Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Broken Man 1999
Posts: 804
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am

Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun May 14, 2017 1:56 pm

Despite our kitchen being one of the least used rooms in the house, wife has worn me down. Too many neighbors changing cabinets, and too many HDTV shows! :(

As part of the "new" kitchen, we are also replacing some tile that is in the kitchen, breakfast nook, entry hall. It is hideous, I've never liked it.

The question concerns when to retile. We could retile when the kitchen is nothing but bare walls, or we could retile after the kitchen has the cabinets and such in place.

Any "best practices" for this question, or is it something that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things?

I lean towards waiting 'till everything is in place before retiling. Of course prep work like removing old tile and making sure floor is level could be done when removal of old cabinets/counters is complete.

Thankfully as a small win toward my greater loss of having to do it in the first places, wife has agreed that no electrical or plumbing will be relocated. That should limit costs some.

Thanks for any input!

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

hicabob
Posts: 2575
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 5:35 pm
Location: cruz

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by hicabob » Sun May 14, 2017 1:58 pm

Before seems to be the accepted way here. It uses a little more tile but looks better and tile under the dishwasher is a good idea.

J295
Posts: 1175
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:40 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by J295 » Sun May 14, 2017 1:59 pm

Flooring last.

littlebird
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:05 pm
Location: Valley of the Sun, AZ

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by littlebird » Sun May 14, 2017 2:00 pm

I've always believed the floor comes last in any remodeling project.

island
Posts: 1695
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:45 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by island » Sun May 14, 2017 2:25 pm

Flooring last is typically what I see here, but figured into the calculations, because often seems to extend under some appliances.
Please consider giving your wife credit for knowing her own mind and that she wants a kitchen update for herself, not that she's been brainwashed by HGTV or the neighbors. :oops:

tech_arch
Posts: 210
Joined: Wed May 27, 2015 11:47 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by tech_arch » Sun May 14, 2017 2:39 pm

We did flooring last. The slab should be level while not all tile is not perfectly flat, which may cause problems. I think it also gives a cleaner look where the tile meets the cabinetry.

From a job cost standpoint, it's about even.

AlwaysaQ
Posts: 432
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:37 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by AlwaysaQ » Sun May 14, 2017 3:10 pm

I also had the floor put in last. If you put it in first you may not get the dishwasher to fit.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 1613
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by adamthesmythe » Sun May 14, 2017 3:34 pm

If the underlayment needs to be torn up/ replaced/ supplanted that should be done before the cabinets. Most of the time I have seen tile up to but not beneath the cabinets which says to me that tile was done last.

User avatar
mrc
Posts: 1005
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:39 am
Location: right here

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by mrc » Sun May 14, 2017 3:42 pm

I would lay flooring wall-to-wall if I could. I would only consider AFTER if the cabs didn't need replacing and wouldn't be removed. I would remove the old tile while the base cabs were out. You may decide to replace sub floor if the tiles don't come up nicely, or add a layer if the sub is too thin.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

Cash
Posts: 1219
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:52 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by Cash » Sun May 14, 2017 3:46 pm

We just renovated a house, and the contractor put the floors in before the cabinets. Seems like the reverse would require a lot more cutting and would also require you to get new floors whenever you replace the cabinets.

User avatar
CAsage
Posts: 666
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:25 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by CAsage » Sun May 14, 2017 4:03 pm

If you are going to put in tile (great in a kitchen) or hardwood, I think it should go in first because then all the cabinets sit on top of the tile, making that join much cleaner than having to put in quarter round or something to hide the edge. And of course the dishwasher will fit, since the cabinet height is correct from the floor up, with the d/w sitting level. Also, it seals the floor under the appliances and makes it much easier than trying to floor around a d/w or range.... The exception would be if you are stuck with a remodel and can't use tile, as I had to put in laminate after my new kitchen due to various issues. I used the best laminate I could get, installed it myself with very tight tolerances (minimum expansion required) and then used skinny molding (what do they call it... the stuff that goes along the sides of vertical cabinets to fit to the wall...1/4" or so deep). Looks great. I wanted tile since it really does look better..... but with laminate it cannot be held down by the cabinet weight.
Note that a bathroom is done the same way - flooring after the tub, but before toilets/cabinets. Other rooms, flooring is last, since it's all drywall and paint only...
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

Sandi_k
Posts: 445
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 11:55 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by Sandi_k » Sun May 14, 2017 5:01 pm

AlwaysaQ wrote:I also had the floor put in last. If you put it in first you may not get the dishwasher to fit.
And if you put the floor in afterwards, you may be tiling your dishwasher in place. ;) Yes, I've seen it done.

