Kitchen Renovation Tips

What comes first flooring or cabinets?

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    Take a look at this all too common scenario: You are giving your kitchen an extensive makeover by removing everything in it and starting over, including the walls, cabinets, flooring, and appliances. This is referred to as a "rip-down remodel." After the demolition is complete, the next step is to instal the new flooring and cabinets.

    Due to the magnitude of the undertaking, it is imperative that you take all the necessary precautions to ensure that the end product is in line with your envisioned blueprint. During a remodel of your kitchen, you might find yourself debating whether the floors or the cabinets should be installed first in your quest to create the perfect cooking space. So the question is, which comes first: installing the cabinets or the flooring?

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    Installing Flooring First


    It is common practise for many people to instal the flooring first, as this allows them to avoid having to cut the material around the cabinets and appliances. This is the primary benefit that can be gained by those who begin with floors. In addition, some people are concerned that if cabinets are installed first, it will be more difficult to replace them in the future because you will be stuck with the same cabinet footprint that you had before.

    On the other hand, if you are remodelling the kitchen, you are probably going to do it in a style that you won't want to change in the future. Lastly, installing flooring beneath base cabinets provides a tidier appearance and eliminates the need to instal quarter rounds along with your cabinets. This is a win-win situation.


    Putting floors under cabinets wastes flooring. Why pay for flooring beneath cabinets and appliances? Later flooring replacement would require removing the cabinets. This will cost you or future homeowners later.

    Material choice may also affect installation order. Wood floors need room to expand and contract with temperature and moisture. Installing floors under cabinets can buckle wood as it expands. The floor will be damaged. Experts recommend installing wood floors after finishing cabinets. Floating floors can't be installed under cabinets because the weight prevents expansion and contraction. This could break the floor.

    Cabinets First


    When you begin with the cabinets, you are able to circumvent many of the challenges that you would face if you did things in the opposite order. You won't need to worry about wasting time and money on the flooring because it won't be visible. If you instal your cabinets first, there is a reduced chance that you will scratch or dent your new floors while installing them. On the other hand, if you instal your cabinets after you have installed your new floors, there is a chance that you will damage your new floors.


    By starting with cabinets, you create a renovation footprint. Installing flooring around base cabinets is costly and time-consuming. This flooring will trap built-in appliances. Your flooring corners them, making switching built-ins harder. Non-built-in appliances can solve this problem.

    As you can see, installing floors or cabinets first has pros and cons, but floors pose more risks. When making a decision, consider your materials, appliances, and renovation plans. Ask a contractor what method they use.

    Typically Cabinets Come Before Flooring

    Because of the typical heights of different types of flooring, the cabinets will almost always be installed before the floor covering. Not the subfloor (which is located under the underlayment) or the underlayment itself, the floor covering, also known as finish flooring, is the surface that people see and walk on (between the subfloor and finished layer).

    Kitchen Renovation Tips

    The floor covering will be trimmed to fit and will come very close to butting up against the cabinets. Between the cabinetry and the flooring, there ought to be a tiny bit of space left open. This void will be filled in with baseboard or shoe moulding that has been affixed to the underside of the base cabinets using nails.

    There are a few reasons why you might want to stick with the traditional choice of installing kitchen base cabinets before the floor covering, the most important of which are outlined in the following paragraphs.

    You'll Potentially Use Less Finish Flooring.

    It may be possible to save money by installing the kitchen base cabinets before installing the flooring. For instance, the majority of the expensive finished hardwood flooring is typically concealed from view by positioning it beneath the cabinets. Why would you pay a premium price for imported hardwood that will be concealed? Consider installing a different and more cost-effective type of flooring underneath the cabinets and appliances, or even risers made of plywood, so that the floor will remain flush.

    You'll Minimize the Height of Flooring.

    There are times when it is not necessary to completely gut a kitchen and get rid of the cabinets and appliances that are already there because they are in satisfactory condition. Despite this, the flooring should be replaced as soon as possible.

