A man installs a kitchen floor.

Should You Install Flooring Or Cabinets First?

By Cabinets Direct USA  on  March 5, 2024
man installing floors scaled

Is It Better to Install Kitchen Floors or Cabinets First?

Remodeling your kitchen involves crucial decisions, like whether to install flooring before installing your cabinets. It might be one of the earliest choices you have to make if you are doing a complete renovation. The choice is not as simple as it seems though, and can hinge on several factors, including your chosen flooring type and future kitchen plans.

Why Floor Type Matters for Cabinet Installation

The question of whether to install your kitchen flooring or your cabinets first really comes down to one big factor – the floor type. For non-floating types of floors, it’s preferable to place the flooring first. It makes sense because you want a uniform foundation for your cabinetry to sit on. However, for floating floors (like engineered hardwood, laminate, or vinyl plank), the floors need room to expand and contract, so placing cabinets on them can cause issues. The opposite holds true if you have a floating or vinyl floor – you will want to install the cabinets before your flooring.

Can You Install Cabinets on Floating Floors?

The simple answer is no, best practices are not to install cabinets on floating floors. Your options are either floating cabinets, which are simply cabinets that do not rest on the surface of the floor, or to first have your heavy cabinets installed, including any islands, and finally, install floating flooring by leaving a ¼ gap between the flooring and the cabinetry. The gap can then be covered with ¼ round molding.

The Impact of Thicker Floors During Cabinet Installation

You might not think the thickness of your floor could have any impact on your cabinet installation plans, but they’re ultimately related. Thicker floors make it harder to fit appliances in the right places, which in turn can affect your base cabinet placement. When your floor is installed before any cabinetry, you can enjoy a more uniform floor installation overall, but you need to consider the thickness and how the cabinets will fit into the space with your new kitchen appliances.

Avoiding Floor Damage

By installing floors before your cabinetry, you risk possible damage to your floor. Floors, once installed, can suffer scuffs, scrapes, and scratches. In addition to that, if you plan to paint after the floors go in, it may drip on your new floors if you’re not careful.

The Verdict – Which to Install First?

Ultimately, unless you’re using floating floors, it is probably better to put the floors in before the cabinets. This will ultimately make it easier for all the appliances to sit at the appropriate height and give you an overall picture of your future kitchen space.

Shop At The Top Kitchen Cabinet Retailers in New Jersey and Florida

If you’re ready to design your dream kitchen, or you are looking for the most trusted cabinet retailers on the East Coast, Cabinets Direct USA can get the job done. If you want to learn more about the best time to install your cabinets during a remodel or otherwise or you need help planning your kitchen, our professionals can help. With a number of convenient showrooms in in the New Jersey area as well as expansive showrooms in Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens, FL., it’s never been a better time to get serious about your kitchen, bathroom, home-bar, or unique area of your home that is ready for custom cabinets or countertops.