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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    24

    Default Tile first or new cabinets first

    My kitchen contractor is installing my new cabinets first. This is different than our conversations. In the conversations he told me we would tile first. The base cabinets are in the process of being installed. I questioned this and he said they always do it this way but will tile under the appliances. This seems odd to me. Does anyone know it this is typical?

    I am concerned since the floor isn't completely level and they appear to be doing a lot of shimming.

    Kevin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
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    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    in my world i always install the cabinets first and tile up to them. #1 reason being, people will usually change the tile floor prior to changing the cabinets. #2 what do you do if you crack a tile that's part way under a cabinet. it's much much easier for a tile guy to install the tile prior to the cabinets but i just don't think it's the way to do it. bathrooms are a different story, it's a wet environment and a vanity will probably get replaced before the tile.

    we recently installed hardwood floors in a kitchen where the tile floor went under the cabinets. it was a nightmare but we got it done.

    if you do decide to do it the correct way, they should tile under the dishwasher, stove and fridge.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Iowa
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    222

    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    What MLB said. Cabinets last longer than floors. It wasn’t until recently that some home improvement channels started making people feel like their perfectly good, functional and attractive cabinets were dated that cabinets started to be replaced as frequently as they are. Back in my younger days vinyl was the major kitchen floor in most starter and midrange homes. These floors usually looked pretty worn after 10 to 15 years, if not sooner. If part of my wood floor gets damaged (I know you hate wood floors in the kitchen DJ), the damaged part can be replaced without trying to get under cabinets.

    Tile is a pretty resilient floor, but I have a friend who needs hers replaced – too many cracked tiles and no extras to use to fix it – and she loves her cabinets. It is a good thing her tile is not under her cabinets. Make sure your contractor gives you the extra tiles. The tile need to be under the appliances so they can be moved without trying to raise them onto the tile – like when you roll out your refrigerator to clean behind it.

    Lots of shimming is common in older homes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    We always tile before setting the cabinets. Its much easier, faster and you can get a much flatter floor by tiling first.


    Choose wisely grasshoppah

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,191

    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    You will get about a 50/50 split on the opinion of whether to tile before or after cabinets, it really boils down to personal preference. There are benefits to both methods, but nothing that usually affects the homeowner. The only "critical" issue is whether the dishwasher will fit or be removable once tile is laid. It is VERY common for new flooring to be installed without regard to the dishwasher, big mistake.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    Thank you for the responses. I just wanted to make sure this was a valid way to do things and not cutting corners. I have done a lot of work on the house and this is the only contractor I have had issues with. At this point I am becoming distrustful of anything he says.

    The job is just dragging on and on and on. A couple of weeks project is going to end up taking four weeks (they are doing a few other things but have 1 guy doing it all). They knew our timeline and it is now causing me a lot of problems. We signed the contract Jun 4 with the understanding that they would be completed by 7/31 or close to it. The cabinets took 10 weeks and there was no communication until I called. The contract stated 6 weeks. Things happen and all I wanted was someone to communicate. I didn't even get to pick out some of the stuff that is going into my house. The company is award winning for their work and designs. I guess customer service is not part of it.

    I just wanted to give a brief overview of my I needed to ask the question.

    They are tiling underneath the appliances.
    Last edited by LoyolaMD; 08-17-2014 at 09:30 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    And the dishwasher lasts the shortest amount of time Have fun getting it out over the tile it was never designed to be sitting behind without destroying those nice new granite countertops

    If you're going to set cabinets first they must be shimmed up to very close to where the top of the finished tile will be. If you're going through that much trouble you might as well just tile it all. If money is an issue then use scrap tiles only under where the cabinets bear and leave the rest open. Those don't have to be pretty, just there for elevation purposes. But don't believe me- measure where the finished rough opening will be allowing for any dropped edges on the countertops, then check that figure against what the appliance maker calls for. Yup, you won't have the recommended space more often than not though you can usually get the appliance in or out with a fight. It's when you lose that fight just once then have to pay for the error out of your own pocket that you will become a believer.

    If a tile needs repaired at the cabinets (which I have never seen happen though it's possible) it can be chiseled out and the new one cut to just fit under the cabinets- doable without a lot of trouble- so that's not the point here. Nor is whether the floor or the cabinets will be there longer. When contemplating any job you must consider everything the future might bring to it, including changes and repairs of it and all the related objects it might get in the way of. But yeah, there's a pretty even split among the pros on the matter with just one exception- those who couldn't get a dead appliance out over the tile laid after the cabinets and counters went in will all be on my side of the question

    Phil

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    Phil,

    I am a little confused by your response. The contractor is tiling under the appliances. Unless I am misunderstanding there should not be problems getting appliances over the tile.

    They aren't giving me an option on which way I want it just like they didn't give me an option on the drop ceiling tiles or the new bathroom exhaust fans.

    Kevin
    Last edited by LoyolaMD; 08-17-2014 at 10:01 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    I understand Phil’s concern about the dishwasher, but I have not had this problem. It is the only appliance that needs to fit under the countertop.

    I have always had flooring under my refrigerator and stove. Originally there was not flooring under my dishwasher, but when I had my new floor put in (3/4 inch oak), they also put flooring in the dishwasher space. If I did it again I would tell them not to floor under the dishwasher. But, the original dishwasher went back in fine. My new dishwasher installed about 4 months ago went in just fine. However, there is not much extra space and a higher floor or putting new floor on top of old floor could make it impossible to get the dishwasher to fit.

    Sorry you are having so much trouble with your contractor. My kitchen took only 2 weeks, but I just had old cabinets pulled out, new cabinets put in and new sink and countertops. It would have been done sooner but apparently the plumber showed up drunk and my carpenter sent him home. Sometimes I run the remodel myself or else work with guys recommended from friends – they usually end up being from church. I guess they don’t want me shaking my fist at them on Sunday morning

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    6,736

    Default Re: Tile first or new cabinets first

    This is what I do:

    I tile first, but I make sure the front of the cabinets rest on a whole tile. If the floor tiles have to go out for some reason, the cabinets won't have to be removed.

    BTW, tomorrow I'm tiling a shower.

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