    You might want to think about installing thin floorings such as luxury vinyl, laminate, or tile, all of which can be laid up to the cabinets without any problems. After that, quarter-round or base moulding is used to cover up the ragged edge of the flooring. Your cabinet counter might not be the standard height of 34 to 36 inches if you have a thicker type of flooring such as solid hardwood. This is a problem because thicker types of flooring present a challenge. There are two approaches that can be taken to deal with this problem:

    Instead of using solid hardwood, go with flooring made of engineered wood. Solid hardwood is typically slightly thicker than engineered wood, which consists of a "sandwich" of wood veneer on top and high-grade plywood on the bottom.

    The finish flooring should be laid directly onto the subfloor, with no additional underlayment in between the two layers. The thickness of a floor can be increased by an additional 14 to 12 inch with the use of an underlayment.

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    When To Install Flooring Before Cabinets

    If your total flooring height needs to be elevated and finished higher than normal (due to an appliance height or construction anomaly), consider installing the flooring before installing the kitchen cabinets and appliances. This is necessary.

    If you first installed base cabinets and appliances on the subfloor, then hardwood flooring around them, the height would be wrong. If everything is out of alignment, it won't be easy to get the counter to 34 to 36 inches. Adding plywood risers under cabinets and appliances could help. The floor can also be risers.

    If you have to install the flooring first, here's a method that will avoid some of the problems I just described.

    • After you've installed all of the base cabinets, draw a line on the subfloor that corresponds to the front edge of the toe kick.
    • Remove the cabinets and screw a plywood filler piece to the subfloor about 12 inches inside the line, under the cabinets. This piece should be at least 2 inches wide and about 1/8 inch thicker than the flooring's total thickness, including any vapour barrier or cushion.
    • Next to the wall, screw a strip of the same thickness to the floor.
    • Install the new flooring, leaving a 14-inch gap between it and the first filler strip.
    • Finally, attach the toe kicks and instal the cabinets on both strips. The flooring will be able to expand and contract without revealing a gap beneath the toe kick.

    Laminate Flooring or Cabinets First?

    It is recommended that you instal the cabinets first if you are not going to be putting in laminate flooring or any other type of floating floor that is made from a product that is derived from wood. The floating floor makes it possible for the pieces to move around more freely as they go through the expansion and contraction process.

    The installation of cabinets directly on top of a floating floor may result in problems such as buckling and gaps. This is because the cabinets may prevent the floating floor from moving freely, as it is designed to do.

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    Tile or Cabinets First?

    Whether you're adding tile to the kitchen or bathroom floor, check the subfloor first. In older homes, the subfloor was made of diagonally laid 1 x 4 or 1 x 6 planks.

    1 x 6 plank float subflooring is not an adequate subfloor to instal tile on 1 x 6, but you can add subfloor on top if your floor heights allow.

    Installing floor tile and a bathroom as part of a larger project that includes wall tile, such as a tub surround or shower, makes sense.

    This eliminates two tile-installer visits. Installing bathroom tile first makes changing the vanity style easier. You can change it up in the future without replacing the tile.

    When installing tile floors, it's important to pay close attention to the subfloor because unlike other floors, any movement can cause the tiles to come loose and the grout to crack, and eventually the tiles may come loose and pop-up.

    Do Hardwood Floors Go Under Kitchen Cabinets?

    You have the option of installing hardwood floors prior to the installation of the cabinets, or you can wait and instal them after the cabinets have been installed. You can decide to instal the hospital floors at a later time. You won't be able to make even a small savings on the cost of the materials and labour because you'll be cutting down on the amount of floor space that will be covered with hardwood.

    If you instal the hardwood floors after the cabinets, you have to be careful not to damage the dishwasher because of the hardwood floors. The feet of the dishwasher are typically installed at the same floor height as the cabinets in the majority of installations. In order to successfully complete this task, you will need to instal a piece of plywood either beneath or inside the dishwasher opening. This will allow the appliance to be slid into the allotted space without any difficulty.

    If you don't instal a piece of plywood to level and raise the floor under the dishwasher, you might have trouble removing the dishwasher in the future when you need to replace it or give it maintenance.

    How to install hardwood floors around kitchen cabinets?

    In a kitchen that already has hardwood floors, it is possible to extend those floors all the way up to the toe kick of the base cabinets if you are installing new hardwood floors. To be able to cut close to the toe kick of the base cabinets without causing any damage to the cabin is the aspect of forming this type of installation that presents the greatest challenge.

