cabinets or flooring first-edgewood cabinetry

Renovating the kitchen is a great way to add value to your home.

Most kitchen remodels entail new lighting, counter tops, a paint job, cabinets and a gorgeous floor. One of the most common questions homeowners have about remodeling their kitchen is; do I install flooring first, or the cabinets? Well, the answer to that is, it depends on the type of flooring that you are installing. We will go over the most common types of flooring and explain the sequence of installation that is best for each.

Hardwood Flooring

Generally, it is better to install hardwood floors in the kitchen before you bring in the cabinets. There are several reasons for this. First of all, it’s easier to make sure that your cabinets and appliances such as the stove and dishwasher are at the standard 36″ height. Secondly, if you, or a future owner of your home, ever decide to reconfigure the cabinets, there won’t be issues with missing floor pieces. Third, you’ll get a much cleaner, refined look by installing the flooring under the cabinets. Finally, there is a lower likelihood of damage to your new cabinets from the floor installation.

Floating Floors

Hardwood floating floors are not the same as a hardwood floor. They are more like other floating floor materials such as cork or laminate. These floors are not directly connected to the floor, this is why they are called floating floors. As such, they expand and contract more than a true hardwood floor does. They should always be installed after the cabinets; otherwise, the parts under the cabinets will not be able to move properly. This will cause problems later on with buckling, bulging and breakage of the flooring.

Vinyl Floors

Vinyl flooring is generally installed before the kitchen cabinets since it is laid over a sub-floor. As long as the base is level, there will not be any problems with cabinets and appliances being the right finished height. It’s also a neater application since the vinyl will smoothly go under every cabinet and there will be no need for more trim to hide any botched cuts along the edges. It also creates a smooth, clean finish in much the same way that hardwood under the cabinets provides.

Tile Floors

Tile flooring is another type of flooring that is installed before the cabinets. The reason, similarly to hardwood floors, is that the thickness of the tile contributes to the height of the cabinets. If it is installed after the cabinets, they will have to be shimmed to assure that the countertops are at the proper height. Not only that, but you will also need to install toe-kicks under the cabinets to hide any gaps caused by the missing tile.

Although every flooring installer and cabinet-maker has their own personal preference for the sequence of installation, the guidelines above are generally accepted. Just keep in mind that if the floor is glued or nailed down, it should go in first and any flooring that floats should be installed last. If you have any questions, or you would like more information, contact us. We’ll be happy to discuss your kitchen remodeling project at length.