Kitchen Flooring Under Cabinets??

44 Replies

I am doing a kitchen rehab, and plan on using a Luxury Vinyl Plank. This one!

Should I run this under the cabinets, or put it in after the cabinets are installed? I tend to think that this should NOT go under the cabinetry, but my builder feels otherwise.

I have these planks in my house, my contractor ran them up to the cabinets and added quarter round trim. Don't know if that's right, but it's worked for 4 years. We love the vinyl in our kitchen BTW, tough as nails and looks great.

If the cabinets are not yet installed (or even if they are), you will get a nicer end result if you lay the flooring first, then set the cabinets in-place.

The drawback is when you need to change the flooring, you will either need to lift the cabinets or cut/scribe the flooring where it goes under the kicker.

A compromise that we have done in a couple of places to avoid placing quarter-round along the cabinets is to lay the flooring up to the cabinet base and then put the kicker on the cabinets.

Updated over 4 years ago

I should point out that the compromise works well if your cabinets run wall to wall, but is not as effective if your cabinets have exposed ends.

I tend to agree with Roy.  Although I love the look you achieve going under the cabinets with the flooring, the reality is you will replace the floor long before the cabinets.  By going up to the cabinet base and then installing the kicker over the floor, you get the same net result.  It gives you a nice clean finish, and when you get ready to replace the floor, it's easy enough to pull the kickers off to remove the flooring.

https://www.goldenarowanaflooring.com/reclaimed-wa...

Has anyone used this from Costco?  It looks really nice and is the clic-lock instead of the sticky strip.  They have it at $1.85 sf I've seen it at one Costco in Honolulu and in Northern CA.  I can't find it on their website so worried that it will come and go. 

i do have the sticky strip Allure and started each strip at the cabinet and the opposite wall has base molding to cover the expansion.  I didn't need quarter round.  

Originally posted by @Scott Weaner :

I am doing a kitchen rehab, and plan on using a Luxury Vinyl Plank. This one!

Should I run this under the cabinets, or put it in after the cabinets are installed? I tend to think that this should NOT go under the cabinetry, but my builder feels otherwise.

 I had a carpenter and a floor guy say the same thing on a recent renovation.  It didn't seem right to me, but I didn't know for certain that it was the wrong way to do it, so I allowed it.  I think they both said it simply because it makes their jobs easier.  I'm not sure I'd allow it again.  

If the flooring has a shorter life expectancy than the cabinets, then it doesn't go under them.  Hardwood or tile can go under the cabinets because they will outlast the cabinets in most cases.  Vinyl, wood laminate, other cheap crap, just run them up to the cabinets and put the kickplate on, like others have suggested.

My husband and I were just discussing this scenario this week, as we will be redoing a kitchen in one of our rentals next month.  I was looking up various websites about this question, and it seems like it depends on what type of flooring you're putting down.

We have opted to put the floor down first, then have the cabinets installed, because we are doing tile.  There's no reason that we'd expect to be replacing the flooring before the cabinets because tile is durable (no scratches/dents or other issues like with vinyl).  It's much easier to install the tile before the cabinets so we don't have to make a bunch of cuts around the cabinet bases, and we don't have to put quarter round down to hide the cut ends.

As others said, though, if you're putting down a floor that you're likely to replace before the cabinets, it might make sense to put it down after.  I like the idea mentioned above about laying the flooring up to the base, then putting the toe kick on over it.

One thing I was reading about was that if you're putting down a thick flooring (like solid wood), you need to account for that by shimming the cabinets up.  The flooring will go under the stove and dishwasher, so you need the heights to match up properly so everything still fits together right.  If you don't shim, the top of your stove will be too high, and the dishwasher may not fit inside the opening.

Originally posted by @Kimberly T. :

One thing I was reading about was that if you're putting down a thick flooring (like solid wood), you need to account for that by shimming the cabinets up.  The flooring will go under the stove and dishwasher, so you need the heights to match up properly so everything still fits together right.  If you don't shim, the top of your stove will be too high, and the dishwasher may not fit inside the opening.

 Thank-you for raising that point ( ;-) ).  I didn't include it when I responded above as I thought it was obvious, but after reading your post I realised that shimming the cabinets (if they do not have adjustable feet) is probably not at all obvious to someone who has not installed floors and cabinets before.

Another approach we will do in older houses where floors may belly as they move away from {load bearing} walls is to put a ledger/cleat along the wall and sit/hang the back of the cabinets on this lip.

I like Dana Whicker approach. Use durable quality flooring - tile in the kitchen. And tile the whole floor before cabinets go in. If you go the other way to save on $$ you will find it very difficult to change out a dishwasher after it's been sandwiched in between the flooring and countertop.
Is the floor floating or glued down ? If it's floating and you put flooring down first and use a granite countertop you may get board cupping under the floor. I work for a company that builds several hundred town homes and condos a year and we put cabinets in first every time.

The floor that I will be doing is floating. I am going to request that it not be put under the cabinetry. As an aside, our own kitchen has a failing tile floor, and I am happy that it is not under the cabinets. We will need to replace it soon. It was put down very badly, with the floor guy no where to be found. :-(

Noooooo.  At that price I would recommend upgrading to at least an engineered flooring. Shop it online or get a contractor with an account. Floor and decor is like best buy, use it to browse then shop elsewhere.  