    Tile to hardwood transitions

    You have two options when switching from tile to hardwood. Installing a threshold over the tile-hardwood seam is the easiest option. Commonly, the transition is slightly higher than the finished floor. Second, instal hardwood and tile seamlessly.

    You should make sure your hardwood floors end in a straight line so he can tile up to them. Between hardwood and tile, metal edging is often used.

    The gap between hardwood floors and tile may need maintenance over time. Tile and hardwood have different properties.

    Due to temperature and humidity changes, hardwood floors or natural products expand and contract. Normal. It's best to leave a small gap between hardwood and tile floors to allow for expansion and contraction without affecting grout.

    Installers may grout this seam. Grout-caulk is more elastic and crack-resistant. Most grout colours come in powder and tube caulk, so matching tile grout should be easy.

    Install vinyl flooring before or after cabinets

    It is much simpler to instal vinyl flooring in a kitchen or bathroom before installing cabinets for plumbing fixtures like toilets. This is true whether you are installing vinyl flooring in the kitchen or the bathroom. This is especially the case for products sold in sheet form, such as vinyl and linoleum.

    If you choose to wait until after the cabinets have been installed, then you will need to carefully cut around the perimeter of the base of the cabinet to ensure that your lines are straight. If you decide to wait until after the cabinets have been installed, then you will need to. In some instances, you might need to use shoe moulding to cover the edges of the vinyl where it meets the base of the cabinets. This can be done by working it around the perimeter of the cabinets.

    How are kitchen cabinets installed?

    Base cabinets in kitchens are typically attached to the wall behind them using screws. Following the completion of the installation, the cabinets should ideally be fastened to a stud in order to reduce their mobility. Wall cabinets are hung in the same manner as base cabinets; however, it is more important to hit a stud when hanging wall cabinets because they have to be able to hang from the wall. Wall cabinets are installed using the same method.

    How to install a kitchen island

    Kitchen islands aren't installed two ways. Screw through the lower cabinet and into the floor to attach the kitchen island. This method requires trimming the island's perimeter to cover screw holes.

    The second and more thorough way to attach the kitchen island to the floor is to first instal 24 blocks directly to the floor and then screw into the two by fours through cabinets.

    The easiest location is along the front of the cabinets because you can instal the screws through the toe kick and conceal them with a toe kick trim.

    Installing a Kitchen Island on Concrete Floor

    You can use either method to attach a kitchen island to a concrete floor, but I recommend the 24/toe kick method. Drill pilot holes in the concrete and use concrete screws to attach the 2 x 4 to the floor. Then, use wood screws to attach the cabinet to the 2x4 that's now anchored to the floor.

    Both installation orders have pros and cons. It's up to you to weigh the risks and decide what's best for your project. From the start, choose your materials and appliances carefully and consider future plans for the kitchen. Check if you're on the same page with a contractor. All parties must have similar goals. By understanding the situation, you can make the most of your project and be happy with your choices.

    FAQs About kitchen renovation

    An average kitchen remodel will pay off more than a high-end renovation. According to Remodeling magazine's Cost Vs. Value Report, a major kitchen remodel costs $68,490 and homeowners recoup $40,127, which is 58.6 percent. An upscale kitchen remodel costs $135,547, with a 53.9 percent ROI.

    Kitchens and baths are by far the most expensive rooms in the house because they are not only finish- and material-intensive (full of countertops, tile, and cabinets), but also carry additional budgetary demands due to plumbing, electric, and mechanical requirements.

    Kitchen Remodel Components

    • Cabinets. Cabinets. ...
    • Appliances. ...
    • Countertops, Sink and Backsplash. ...
    • Lighting and Electrical. ...
    • Flooring. ...
    • Plumbing. ...
    • Painting. ...
    • Demolition and Removal.

    $3000 to $5000
    However, the average cost of a kitchen island usually ranges from $3000 to $5000. If you're ready to go for the relatively less expensive models, your budget can run as little as $100. On the other hand, a customized remodel for your kitchen island can add $10,000 to your kitchen remodel costs.

    When selecting your countertop for your kitchen island, you can choose the standard design or a waterfall design. The standard design is a single horizontal surface that ends at the edge of the island whereas a waterfall design drops vertically down the sides which creates a continuous flow to the floor.

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