Our preference is flooring first.

User avatar
daytona084
Posts: 775
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:47 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by daytona084 » Sun May 14, 2017 5:02 pm

Our home was built new in 2003. The builder could have done whatever he wanted. The floors (hardwood) were put in first and the cabinets sit on top of the floor. The only type of "flooring" that goes in last is carpet.

As mentioned, the dishwasher could not be installed or removed if the floor were installed after the cabinets.

User avatar
jharkin
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by jharkin » Sun May 14, 2017 8:58 pm

Another vote to floor first. When contractors do it last you get all kinds off odd issues....

(wood) Floor shrinks and you have gaps around the appliances / cabinets
(wood) floor expands and you get buckling where it presses up against the cabinets
Have to make all kinds of odd cuts to get around cabinet corners, etc and it just doesn't look right
Makes it harder to pull out appliances for repair.
And so on....

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 2780
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by Pajamas » Sun May 14, 2017 9:00 pm

Floor first if you own, floor after if you rent. :twisted:

August
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:03 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by August » Sun May 14, 2017 9:06 pm

Floor last. This way if you ever need to change the floor (water damage, etc), you won't need to tear out all the cabinets if they are not damaged. If the tile goes under the cabinets, then the cabinets need to come out to if something like water damages the floors.
I do recommend either tiling under the dishwasher and fridge space or placing an another layer of underlayment there to even it out with the floor.

2comma
Posts: 1028
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by 2comma » Sun May 14, 2017 10:10 pm

Sandi_k wrote:
AlwaysaQ wrote:I also had the floor put in last. If you put it in first you may not get the dishwasher to fit.
And if you put the floor in afterwards, you may be tiling your dishwasher in place. ;) Yes, I've seen it done.

Our preference is flooring first.
I've done it! I put down tile and it was high enough that the dishwasher wasn't coming out and a new one wasn't going in. Luckily we remodeled the kitchen later so I removed the countertop and got the dishwasher out then. I didn't put tile everywhere, just where a cabinet/dishwasher/stove was going to be supported by the floor. In general it's a good idea to have all of the appliances sitting at floor level.
If I am stupid I will pay.

User avatar
just frank
Posts: 1286
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:13 pm
Location: Philly Metro

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by just frank » Mon May 15, 2017 4:10 am

To the OP...you often don't get to pick. If the project needs a new subfloor---replacing vinyl with tile, then you need to change the height of the floor (ugh) or rip out subfloor under the current cabinets, etc.

As for putting the actual finish floor down last to protect it....details. But subfloor and support often has to come before.

But I think the question is...can you break the project down into parts...replace the floor one year, and the cabinets another....sometimes this is not possible.

Disclosure: My current kitchen cabinets are steel, from 1960 and were made by GE.

hicabob
Posts: 2575
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 5:35 pm
Location: cruz

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by hicabob » Mon May 15, 2017 9:21 am

2comma wrote:
Sandi_k wrote:
AlwaysaQ wrote:I also had the floor put in last. If you put it in first you may not get the dishwasher to fit.
And if you put the floor in afterwards, you may be tiling your dishwasher in place. ;) Yes, I've seen it done.

Our preference is flooring first.
I've done it! I put down tile and it was high enough that the dishwasher wasn't coming out and a new one wasn't going in. Luckily we remodeled the kitchen later so I removed the countertop and got the dishwasher out then. I didn't put tile everywhere, just where a cabinet/dishwasher/stove was going to be supported by the floor. In general it's a good idea to have all of the appliances sitting at floor level.

