Floors and Cabinets

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by interpim posted 02-23-2012 04:32 PM 2338 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3426 days

02-23-2012 04:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have a question, that probably should go on the home refurbers site, but it gets no traffic, so I figured I could ask here… hey, cabinets are wood :)

So, my question is this. My wife and I are planning on buying a house, but there are going to be some upgrades required. We will want to replace the flooring in the house with an engineered hardwood floor, and we will want to replace the cabinets in the kitchen. The problem is I can’t afford to do both at the same time. If I have to do one, and hold off on the other for maybe a year, what are some of the considerations I should take into account to make sure I’m not screwing anything up down the line.

I’m pretty sure my wife is going to want the floors done first, because that will be a whole house upgrade, but I don’t want to run the flooring up to the cabinets, only to ruin it in a year to install the cabinets.

And, in the off chance I can afford both at the same time, what is the ideal way to go?

I’ve seen cabinets installed before, and I have installed regular tongue and groove hardwood floors before, so I mostly understand the concepts, I just haven’t done both and had to consider spacing for appliances between the countertop and floor.


-- San Diego, CA

23 replies so far

View Zboom's profile


72 posts in 2323 days

#1 posted 02-23-2012 06:28 PM

See if you can take the Toe kicks off the cabs and run a full width piece under that way when you remove the bases you will have the exposed tongue later on. Are you glueing or floating the engineered?

-- Michael,

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3426 days

#2 posted 02-23-2012 07:20 PM

I will most likely end up floating it. Everything will be done on a slab most likely considering that 95% of the houses in So.Cal. are built that way. We haven’t picked a house yet, but we are considering price + remodel at the houses we are looking at. I am trying to go in with as much knowledge as possible to see any problems before we actually buy.

-- San Diego, CA

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2446 days

#3 posted 02-24-2012 07:59 AM

no mater what you do the floors need to be ran under the cabinets to do it right see mike holmes on hgtv this is the right way to do it but the reason is simple the dish washer wont fit if you don’t do it this way and no one wants a kitchen with out a nice dishwasher most medium priced homes in California no such thing where you live every thing in San Diego is 500 k and up has linoleum floors and they got away with the cabinets being on the concrete but it you use a wood or laminate it is over a 1/4 inch thick and you wont get the dish washer in place

My recommendation is do the room all at once if you cant afford it right away save until you can because its better to do it all at once I used to flip houses and we have done it this way for many years now the market sucks and there is no one able to pay top dollar they all want finished for a song the other option is to ask for the upgrade in the deal that way you pay for the remodel over 30 or 40 years instead of all at once

-- Please check out my new stores and

View jeff's profile


1079 posts in 3433 days

#4 posted 02-24-2012 10:31 AM

its nice to upgrade just one thing but i think you should wait and save more $$$ and have everything done at experience is when we had are bathrooms re-done i mentioned to my wife about piecing it together over time and she said no way,we saved more $$$ and had it all completed at once.she was is a great time to buy a house with prices at all time lows.good luck.Jeff

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View mrg's profile


819 posts in 2967 days

#5 posted 02-24-2012 01:15 PM

If you are doing the work yourself you can remove the lower cabinets and lay the floor and put them back. You have to be careful not to break anything.

-- mrg

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3426 days

#6 posted 02-24-2012 04:40 PM

thanks for the input… i didn’t think of moving the base cabinets while installing the floor… The only problem I could foresee there would be the countertop. But I may be able to convince my wife to wait a year before we do anything, so we can do it all at once.

-- San Diego, CA

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2965 days

#7 posted 02-24-2012 05:05 PM

If youare using floating floor it is not a good idea to put base cabinets on top of the floating floor material. People do it all the time and FLIP the house (Not their PROBLEM after it is sold ! LIPSTICK and MASSCARRA !) I have an elderly lady that is dealing with this, hers is bulging in the middle and seperating BECAUSE the installer did not make an allowance for the floor to float. The rest of the floor will float and in front of the cabinets it will not be able to, where do you think the problems will show up first ? You are leaving a gap on all the other outside walls for movement ! One way to do the cabinets first is to make the toe kick 3/8” higher than normal, to allow for future dishwasher. OR better yet, SAVE the money and do it all at once.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View dhazelton's profile


2756 posts in 2265 days

#8 posted 02-24-2012 05:39 PM

I would say do all the floors first, before you move in EXCEPT the kitchen. Otherwise you will be working around all your furniture. I would buy enough of the material to include the kitchen and just stop short of that room (you can just put some cardboard and a heavy throw rug down over the transition, or put in a threshold if it doesn’t bother you). When you have the money in a year for the cabinets do the floor in the kitchen then. That way if you decide to change the layout of the cabinets you won’t have to do any patchwork with the floor.

