Should I install new flooring or the new cabinets first?

Answered by Brett ~ September 24, 2010 ~ Comments

Some of the DIY shows show to install flooring first, some show to do it last... which is best? Last seems logical so we dont damage it while the other construction is going on. Also what is the reason for doing it first or last?

Christine N. ~ Plentywood, Montana

Brett Kulina

Christine, although it can be done either way, I think it is best to install and to finish the kitchen flooring first and then install the cabinetry second. (I am assuming that this is new construction and not a remodel). Here are two reasons why I think that this order is preferable :

-If you are installing wood floors which need to be sanded and finished, then it will be a lot easier to complete those tasks if you do not have to work around the finished cabinetry. Likewise, if you are installing a tile floor, then laying out the tile pattern will just be easier without the cabinets in the way.

-If you do not run the flooring under the cabinetry, then there is a seam between the flooring and the cabinet's toe-kicks where spilled water could potentially get under the finished floor and damage the subfloor. Although this seam could be sealed with caulking, over the long haul you will have a better defense against water damage if your finished floor extends from wall to wall.

As you mentioned, it is important that the finished floor be protected so that the cabinet installers and finish carpenters do not scratch or damage it. This can be accomplished by covering the floors with cardboard or building paper before the cabinetry and counter-tops arrive on site. Good luck with your project and enjoy your new kitchen.

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