What comes first, the flooring or the cabinets? This is a question frequently asked by homeowners who are planning on renovating their kitchen. As a general rule, it’s better to install the flooring before installing your cabinets well, except in one scenario illustrated below.
Making this decision in itself assumes that you are doing a full remodel, which is replacing both your flooring and your cabinets. If these renovations are done at separate times, you might need to consult a professional on how to go about finishing your renovation. If the cabinets have already been installed, this can significantly affect your flooring due to the obstacles brought on by the cabinets. That being said it’s important to consult your flooring contractors to help you in your installation.
Below, we explore a few reasons why it’s better to install your kitchen flooring before your cabinets.
- Get the right height– It’s recommended that the cabinets are about 36 inches above the ground and it’s also advised that your kitchen appliances fall in the same height otherwise it can be cumbersome later on when you want to change or replace these appliances. For instance, if you want to replace your dishwasher, you don’t want to rip out most of the floor just to get it out. Alternatively, you can apply plywood beneath the cabinets to achieve the recommended height. However, this can leave a dent in your pocket since you need to pay for the plywood and pay more to hire a professional who will make the plywood into finer cuts around the cabinets.
- You will get the cleanest look– Installing the flooring first helps you avoid potential stains or dents to your cabinets that can happen while demolishing or repairing your flooring. In case your cabinets are damaged during the demo, you might need to replace them or just continue using them despite their flaws. You are guaranteed to get a fresher more natural look if you install your flooring first.
- Cabinets change all the time– Cabinets’ models and style are always changing. Again, cabinets wear out quickly and need to be replaced periodically. Flooring on the other hand can last for 100 plus years. Sure, the finishing styles might change but the flooring can remain the same throughout many kitchen renovations. That is why it’s important to install the flooring first, so that if you decide to change the kitchen appliances or cabinets, you will still have the same flooring covering the entire area.
The one exception to this rule is, if you are installing floating hardwood flooring, these should be installed after the cabinets have been installed. Why? Well because floating laminate floors tend to be flexible and can move, contract or expand depending on the room temperature. If part of the flooring lies trapped beneath kitchen cabinets, it makes it hard for the floor to move and this can destroy the integrity of the floor from it breaking, buckling or warping.
Bottomline flooring that is glued or nailed should be installed before the cabinets while that which is floating should be installed after the cabinets have been installed.
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