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What do you do first?!?!

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Apr 08, 2013, 09:25 AM
What do you do first?!?!
Ok so I have read a few topics in here that have the same question as I do but I am still a little confused. We are finishing our new house by ourselves no contractor or anything so we just want to make sure we are doing it right... We have put up all the sheetrock and are finishing up painting all the walls, but now we have the cabinets and countertops scheduled to be delivered the first week in May. My question is do we put our Hardwood flooring down first or wait until the cabinets are in?? We were originally told to wait until the cabinets are in but now I am wondering if we should do them first?!?!? They are going to be the nail down kind not a floating floor. Hope you can help!! Thanks
Apr 08, 2013, 09:39 AM
If you are doing finish in place hardwoods I would definitely put them in before the cabinets but save the final finish until after the cabinets.

Pre-finished floors could go either way. I'd want to have the hardwoods under the cabinets for a couple of reasons, one to get the cabinets to the right height relative to the finished floor and two to allow you to slide appliances in and out easily (stove, dishwasher). If you put them in before the cabinets get some heavy craft paper or even some appliance boxes and cover the floors and tape it with painters tape or something that won't harm the finish to protect the floors during the final stages of building.

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Apr 08, 2013, 12:56 PM
you need the floors down to put the base cabinets over, so things like dishwashers will fit their space. this is not that hard, despite some folks trying to make it so.

install the floors. come back the next day, admire them in the morning light, all perfect and glowing and wondrous in their $3000-ness.

then take a roll or two of red rosin paper and some painters tape, and cover them all up, every inch. this is light scuff protection and keeps you from grinding sand into the floors when bringing in the cabinets.

paint the walls.

install the cabinets. don't worry about the rosin paper under the cabinets, call it waterproofing. leave it in place, it won't hurt and it might help you.

get some crudboard masonite 1/8 inch, and place that over the floors, tape together. this will cushion the floors when the appliances come in. they can gouge, hard, when installation is underway.

test-fit the appliances, tape the front and sides off. roll them out of the way, lift that piece of masonite and take it outside, and cut out the masked area they will sit in. slide into position and install. I would remove this rosin paper under the appliances, as there is usually heat with the appliances that could cause issues with the paper.

that's how you get everything done without wrecking those floors.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Apr 08, 2013, 01:13 PM
Ok well we were told to do the floors after the cabinets because if you ever need to change them or anything it would be a pain in the butt...But hardwood floor should last a while so I don't think we will have to worry about it.
Apr 08, 2013, 02:42 PM
If you do the floors after, then you put down strips of wood where the cabinets go to lift the cabinets to the height of the new floor. Also, nailing down the floor after means you'll have to face nail the floor boards near the cabinets and then putty fill the holes. Getting under the toe kicks in a little bit of a challenge. And, personally speaking, I prefer that the cabinet toe kick skins come as separate pieces and then I install them after the floor is in.

I've done hardwood floors both ways, and I prefer to set them down before the cabinets. But all it takes is one stuck rock on someone's shoe to mark up the floor.

And Swschrads comment about Masonite hardboard is no joke when it comes to heavy appliances like the refrig. If you set the refrig down, then push it back into place, you may find you have "tracks" on the floor from the wheels of the frig. I cut Masonite to size, set it down where the refrig will be set off the dolly, then push the refrig into place. It will drop off the Masonite, so I can then pick it up and take it -- and not damage the floor. Same with pulling it out to hook up the water or anything like that.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
Apr 08, 2013, 05:47 PM
Originally posted by Thurlowboys3:
Ok well we were told to do the floors after the cabinets because if you ever need to change them or anything it would be a pain in the butt...But hardwood floor should last a while so I don't think we will have to worry about it.

I've heard that reasoning - it only comes from someone who knows nothing about remodeling. First off, you don't plan for the future remodel that may or may not happen sometime maybe in your lifetime - you do what works best now. Second, Odds are if you are going to remodel cabinetry in the future, you are going to re-do the floors too. Third, If you install your cabinets first and build up your new floor to them, then your potential 'future remodel' is locked into the exact same cabinet layout....what's the odds of that happening.

Do as everyone else has recommended, install the floor first, add some protective covering, then install your cabinets. Without cabinets in the way the flooring install will go faster and will look better. With the flooring in place you will have cabinets set at the correct height.

One other possible advantage to doing the floor first: if by chance you find that you had too much waste and are running low on flooring material, you can always not install full flooring under the cabinetry. Granted, in most cases most people will order enough, but shortages do happen. If you are running out of material, you can skip the flooring install under long sections of cabinetry. Jut make sure that your finished floor runs past the front toekick of the cabinets, that you include a scrap run along the back wall for cabinetry to sit level on and that you lay full flooring in areas that have the dishwasher, fridge and stove.

Apr 08, 2013, 06:29 PM
we surely have found out that having surplus flooring is a must. replacing the patio door, for instance, I had to add two rows of wood floor. we have had a cracked tile vertical on the tub surround from when Son #3 corrected a misalignment in the basement bathroom false ceiling with a BFH. that tile gets replaced this spring/summer, along with a fix to a non-level tile under the main floor toilet. we have the spare material.

in fact, if I end up with less than one box of any tile or wood floor, I am very upset and hyper, and run out to get more when the wife isn't looking, before it gets discontinued.

as it all has within a year or two.

the usual advice is buy 15% more square feet than you need for cuts and breakage and defects. again, I need to stash more than one box of material up in the garage shelving or I feel I am a failure. grew up all my life with people whining about not having spare flooring to fix something.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Apr 09, 2013, 06:57 AM
Thank you so much for all of the help!! I am so glad I asked this because we were just going to do them after the cabinets got here!! Now we still have time to get them down before the cabinets are delivered!! I don't know what I would have done if we had waited we probably would have screwed everything up!! I just hope we can get the cabinets, countertop and appliances in without ruining the floors!! Thanks again!!
Apr 09, 2013, 08:48 AM
This is the best stuff out there for protecting floors:

It's too thick to keep under the cabinets but it's also thick enough to protect if a corner is dropped on the floor.