When remodelling a kitchen there is always the question of what should be installed first between the hardwood floors and the kitchen cabinets, is a point of debate. It is just like the age old question of what came first between the chicken and the egg. The general consensus however is that it is best to put in the floors before starting any work on the cabinets. This however rests on the assumption that you are carrying out a full kitchen remodel of both the cabinets and the floor. This is not always the case since some budget constraints may force you to carry out the changes separately.
The other exception to the rule is when you are dealing with floating hardwood floors. These should always be installed after the cabinets since they are usually clicked together as opposed to being adhered to the floor. The reason for this exception is that they move, contracting and expanding with different weather patterns and usage. If they are trapped beneath cabinets, some of which are very heavy, this movement may be restricted. This results in all manner of issues with the wood, including bulging and breaking.
For the rest of the floors, here are the reasons why you should always start with laying the floorboards when carrying out a kitchen remodel:
Getting The Heights Right
This is one of the most important aspects of any kitchen remodel. The first step is to make sure that all the cabinets are the right height above the floor, and you can only do this once the floor has already been installed. It is also important that the appliances be above the flooring as well, for the sake of convenience. Should anything happen to an appliance that it needs repair or a replacement, you may have to remove portions of the floor in order to extricate it from the floorboards. This is not only an expensive undertaking, but also pointless and repetitive, since you will have to redo the floor the right way this time. It is therefore better to have it installed the correct way from the beginning.
You Have More Flexibility With Changes
In most cases, especially when you are using hardwood, your flooring will last longer than your cabinets. You may also want to change the style of your cabinets in about 10 years to match the ever changing design upgrades. Sometimes it just makes sense to change the cabinets to reflect, or even match, a certain quality in your kitchen. This could be to bring out the marble on the countertops or even show off the character in your hardwood floors.
Floors on the other hand are like the secret ingredients in a recipe; once you find one that works, you tend to stick with it for a long time. This is especially true since hardwood floors, with the right maintenance, can last for over 100 years.
When redoing your kitchen cabinets, it is better to have the floor underneath the cabinets, meaning that the only part that will be disturbed is the cabinet itself. If the appliances and cabinets were installed before the floor, a floor uprooting may be necessary. This is very punitive to your pocket, since working with hardwood is not cheap. Some of the wood may also be damaged, which would bring with it the additional expense of replacing the broken boards.
You Get Cleaner Finishes
Installing the floor before the cabinets ensures that you get the cleanest finishes in your construction. The concept is the same as building a house from the ground up; everything ends up being where it is supposed to be and the overall construction is sturdy. By starting with the floors, you avoid the agony of having to add a quarter round to the cabinets. Instead, you can just have clean cut toe kicks that match the cabinets and allow the floor to flow from beneath. The overall look is a lot more structured and has a professional quality around it.
It is Safer On The Cabinets
Another reason to start on the floors during a kitchen remodel is that it is safer in the cabinets themselves. This is because you will avoid causing damage during the floor installation process during normal procedure such as scrapping and sanding. Any nicks and stains are contained since the floor has already been installed. In case you are worried about the floor, it is important to note that the likelihood of disturbing and ultimately causing damage to the hardwood is less during a cabinet install. This is mainly because most of the work will be done above the floor board. The finishing on the hardwood also acts as a protective layer when the work is being done.