Cabinets or Flooring First?

Floor or Cabinets First

Which should be installed first: kitchen flooring or cabinets? With every kitchen makeover, this question remains. Every contractor has own tastes. You need accurate answers, whether you're DIY-ing or managing your own remodel.

When renovations are completed in the proper order, they go much more quickly. It is crucial to get cabinets installed at the appropriate time since they are the main component and the solar system's center, around which everything else revolves.

However, the solution isn't as simple as you might hope. It depends on the kind of flooring, subsurfaces, and how long your design will last. Before choosing to install flooring or cabinets first, we suggest you consider the following points.


Making the right first decisions is crucial to the success of a kitchen makeover.

Longevity is an additional reason for installing flooring first, in addition to having a clean start. Consider what is ahead. Installing the cabinets initially will cause additional remodeling problems later on.

What happens if you eventually decide to perform further renovations or need to replace your appliances? It will be easier to navigate both now and in the future if the floor is laid down before the cabinets.

The flooring under your cabinets should be maintained as a permanent fixture. Treat them the same as you would the rest of your floor. Just because they won’t show doesn’t mean you can cut corners. A fully completed floor will be useful for the integrity of the floor both today and in the future.

Type of Flooring

Weoften suggestto install flooring before cabinetry. However, thicker flooring and floating floors are the two situations where everything is different.

Floating Floors

Plank flooring installed with tongue and groove makes a floating floor. There are several varieties available, including vinyl, laminate, and engineered hardwood.

They aren't secured to the subfloor directly. They appear to "float" on it. They move, swell, and contract with the home. But if you place cabinets on top of them, they won't be able to shift, and you could have issues later on.

Thickness of Floor

Although thicker floorboards (more than 1/2′′) won’t affect how your cabinets are installed, they might cause issues for your appliances. When it comes time to replace your appliances, it might be rather difficult to remove them—even if you installed them before thicker flooring. To ensure that retrofitting appliances goes well, make sure the flooring is less than 1/2".

Avoid Potential Floor Damage

The potential for flooring damage during construction is one of the main points of contention for the cabinets-first group. We recommend three solutions.

  • Work from top to bottom to ensure that nothing below is threatened by above work. Paint the ceiling before installing cabinets or flooring.
  • Keep finishesto the very end. If something goes wrong in the meantime, you won't have to do it twice.
  • Protect, protect, protect! Cover the floor while the job is being done. When the time comes to move in the appliances, place cardboard down.


It is crucial to ensure that your cabinets are level, regardless of whether you install flooring or cabinets first. Maintaining levelness throughout is crucial since the subfloor could not have been level to start with.

Installing flooring initially will provide you with an advantage. It's possible that a few strategically placed shims are still necessary. Shelves and drawers in your cabinets must be level, even if the floor isn't. Chip advises using a four-foot level to obtain the most accurate readings.

You might discover that the countertop itself still doesn't sit correctly on the cabinets despite all of your hard work. Maintaining a level surface on the top of the counter is crucial. To create a level surface, use shims to close up any gaps that exist between your cabinets and the countertop's underside.

Which goes first, the cabinets or the flooring? We typically install the flooring first. For flawless cabinet installation every time, heed these suggestions, regardless of your unique specifications and requirements.

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