Look at real hardwood too - it can be done much cheaper if your not going exotic (exotic print is not exotic wood). Sure it won't be acacia and will be thinner planks but it's real and can be sealed properly for a kitchen - also sanded and refinished many many times (look at some century old homes where refinishing the original wood still occurs and is a selling point). Water is water and floating laminate planks have seams and cannot be refinished. Also, shopping planks is not the only way to go. Many contractors will lay bare wood, stain then coat to you choice. And it can be done at amazing pricing. Just have to live in a hotel for a couple days while it fumes out. If its not occupied then it's a no brainer - save some $$$.  My two cents. 

If a rental, I would also suggest ceramic at that price point (tile failing seems More like a DIY from past occupants). Renters never care if a puddle forms or wiping after opening the dishwasher mid cycle. 

If you dig on the internet there are some good deals to be found. But if you want better known chains that offer fair prices (just remember shipping counts):

Www.builddirect.com

Www.build.com

Www.lumberliquidators.com

Good luck.   

If you are going to lay hardwood then I recommend to do the flooring first. Primarily because hardwoods will more than likely out last your cabinets. If you are going to use a laminate then install the cabinets first. Here's the main reason: laminate needs room to expand and contract during weather changes and if the cabinets are on top of the flooring then the flooring will have no way to expand or contract because of the weight of the cabinets. This will cause your flooring to buckle. Secondly there's no need to spend money on additional flooring that no one will ever see. Hope this helps.

Depends if your trying to save 100-150 dollars in material. Make it easier on the installer so he doesn't have to make any unnecessary cuts which will save time and possible error. This is coming from a DIY guy.

There's no wrong way.

If the cabinets go in first, they need to be shimmed up by the thickness of the finish floor. 

We frequently run cabinets first in order to compress our critical path and get to countertop fabrication faster than if we waited on the floors, then did the cabinets, then did the countertops.

Originally posted by @Scott Weaner :

... As an aside, our own kitchen has a failing tile floor, and I am happy that it is not under the cabinets. We will need to replace it soon. It was put down very badly, with the floor guy no where to be found. :-(

What type of tile did your kitchen have?  I will guess vinyl ;)

When others here on BP say to tile, they are usually implying ceramic tile which is more durable than vinyl. I prefer through-body color porcelain tile; when ceramic tile gets chipped, the color under the glaze usually doesn't match the surface glaze - my preferred porcelain tile type will have color beneath the glaze that matches the glaze pretty well. 

@Steve Babiak we have porcelain tile, which is failing because of a very poor installation. We noticed loose tiles, and when they were pulled up they had no thin-set attached to them! Will be an almost $8,000 job to replace, so we are holding off as long as possible.

i run ceramiic/porcelain tiles under the cabinets mainly due to the height difference for the dishwasher. i run vinyl up to the cabinets because if there is a leak, the vinyl will trap water and rot the wood.

if you dont have it under the cabinet you will get water in the basement and it will tell you there is a leak. if i was to put vinyl under the cabinets, i'd do a few long cuts with a saw to allow water to leak out if there was ever a leak.

Hi Scott,

I'm in the custom kitchen cabinetry business.

We always instruct our clients to install flooring in the entire room, even under where the cabinetry will be installed. Here's a couple reasons why:

- Appliances will need flooring under them. (Dishwasher, Stove and Fridge). Example, The stove will need to be same finished height as the countertop but it wont be if the stove has flooring under it and the cabinets don't. (36" is standard countertop height).

- You will get a way nicer finish if the cabinets sit directly on the flooring. If you try to do the flooring after, you will probably need to trim the entire kitchen with a shoe moulding, quarter round, or some kind of trim to cover the seam between the flooring and the cabinets. You don't want to have a gap in there and get water into it.  

- Your cabinet installer will have an easier time scribing the finished ends and toe kick of the cabinetry exactly to your finished floor. This will have a way nicer look then the quarter room trim or shoe moulding.

- If you ever have to replace the kitchen, you will be so glad that you laid flooring under the entire kitchen as it makes it easier to replace and you wont be limited to a new design.

- It makes the flooring install way easier. I don't know if you've ever tried to lay flooring in a small room or tight spaces, but it really sucks lol.

I could go on with more reasons if you want.

Laying flooring under you kitchen cabinetry is just like laying flooring under where an area rug would go in your living room. Think of it that way :)

Hope this helps!

Kevin   

Originally posted by @Scott Weaner :

I am doing a kitchen rehab, and plan on using a Luxury Vinyl Plank. This one!

Should I run this under the cabinets, or put it in after the cabinets are installed? I tend to think that this should NOT go under the cabinetry, but my builder feels otherwise.

 I know this post is old, but searched the same question and read it.  Decided to do some research online as we're looking at Tranquility 4mm Vinyl Plank, and reading their installation guide, it says, " All floating floors require that cabinets or fixed objects be installed before installing the new planks. Do not install under kitchen cabinets."    

I have luxury vinyl tile in my kitchen. You can get stone looks or wood looks. It's a floating floor and does not go under the cabinets. Heavy appliances may cause it to warp. No glue. No nails. It's very easy to install, sort of like putting a puzzle together. I put it right over my old floor. I cut slots around the legs of the appliances and just slid it under each one. So far no problems. It's a very heavy product with treads on the bottom. Each piece is held in place as a result of the rubber tread and side pressure from every other piece. Make sure the seams are tight! You have to use double-sided tape under the perimeter pieces that don't abut the wall where there's a gap between the molding and the floor.

If something happens to one, you just pull it up and put down another, just as you would with carpet tile. It's completely waterproof. The product I bought is made in the UK, but you can get it in the States. I installed it in July. As vinyl goes, it's pricey, but it's easy and seriously fast to do the labor yourself--you don't need any tools other than a square and a box cutter--and in the future if something happens to a square, I can replace it easily with one of the extras that I stored.

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