I bought a house done like that once. A broken dishwasher meant new countertops . :annoyed

Broken Man 1999
Posts: 804
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon May 15, 2017 12:36 pm

Thanks for all the replies! There were compelling reasons for both flooring first, and flooring last.

The dishwasher height shouldn't be an issue as the units have leveling screws on the legs/bases. I will concede that the job would be harder to replace the unit further down the road.

The tile will be on the concrete slab, so no worry for subflooring.

Wife and I want this to be our last hurrah, in this house, as at some point we need to move to a single story home, like a condo. She isn't ready, and there are reasons to stay as our taxes are capped to a low increase per year, the neighbors are great, many dating back over 20 years. Plus everyone takes care of their yard, most of us have yard service, and those who don't still keep things nice.
island wrote:Flooring last is typically what I see here, but figured into the calculations, because often seems to extend under some appliances.<br abp="597">Please consider giving your wife credit for knowing her own mind and that she wants a kitchen update for herself, not that she's been brainwashed by HGTV or the neighbors. :oops:
Oh, there is no worry there, she knows her own mind, what she wants. And, it will be a nice thing after it is finished, along with repainting the entire interior of the house, and replacing the living room furniture. Everything is in decent condition, just dated. The last "freshening up" was about 15 years ago, excluding the two upstairs bathroom that were done not so long ago.

We have the huge pieces of furniture for the entertainment center that was perfect when we had a projection TV, not so good when the TV is 1-2 inches thick, like now. The living room floor isn't being replaced, it is actually a laminate made by Formica. Formica doesn't make it any more, but it is in great shape. We chose that brand as it had the longest warrantee when we removed the carpet to accommodate my wheelchair. The existing laminate in the downstairs is 18 years old, but in great shape.

Broken Man 1999 (soon to be Broke Man 2017) Just kidding. :D
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 2395
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by lthenderson » Mon May 15, 2017 12:48 pm

I've always installed the flooring before the cabinets. I think it provides a cleaner look where the cabinets meet the tile. It is very tough to do a decent grout job with tile tucked underneath the front edge of cabinets and then you have a grout joint up next to a wood surface which shrinks and expands with temperatures and humidity. I prefer to run the tile just under the edge of the cabinet and fill in the rest with plywood so that you eliminate any cost differential from doing it afterwards. It also speeds up the process since you eliminate almost all the tile cutting you have to do. Then to seal that small joint between the wood cabinet and the tile surface you just run a bead of flexible caulking. You save a ton of money in labor doing it this way versus after the fact.

User avatar
DaftInvestor
Posts: 3123
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by DaftInvestor » Mon May 15, 2017 1:51 pm

OP - my tile was done After cabinets but Before appliances. My contractors opinion was that the tile floor should be under stove/dishwasher so you can easily replace appliances and also in case you dishwasher had a slow leak (otherwise the leak my just be consumed in the subfloor without you knowing).

ddurrett896
Posts: 651
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by ddurrett896 » Mon May 15, 2017 2:28 pm

Tile guys say tile first.
Cabinet guys say cabinets first.

If you think you might replace floor in the future, do tile after cabinets so you can remove flush with the existing cabinets.

gmc4h232
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:11 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by gmc4h232 » Mon May 15, 2017 2:53 pm

Floor should go in first if you are replacing cabinets. There will be no issues with dishwasher assuming cabinets are standard height. There is no good reason to try to piece tile around cabinets. Laying, grouting, and cleaning tile is messy and the last thing i would want is to get my nice (expensive) cabinets all dirty and dinged up from tile installation.

You will have an issue with dishwasher if cabinets are installed on subfloor and tile is sitting up higher. Also, your toekick height will be reduced and may result in toenail kicking bottom of cabinets frequently. This is extreme, but my parents' kitchen is like this.

As far as ease of floor replacement down the road, it's just something you will have to deal with when the time comes, and it's not that big of a deal.

Broken Man 1999
Posts: 804
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon May 15, 2017 3:06 pm

ddurrett896 wrote:Tile guys say tile first.
Cabinet guys say cabinets first.

If you think you might replace floor in the future, do tile after cabinets so you can remove flush with the existing cabinets.
I hope to have assumed room temperature before I have to do any of these type activities again! It isn't just the cost, it's the noise, clutter, inevitable issues with installers/product makers, etc.

