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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Reston Virginia
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    Default Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    I plan to redo my kitchen this year and plan to put down wood flooring. Is it best to put down the floor in the entire area first then the base cabinets on top or base cabinets and floor around them?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    1

    Default Re: Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    It is by far easier to do the floors first. I always install floors (ie 2 1/4 oak) sand and 2 coat floors.Protect the floor with rosin paper or work pads then install cabinets, tops, plumbing, just about everything then clean floors and apply final coat of sealant. if floors go in last sanding is much more time consuming because it will require more hand tool sanding vs drum around the cabinets.
    Now with that being said. if you use a prefinished floor material you can go cabinets first but the down side is if there ever comes a time you or future owners wish to change cabinets and layout you will never match the flooring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,617

    Default Re: Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    I'm an advocate of cabinets first, floor second. Either way has it's advantages and disadvantages. Both are acceptable methods of installation.

    I would say that if you're installing an engineered product that cabinets first is better because the wear layer on engineered will eventually wear out. Most brands are not refinishable and must be replaced. Not being under the cabinets will make the replacement much easier. If you're going full thickness hardwood, then either method will do fine.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Coventry, RI
    Posts
    340

    Default Re: Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    Keep in mind that if you were to put the cabinets first you should put them on plywood that is the same thickness as your finished floor. If you put the cabinets right on the sub-floor you dishwasher is most likely not going to be able to be slid in and out of its space once the finished floor goes in. Its not a problem until something goes wrong with the dishwasher then it becomes a major problem especially if you have heavy stone or tile counter tops.

    Mike

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    Quote Originally Posted by jkirk View Post
    yup, floors first, at least you dont have to be too exact as to where to end them at the wall, it doesnt have to be hard up to the wall, just as long as the base cabinets have enough to bear on
    I will also agree with jkirk. Wood flooring must be completed at once with out any obstructions. If the cabinets as been put first then the floor work will look unfinished. If the cabinets has been installed later over the wood flooring it looks perfect as the work of the wood flooring will be completed till the walls with out any break ups of the wood work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    1

    Default Re: Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baylee View Post
    I will also agree with jkirk. Wood flooring must be completed at once with out any obstructions. If the cabinets as been put first then the floor work will look unfinished. If the cabinets has been installed later over the wood flooring it looks perfect as the work of the wood flooring will be completed till the walls with out any break ups of the wood work.
    I read this last issue of whether to apply the floor or cabinets first. I will be in the same situation very soon and had planned to raise up the cabinets as I am 6'2" and am tired of having to bend over the counter stressing my back. So putting the cabinets onto feet (like from IKEA) and taking the toe kicks out will create space underneath the cabinets and I was wondering if that would hinder the floating elements. My idea was to lay the floor first (it has already 2 layers of linoleum of which I will remove first. Or can I lay the floor on top of the deepest layer of linoleum instead of laying down padding? The second layer was cut around the cabinets and the first layer was placed over the whole floor. Thanks for your help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    6,617

    Default Re: Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baylee View Post
    Wood flooring must be completed at once with out any obstructions. If the cabinets as been put first then the floor work will look unfinished.
    You obviously have no experience with the installation of a wood floor around cabinetry. Wood floors are installed around cabinets all the time and when done correctly, there is no tell-tale sign whether the cabinets are on or behind the flooring.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,617

    Default Re: Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    Quote Originally Posted by birger View Post
    I read this last issue of whether to apply the floor or cabinets first. I will be in the same situation very soon and had planned to raise up the cabinets as I am 6'2" and am tired of having to bend over the counter stressing my back. So putting the cabinets onto feet (like from IKEA) and taking the toe kicks out will create space underneath the cabinets and I was wondering if that would hinder the floating elements. My idea was to lay the floor first (it has already 2 layers of linoleum of which I will remove first. Or can I lay the floor on top of the deepest layer of linoleum instead of laying down padding? The second layer was cut around the cabinets and the first layer was placed over the whole floor. Thanks for your help.
    First note, Baylee's assertion that flooring must be installed under cabinets is erroneous, floors are installed around cabinets all the time.

    On to your situation. There are various methods of raising a cabinet. You can install legs as you've implied, or you can extend the toe-kicks. IMHO, extending the toe-kicks is the better way to go because it won't add difficulty to cleaning and mopping, and IMHO, it will look better not having a void under the cabinets. It also won't point load the floor where the feet rest, causing ripples or other visual defects in the floor.

    If you are only going to install a floating floor over the existing vinyl areas, there is no need to remove any of the vinyl, provided you are just extending the toe-kicks. You will not need a vapor barrier because the vinyl is providing that already, you will want to maintain the padding, however. If the flooring will extend into areas beyond where vinyl currently lives, then you'll want to pull the vinyl all the way to the subfloor/slab, otherwise there will be a noticeable transition point between where vinyl currently resides and no vinyl exists.

    If you do raise the cabinets and use feet rather than extending the toe-kicks, then you'll want to remove the vinyl down to bare subfloor/slab. Not only will you have a noticeable transition as noted before, the weight of the cabinets will enhance that transitional area.

    About your idea to raise the cabinets/countertops. While I am only 6', I feel your pain about bending over low countertops. I would caution against raising your cabinets/counters unless this is a property that you intend to own for a very long time. Higher counters will most certainly have an adverse affect on the resale price of your home, as most folks enjoy the standard counter height. Now, if you were talking a master bathroom vanity then I'd say jack that puppy up!
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Wood floor first or Base Cabinets?

    I would go with the cabinets first, since they are supposed to be built in. My husband and I just started the same kind of remodel and are going with the cabs first. You will also save money on flooring.

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