Floors or cabinets which comes first

Hey everyone welcome back to thirsty on Thursday.

Have you ever had a dishwasher break and while trying to fix it realized that you can’t get it out. You tilt it, slide it and wiggle it back and forth. No matter what you do it won’t come out. Now you see why. There is no flooring under the dishwasher or cabinets and the cabinets were not blocked up to get the true height needed. You have to get to the level legs of the dishwasher and lower it down. Hopefully the legs are not corroded and still work without breaking. This could have been avoided if the flooring had been installed in the right places and the cabinets were blocked up underneath.

I have received many phone calls where clients are asking should we install the cabinets first or the flooring first. Well many people in remodeling have their own beliefs with a schedule of construction. The answer has 2 main factors. You can save money by only running the flooring to the front of the cabinets. However, this only saves a fraction of money and increases the labor of installing the cabinetry. The 2nd factor is if you are using a prefinished wood flooring. A prefinished wood floor scratches and dents easily. Imagine your cabinet installers and other trades walking on the floor with tools, sliding materials across the floor and creating problems with a floor that is already finished and installed. Now if the installers and other trades are professional they will use blankets and shoe protectors while inside your house.

If you decide to install the cabinetry first can you just install them sitting straight on the subfloor? The answer is no. If you install your cabinetry straight onto the subfloor you will not get the true height of the cabinets. This happens because the cabinets at a height of thirty four and one half inches when installed on the subfloor. Now you run your finished flooring right to the front of the cabinet taking away anywhere from three quarter of an inch to one inch of height depending on what flooring thickness you pick. To defeat this mishap your installer will attach blocks the same height as your flooring and connect them on the bottom of all your base cabinets. Once these blocks are attached on the bottom of the base cabinets you will have the true height of the cabinets at thirty four and one half inches above the flooring. By adding the blocks you now have a consistent countertop height at 36” from a finished floor. This also helps with your appliances when installed. Think of a dishwasher that you are trying to get out to fix and it is below your floor but you cannot raise it up because of the countertop. If blocking was used under the base cabinets equal to the flooring, it would be no problem to access that dishwasher.

Whichever material you choose to install first does not matter as long as it is done the right way. If not it could be an expensive fix or a hassle to deal with in the future.

See you next week.


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