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  1. #1
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Tile before or after installing cabinets

    I am looking for all ideas on tiling before or after installing kitchen cabinets. This is a 100 year old house with some uneven floors and we are using large tile(natural slate) 16x16. I am worried about line under the toe kick if we install before and no tile under the stove and dishwasher if we install after. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tile before or after installing cabinets

    Install the tile first. If you tile after the dishwasher is installed you may not be able to remove the DW.

    John

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tile before or after installing cabinets

    You're going to get about a 50/50 mix of those who recommend tile before and those who recommend doing it after the cabinet install.

    IMHO, it's better to do so after, that way you're not risking damage to the floor while other work is being completed. To compensate tile under the stove and dishwashers, you need to raise the cabinets by the finished thickness of the tile, this is most easily done by attaching strips of plywood to the bottoms of the cabinet sides to fully support the cabinets. With this done, you can now tile under the dishwasher and stove without having clearance issues within the cabinets for the appliances or service issues should they need to come out.

    Another benefit to laying the tile afterward is that if your installer is worth his salt, he will be able to lay out better aesthetic lines. You can prevent slivers of tile along cabinets and walls, etc.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Tile before or after installing cabinets

    You should be aware that the smaller your floor tiles are, the better they will be able to conform to a wavey floor. If you can, I'd opt for a smaller tile.

    Both your stove and dish washer will have adjustable feet so that you can raise and lower these. On a dish washer, the front feet will screw up and down and there will typically be rods near the front of the washer which can be turned with a socket wrench to raise and lower the rear feet.

    You're gonna want to ensure you have tile under your dish washer, and it would be best to have it under your stove as well to make removal of the stove and dish washer for service easier.

    and, you can tile first OR you can install your cabinets first, but, whatever you do, caulk the joint between the tile and cabinets.

    That's cuz if you don't caulk, you've created a bug's idea of heaven the first time you spill any food on your tile floor and it runs under your cabinets. A bug will see that as a plentiful food supply in an enclosed space where it can't be cleaned up with plenty of crevices nearby that taper to a thinner and thinner gap. That's cuz when a bug feels threatened, they will instinctively crawl into the tightest crevice they can fit into. That's an effective defense against bigger bugs crawling in there after him and eating him. If you have a wavy floor then the tapering gaps between underlayment and cabinet bottom or tile and cabinet bottom are gonna be an ideal refuge for frightened bugs. And, if you allow food to get under that cabinet where the bugs can get at it but you can't, then you're creating perfect conditions for bugs to live well and stay healthy in your kitchen.


    I'd opt for a smaller tile, tile first, install your cabinets (ensuring that you can lower the dish washer enough to get it under the lip of the counter top), and then caulk between tile and cabinets.

    PS: You may not need to know the rest...

    If you're going to have a plastic laminate counter top, then take the time to paint the underside of the counter top where the dish washer will be with oil based paint. Also paint the back side of the front bullnose of the counter top where the sink will be. That's cuz when you open a dish washer, all the steam inside it will form condensation on the particle board underside of the counter top, causing it to absorb that water and swell. Do that enough times, and you break the glued bond between the laminate and the particle board. As soon as the laminate isn't well supported by being glued to the particle board, then it becomes very easy to break, and that'll be the beginning of the end for that counter top. Better to spend a few hours applying oil based paint to everywhere and anywhere the particle board can get wet, and you'll extend the lifespan of your counter top.
    Last edited by Nestor; 06-29-2011 at 11:55 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Tile before or after installing cabinets

    Generally speaking, here is my idea:

    When cabinets are replaced, install the floor tiles first. Float the tiles to compensate for uneven areas in the flooring. To protect the tiles while installing the cabinets, cover them.
    This way, the DW can go in and out easily.

    If you place the cabinets first and then do the tiles, you will have problems like:
    1. DW can't fit in, or fits in but can't be pulled out (like John suggested).
    2. The cabinets and your counter top will "feel" lower by the tile height. Not a biggie, but an issue for those with back problems.
    3. depending on how long your cabinets are, you'll have additional cuts to make. I hate cuts and will do whatever I can to avoid some of them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Needham, MA
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    Default Re: Tile before or after installing cabinets

    i remodel about a dozen kitchens a year and i'm 100% for installing tile after the cabinets are in. the cabinets have to be shimmed up the thickness of the tile which i'm sure most of them will be due to uneven floors. the toe kick covers any major gaps. make sure to tile under the dishwasher area, the stove and fridge areas. depending on what tile you're using you can save a good chunk of money on tile by not tiling wall to wall before cabinet installation. one of the biggest pluses to tiling after the cabinets is replacement of any broken tiles down the road and people usually go through 2-3 new floors before updating cabinets.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Tile before or after installing cabinets

    Regardless of whether one is tiling first or installing the cabinets first, it's always a good idea to order and store spare floor tiles. Tile manufacturers are continually changing their lines, so the cost of ordering and keeping some spare tiles should be considered an investment in your floor or kitchen renovation.

    Ditto for wall tiles.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Tile before or after installing cabinets

    Quote Originally Posted by Nestor View Post
    Regardless of whether one is tiling first or installing the cabinets first, it's always a good idea to order and store spare floor tiles. Tile manufacturers are continually changing their lines, so the cost of ordering and keeping some spare tiles should be considered an investment in your floor or kitchen renovation.
    ^^ Agreed. But IMO tiles must be installed after so that any damage to the tiles is avoided while doing other work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    2

    Default Re: Tile before or after installing cabinets

    No question about it. Tile first (including under the cabinets. Everything I've been taught (and seen) says that professionals tile under the cabinets and amateurs tile after the cabinets are done. tileing before the cabinets saves money. you dont have to make all the cuts to go around the cabinets. Yes you pay more in materials but you end up paying less in labour.

    If you have to shim UP to the hieght of the tiles, you might as well tile then just put the cabinets on top! It will look better and be easier to do!

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