My biggest hope as we approach this redo is that we have the ability to articulate exactly what we want the finished project to look like. Honestly, that isn't always as easy to do as it seems on surface.

Project costs = :moneybag when the concept equals the finished job, with a very small number of changes.

Project costs = :moneybag :moneybag when the concept evolves over the life of the project, resulting in many changes.

The builder of our home has a skeleton crew to do projects, vs building homes, now. I'll give them a shot. They are expensive, but the builder produces quality results. We have used them for projects over the years, with great satisfaction.
Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

dave_k
Posts: 203
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:25 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by dave_k » Mon May 15, 2017 4:10 pm

I put the tile down first when I remodeled the kitchen in our vacation home, so the cabinets and dishwasher would be on top of them. The previous flooring had been done that way as well. I think it's easier that way. You don't have to worry about how the edges look where they will be under the cabinets, whereas putting tile down to neatly fit along installed cabinets would be more work. I used a diagonal pattern so that was more of an issue that it would be otherwise.

stan1
Posts: 4979
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by stan1 » Mon May 15, 2017 8:50 pm

Do you expect the floor or cabinets to last longer? Put the one you expect to last longer in first.

I live in an area where almost every house built in the last 60 years has a slab foundation (millions of homes). Builders always put cabinets in before floors and people tend to keep it that way. If you have solid oak floors over a basement or crawl space definitely put the floors in first.

beardsworth
Posts: 1963
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:02 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by beardsworth » Tue May 16, 2017 7:25 am

Our kitchen has a hardwood floor, but the hardwood only goes to the base of each cabinet (although, where visible, e.g., under the refrigerator, it does extend all the way to the wall). Otherwise, the cabinets themselves are sitting on plywood subfloor, with only strips of quarter-round to hide the edges where the hardwood ends.

This means that if we ever replace the current cabinets, there's about zero chance that a new set of cabinets would precisely fit the outline of the existing hardwood. And laying small bits of new hardwood to fill the gaps would be very labor-intensive and also difficult to color-match.

If we ever re-do the kitchen, we're going to lay new flooring all the way to the walls before putting in new cabinets, so we won't have this issue again.

Because of the way hardwood in a kitchen repeatedly gets dented from utensils being dropped on it, or scratched by shoe grit tracked in from the garage, etc., we'll eventually replace the hardwood with good-quality tile, which, in our thinking, is a much more appropriate flooring for a kitchen. With tile it's also possible to keep a supply of individual spare replacement pieces, something not practical for strips of wood which change color with age and are installed tongue-in-groove.

Broken Man 1999
Posts: 804
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:40 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions. I am returning very late to this post as late in the day of my last post in this thread I broke both my legs in a stupid mishap. I tangled some charging cables on my wheelchair joystick and suffered compound fractures of my left leg and a simple break of my right leg. :oops:

I believe I will just tile from wall to wall in the areas where we are changing the flooring.

Hope to get some Ideas soon from some kitchen/breakfast nook designers so I can get the project priced out and all.

Wife probably thinks I broke my legs just to postpone the remodeling project(s)! :D

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

GAAP
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:41 pm

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by GAAP » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:28 am

We just completed ours a couple of months ago. Tile after, but also placed under the dishwasher. Didn't change the cabinets, but would still do it the same way -- you'll be replacing the countertop anyway, just make sure the dishwasher isn't too tall.

We also add moisture barrier (RedGard) all around the dishwasher, including the floor, wall behind it, and adjacent cabinets -- stops a lot of mold problems if your dishwasher ever leaks. We did the same thing inside the sink cabinet, and then painted it. Similar protection from sink/cleanout/disposal leaks and spills while improving visibility in the cabinet.

ralph124cf
Posts: 1722
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:41 am

Re: Replace floor BEFORE or AFTER New Cabinets?

Post by ralph124cf » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:32 pm

If you are using ceramic or porcelain tile, be sure the contractor uses mortar, not mastic for laying the tile. Mastic would be OK if this was over a wood subfloor, but mortar is better over a concrete slab.

Ralph

Post Reply