Installing cabinets over a different subfloor

maggie530June 15, 2013

This may be better suited to the Flooring or Building a Home Forum but we have to make a quick decision and I know that the Kitchen forum crew is highly informed.

Dutch Haus Furniture of Sarasota (did Tinker's kitchen) is scheduled to install my cabinets in new construction in a couple of weeks. Long story short - our A/C wasn't able to be turned on so the wood floors have been sitting in an open, humid construction site. I live in Florida.

We have to decide whether to 1) install floors with a very short acclimation period, 2) delay cabinet installation, or 3) put something down so that the cabinets can be installed at the right height with the wood flooring to follow.

What would you guys do?


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You shouldn't install cabinets in an unconditioned space either. The install for them needs to wait until after the space dries out or the wood will swell and crack the paint over the joins. The AC needs to be on at least a month before the floors and cabinets are installed, and even then, that may not be enough to dry it out properly. There is a LOT of moisture in new construction that needs to be dried out before any finish work is done, including floors, cabinets, and trimwork. Your builder is putting your schedule way behind and needs to get the HVAC up and running pronto. And you will also probably need additional dehumidifiers if you want the home to be dry enough by the end of summer. You are entering the humid season where it's difficult to get a home dried out.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 8:19PM
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The one thing I wouldn't do is your (1) above, because that could be a very costly mistake. The worst scenario would be to install wood floor under your cabinets, then to have them warp requiring you to take them out after the cabinets are installed.

I went through this issue with wood floors vs. cabinets recently. You will have very strong proponents arguing both sides. I decided to lay floors down first, but then had the same problem with the wood not arriving on time to properly acclimate. I decided to switch to install the cabinets first. As long as your cabinet maker or GC is happy to install the cabinets over subfloor, there really shouldn't be any issue. They will probably prefer it.

If there is no cost or other issue with delaying cabinet installation, then you're fine either way. I'd say it's personal preference and don't get too caught up in trying to find the "right" answer around installing cabinets vs floors first.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 8:20PM
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I would wait to install the cabinets over the wood floor until each has acclimated. What would be the advantage of options one and three?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:52AM
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Hi LoPay, the advantage of 1 and 3 is primarily that I'm supposed to be out of my rental at the end of this month. However, I'm also extremely sensitive to the fact that this is a custom cabinet maker that can't just substitute another install for mine that day. This will really affect their schedule as well.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 9:00AM
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