and you have time to deal with it. Improvise with a wash tub or visit the local recycling store.
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They have those at the local home center and they are called pans that go under water heaters. They have an outlet that you can then plumb to a safe discharge location. Any WH where leakage could cause damage should have one and an alarm as well.
Of course, that just eliminates one problem, though a major one, from a wood floor in a kitchen. There is still the dishwasher, sink, frig water line, etc that can leak. But usually those are less serious than a WH.
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Coincedentally, I was watching Ask This Old House last night and Rich showcased various "leak protection devices" for water heaters, dishwashers, sinks and laundries.
They ranged from the simple alarms that go off if the floor gets wet to some sophistcated devices that monitor the flow.
One device uses a floor sensor, say in a pan under the HWH, wired to the cold inlet to shut off the water if the floor gets wet. Granted, you'd still have the water from the HWH to deal with, but it would limit the damage somewhat. If you can't get a pan under the HWH, they showed a rubber hose that can be used a dam to contain enough water to set of the device. This device could also be plumbed into a dishwasher or laundry system.
Another very simple device was a braided hose with a mechanical valve in one end that slammed shut if the hose burst. He cut the hose with a bolt cutter and other than a quick spray of water, the hose did not leak. Great for dishwashers, sinks and laundries.
Another device was for the laundry which included the water valves and a power outlet. Supposedly, as long as the washer was not drawing any current, the valves would stay shut so if a hose burst, the leak would be limited to the water in the hose. The assumption was also that you are always home when you do the laundry, so you'd know about a burst hose if the device was drawing current. I'm not sure about that one. My washer has an electronic display and although I've never tested it, I'm assuming it is drawing some current at all times. As soon as you touch any button or turn the knob, the display lights up, plus it remembers the options you chose the last time you used a given cycle, so I'm guessing it is "always on". That and the time delay means I don't have to be home to do laundry.
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