View DS's profile


2895 posts in 2388 days

#9 posted 02-24-2012 05:45 PM

I’ve been in the cabinet business for many, many years and have done many thousands of kitchens… IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO PUT THE FLOORING UNDER THE CABINETS.

I have a lot of respect for Mike Holmes and everyone on here. The reason he might say to run flooring under the cabinets is that most production cabinets have a set toe height that doesn’t regard the flooring thickness.

ANY good custom cabinet will have a toe height set to compensate for the flooring thickness so it can be installed on the rough floor. The dishwasher space then has the flooring run into it and there is no height issue there. There is no need to put expensive flooring into a hidden space!

If you use a production cabinet, add a spacer below the toekick to set the bottom of the toe kick to the top of the finished floor. This will set your counter top height based on the finished floor height.

As far as what to do first, IMHO, it is always easier to install cabinets first then flooring. (This from a cabinet guy, of course)

Honestly, though, I hope you are considering what installing cabinets intails. A cabinet remodel USUALLY touches on nearly every trade in construction.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4186 days

#10 posted 02-24-2012 05:58 PM

I second everything DS251 said.

Changing out cabinets is a big job, and involves a lot more work and money than flooring. The cost of the flooring is relatively small in comparison to a cabinet replacement job, so to me it just makes a lot more sense to do it all at once.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4186 days

#11 posted 02-24-2012 06:06 PM

Another thing I forgot to mention: If you do the floors first, it will be extremely easy to mess them up in the course of replacing the cabinets later.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2745 days

#12 posted 02-24-2012 06:11 PM

In my kitchen, I removed the base cabinets – dry side first and the wet side later, did the floor. I did it in stages. DS251 is correct, you do not have to put flooring under the cabinets – but – if you are replacing the cabinets whith new ones, it makes your life a whole lot easier if you decide to change the configuration.

After I put in the flooring, I placed the old cabinets on the floor – or you could use a flat door on cinder blocks for a temp counter for that matter. The idea is to keep things operating during the phases. When I had the top cabinets done on the dry side, I removed the lower cabinets, then the top cabinets (more room), installed the top cabinets then put back the old lower cabinets until they were done. My shop is small so I made the larger pieces separately.

If you are not good with the electric and plumbing, do that part last, get the rest to your liking first. I did the floor up to the wet side and when the other cabinets were done, I did this. It gives you practice in the staging process and helps you to realize that what you are seeing may not be what you have. This gave me someplace to put everything from the wet side. For me, the electric and plumbing are a non-issue, even new runs and vents. If you do not know these things, seek a licensed bonded contractor.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2446 days

#13 posted 02-25-2012 04:33 AM

the reason i said to run the floor under the cabinet is because of the dishwasher clearance. i watched a guy put porcelain tile in his kitchen and boy was he pissed when his new dishwasher wouldn’t fit. if your going to make the cabinets your self this is a non issue as the others have stated however your a career sailor so i don’t think you can afford custom cabinetry unless they are finally paying the millitary what they are worth. for a big ne home in San Diego the only city in the state where the real estate market was unhurt buy the depression we are in. the price of custom cabinets is very high a recent survey of cabinet shops in the golden state says there are currently less than 25 percent of custom shops open that were open 6 years ago this is bad news because the few that survive can get what they want for their work because of a lack of competition. of coarse your a woodworker so you could easily if you have the skill set to do it make your own custom cabinets but if you cont odds are you will buy from cabinets to go and thus the floor issue has to be resolved i just dont want you to make an expensive error that is tough to get out of please be careful and plan ahead I like the rest of the guys here want what its best for you thanks for your service good luck oh and Mike Holmes says i am right and that is good enough for me i trust him more than any one else because he does it right

-- Please check out my new stores and

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3426 days

#14 posted 02-25-2012 04:47 AM

thanks again for all of the insight. I’m really just thinking about things right now… When it comes down to it, we may get a place with decent cabs already… It may be the best option in the long run, considering the cost being spread out over the life of the loan.

I really wish I could get a VA loan to include renovation costs as well… then it wouldn’t be an issue LOL

-- San Diego, CA

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2446 days

#15 posted 02-25-2012 05:32 AM

are you from California if so a cal vet loan will let you renovate

-- Please check out my new stores and

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics