Should You Install New Flooring Before or After Your New Cabinets?

Should You Install New Flooring Before or After Your New Cabinets?

One of the biggest debates in the world of kitchen design is the ongoing debate about whether to install the flooring or the cabinetry first.  It turns out that both sides have their own supporters and there’s no clear cut answer. Let’s explain the arguments for each approach and what factors to consider when making this decision.

Why it’s better to lay flooring first

Some may argue that laying the flooring first is the way to go. They’re all about the final look and believe that starting with the flooring creates a sleeker, more seamless finish. They’re even willing to shell out more cash for a proper installation, considering it is a long-term investment.

Here are the main advantages of laying flooring first:

  • Installation is easier: When you start with your flooring, you usually fit it to the entire kitchen area. This means it doesn’t need to be cut around your cabinetry and should be quicker and easier to install. This, in turn, could save you on installation costs.
  • It looks cleaner: Because flooring runs all the way underneath the cabinetry, there are no messy joins or edges. There’s also no need for beading to cover any cracks or gaps.
  • It supports future layout changes: If your flooring covers the whole kitchen area, you can easily reconfigure your cabinetry in the future. This should lengthen the lifespan of your flooring and mean that you get better value for money from your investment.

Why it’s better to install cabinetry first

On the opposite side there are others who swear by installing the cabinetry first. They’re more budget-conscious and aim to minimise wasted materials and unnecessary expenses. They’re also worried about potential damage to the new surfaces during renovation process.

Here are the main advantages of installing cabinetry first:

  • It’s usually cheaper: While cutting your flooring around your cabinetry may take a little longer, it also reduces the amount of flooring required. Depending on the flooring material used, this could mean a significant cost saving.
  • It minimises the potential for damage: Flooring goes through a lot during a kitchen renovation. There are multiple tradespeople walking on it and heavy objects (like the cabinetry) that need to be carried over it. So, laying your flooring after most of the work has been finished limits the risk of scratching and marking.
  • It suits all flooring types: Some flooring materials simply shouldn’t be run underneath cabinetry. For example, hardwood expands and contracts as temperatures change and can buckle when pinned down by cabinets. And most floating floor solutions are not rated to take the weight of kitchen cabinets.

You can also but the flooring straight into bottom kickers thereby alleviating any gaps that water might seep underneath.

So… which should go in first?

As the above shows, it ultimately depends on your preferences and the materials you’re using. However as a general recommendation, it’s often more cost-effective to install your cabinetry first.

Many experts suggest leaving the kickboards off your cabinets until the flooring is laid. This allows the flooring to go slightly under the cabinets, creating a cleaner look.  Hope this helps you make a more informed decision for your kitchen renovation!  Let us know if there’s anything else we can discuss or help you with by giving Kitchen Shack a call. Our experienced team are experts in the renovation process and can help you develop your project schedule.

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