What comes first, flooring or cabinets?

williamsemNovember 24, 2012

I'm planning a kitchen renovation and plan to use gluedown cork flooring. I am not sure if it goes down first under the cabinets, or if the cabinets go in first and the flooring gets put around them. One person told me cork is too compressible to be under the cabinets and may allow too much flexing in the materials above. But one manufacturer says glue down tiles generally go under cabinets, but not floating planks as they are then pinched and won't expand/contract properly. The tiles I plan on using do not specify either way.

Anyone know the right order? Cork is not common in my area, so my GC doesn't have experience with it (though the company stresses it is easy to install and similar in difficulty to vinyl tiles).

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You can put plywood of the same height under the cabinets, or just do the flooring go under the cabinets. Either is acceptable, but doing the plywood bit is more labor and harder to cut any flooring around. It's just easier to go wall to wall and then put the cabinets on top. But either the flooring or the plywood needs to go under the cabinets. Otherwise you will have issues with appliance heights and clearances.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Thanks, GreenDesigns! So the glue down cork won't allow too much flex then? I would assume not, but I also know it compresses though not sure how much compared to other materials (obviously more than tile!).

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 4:00PM
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The compression, if it takes place, won't amount to much with typical cabinet and countertop weights. However, if you're going to do granite or any other extremely heavy material as your top, the compression would be greater. You 'might' experience a 16th of an inch or maybe a tenth of an inch at most.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 12:02AM
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Thanks, glennsfc! We are using granite, the only slab they had in the variety we loved was 3 cm. That doesn't sound like a big distance, I can't imagine if the granite can handle a 10 inch overhang that much flex would be an issue. With the weight of the granite I can't imagine being able to cause additional compression and therefore spring back with normal use.

If anyone has additional thoughts, please share. I will be so glad when this project is done, but demo is in May so plenty of time to drive myself crazy with every detail.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 12:06PM
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"I can't imagine if the granite can handle a 10 inch overhang that much flex would be an issue. "

10 inches is not bad by itself, until a 200+ pound person leans on the every edge (DWs are 24 inches wide and routinely spanned with 3 cm granite).

Granite does not have any flex to speak of.

Like most materials described as 'brittle' it simply cracks when overloaded.

Sometimes at less loading than you would think from naturally occurring weak spots in the stone itself.
Like at edge of an inclusion of another type of stone in the granite.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 2:05PM
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It all comes down to the psi rating (pounds per square inch). Heavy loads distributed among several points reduces the psi at any particular point. Also, the larger the footprint of the load point the more the psi is reduced. I don't think the cork will compress much at all when the load is distributed.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 2:22PM
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