Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 3/10/2014

procedure for remodeling. floor first or paint first?

should kitchen cabinets be installed before wood flooring?

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

3 Answers


I have done it both ways.

If you are talking unfinished hardwood before is easier at times so sanding and finishing is easier but that can be done after cabinets are installed. Some like the idea of running the floor under the cabinets for a few reasons. If tile it can be more water tight if there is a leak in the dishwasher, sink or ice maker, I don't think this is that much of a reason as it can also hide a leak for a while. If your kitchen layout is such that in the future the layout would not change it may make sense to go to just under the toe kick line and use plywood to fill in under the cabinets especially if the flooring is expensive as you will save on the square footage. A good cabinet installer should protect the floors anyway as well as a good painter including the path in and out of the room being worked on.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


Many years ago I renovated an antique house. The beautiful original wood flooring was in good shape and just needed to be sanded and finished. I turned one of the rooms into a kitchen and had custom cabinets installed. All the floors were finished before the kitchen cabinets were installed. Despite the fact that the cabinet installers used a drop cloth, they also "dropped" a lot of nails. When the drop cloth was removed, my kitchen floor had pock marks everywhere that would have been impossible to sand out, not to mention the extra expense. I think I screamed a lot, even cried, but of course that didn't restore my newly finished floor.

Good point about wanting to have the new flooring under the cabinetry and the appliances. Just be aware that you could end up with a damaged floor and no easy way to fix it. It could depend on how much of the cabinet work is done elsewhere and if installation will or will not require several days of heavy traffic by people wearing big boots and stepping on dropped installation materials.

If you decide to put the floors in first, I suggest you have a detailed conversation with the cabinet installer and maybe get a guarantee that if he damages your floor it will be his responsibility to return it to its pristine state.

Answered 6 years ago by Oleron


My preference - if flooring is going to run in under the cabinets, flooring obviously HAS to be done first.

Otherwise, do afterwards so cabinet installers don't have to cut it off to fit and you don't risk it coming up short if they screw up or the cabinets are not exactly the finished depth you thought they would be. Plus, leaving it till after (if not going to run in under cabients) avoids any risk of dinging or scratching it installing the cabinets. Also, I like to silicone caulk the baseboard to the flooring so floor mopping water and kitchen spillage does not go in under cabinets, and this has to be done when the baseboard or kick strip is put on so it does not show, which is usually by the floorer, so doing the flooring last if possible eliminates a return trip for him to do that.

Don brought up an important point - water leaks in or under cabinets. I go with plug-in water alarms with battery backups - the type with a separate sensors on a wire, so the alarm itself can be fastened (I use velcro strip) high up inside cabinet under sink where it is out of the way and above most leaks and cord has easy access to dishwasher outlet, with the sensor wires leading down through the cabinets to placement under the sink cabinet and under the dishwasher - or if adjacent as is commonly the case, on the floor in the dishwasher cavity right next to the sink, with an opening between those two areas at floor level so it alerts to leaks in either area. This alerts you to leaks that might otherwise get trapped behind the flooring edge, or run in under the flooring from under the cabinets.

One other thing I do is have the flooring installed under the sink inside the cabinet too, turned up or baseboarded at the sides and caulked along the top of that edging, so any leaks under the sink cannot leak down through the cabinet and run out only the kitchen floor through the doors where it will be noticed quicker, rather than draining down under the cabinets and into underlying floors. Ideal, though most customers don't want to pay the few hundred $ extra, is putting in a dry drain under the sink, under the dishwasher, and under upstairs washing machine laundry bays, with waterproof flooring and edge baseboards and front water lip in each area, so any leakage or overflow drains into piping that then exits the house trough a louvered drain pipe. In most code areas (but not all) this is considered an overflow graywater drain and is allowed to dump direct to the ground since it will hopefully never get used, and is no different that a house flood accidentally draining through the wall to the outsdie. Therefore it does NOT need a trap and trap primer. In areas where outside dischrge is prohibited, some areas allow draining to a sump pump if you have one, or else require you drain to a sewer with a trap. Can prevent a LOT of grief in the event of a major water leak in the kitchen, but few are put in except in high-end professional grade kitchens, which commonly have a floor drain anyway.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy