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Question DetailsAsked on 1/19/2017

Must a bathroom vanity be installed on top of the flooring, or would caulking it in place suffice?

The contractor remodeling my bathroom set the vanity on the floor first, then installed the flooring around it. I had thought that he would install the flooring first and then set the vanity on top of it. Should I ask him to pull the vanity out, re-do the flooring, and then re-install the vanity on top of the flooring, or would it be good enough to just seal the vanity in place as it is with caulking and/or molding?

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Voted Best Answer

Caulking fine - though even that is very commonly skipped too - usually just baseboard/kickstrip is glued to the base of the cabinet, bearing on the flooring. I would say, from my experience, that probably 70-90% of cabinets and vanities are put in before the flooring - both because except in terms of acting as a limit on any leakage from the cabinet area flooring under it serves little or no purpose for its added cost (more square footage), plus flooring is usually one of the last things put in so all surfaces it is abutting against are finished, and so it is not damaged by construction activities or dripped on by paint and such.

In bathrooms, unless flooring will wrap up onto the toekick area of the vanity with upturned edge or cove tile or such, I put down peelable latex caulk like DAP Tub and Tile on the flooring in a line where it will be at the back of the baseboard/kickstrip before the baseboard is put in, so the bottom edge of the baseboard is embedded in caulk (immediately wiping off any that shows after base is in).

However, in kitchens - and with many installers in baths too - a common philosophy is to NOT caulk there, so if there is hidden water leakage in the undersink cabinet or dishwasher area (which will usually go clear down to the floor through the cabinet floor) it can leak out underneath and be visible before it starts rotting the subfloor. That is one of the primary reasons some people like to put cabinets on top of the flooring - so the flooring (especially if seamless sheet material turned up at the wall and around dishwashers and laundry areas and such as a liner or "bathtub") will catch such water and run it out under the cabients onto the open floor, where it is visible soon after any significant leak starts. In that case, of course, you do NOT want to caulk under the front edge of the cabinets - though you do then have the issue of not free-water wet-mopping close to that edge and having it run in under and start deterioraating the base of the cabinet. Comes down to homeowner weighing the preferences and risks on some cases.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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