when to install floor, backsplash and countertop??

calypsochickJuly 17, 2010

Hi, everyone! Can anyone tell me the best and most painless order of installing the floor tile, backsplash and countertop? What should be before/after the cabinet installation?


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Hi, we are in the process of installing an Ikea kitchen. We installed Hardibacker over the subfloor in the entire kitchen. Then we installed the cabinets. Then we installed the porcelain floor tile up to the legs on the cabinets and under the dishwasher and refrigerator. The countertops came next and the glass mosaic backsplash after that. In the Ikea system the toekick clips to the cabinet legs and sits down on top of the finished floor. You could also install the entire finish floor first, but we saved money by not using the tile under the cabinets and island.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our kitchen journey

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 6:02PM
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Cabinets, then countertop, then backsplash.

Putting flooring into the mix, people do the sequence in a variety of ways. I don't think it's unusual to wait till after the counters are installed and then have the same tile person do the floor and the backsplash, if you are doing tile floors and a tile backsplash. Many people here live in the new kitchen for several months before settling on their backsplash choices.

We did our wood flooring install after the cabinets, while the countertops were being templated. Countertop and undermount sink were both installed by the countertop fabricator in one day, and the next day the plumber came and connected the dishwasher and hooked up faucet, and connected them all to water.

We also ran our backsplash up to the ceiling behind the stove... which in our case meant installing the backsplash first, then the hood, and then the stove. (It is possible to do stove first, and then hood, but my parents had the bad luck to have the installers drop their new hood on their new cooktop, which damaged both, and set the whole process back by a few weeks.)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Thanks for the advice!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:58AM
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It also depends in part on who is doing the installing. You gotta use some guys when you can get the guys. If you're doing floor yourself, think about the delay times and plan your calendar for the times when finish or grout needs to dry and set--will the floor finishing need to fall on weekends so fabricators can enter on weekdays? How many days are necessary for drying/curing layover? And what will you do about the trekking of workers over a new floor?

Backsplash can be done much later, even years later. But...if you're not getting a built-in short backsplash with countertop, plan to live with a bad looking seam at wall if wall and counter do not meet gracefully. And what will you do about spills when there's an opening along wall?

One piece of advice from sadder but wiser me...we roughed in a niche in wallboard which has proved to be in wrong position, by less than an inch, when stove and hood were installed. (We're into mismeasurement here at our place. AARGH!) We're trying to figure out what to do next. But if we had done tiling first, it would be harder and more expensive to fix things.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 12:41PM
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We did tile floor, then cabinets, then countertop...still waiting to put in a backsplash.

If you put the flooring in first, then it goes under the cabinets, making it easier to change things later. While the product cost might be somewhat higher (the cost of the materials under the cabinets), installation will be less b/c there are far less cuts, etc. Additionally, everything is at the same level for installation...cabinets & appliances.

Whatever you do, be sure the flooring materials are even & level across the entire room. If you do not put your flooring material under the cabinets, then at least put plywood under the cabinets & appliances to bring them up to your planned finished floor height. This is to (1) ensure appliances will fit, (2) make it easier to install/remove appliances (no having to raise/lower them to get them in/out), and (3) avoid the "surprise" when your toekicks end up being shorter than normal as well as lowering your counter height. (If you want a lower counter height then plan for it, don't "end up" with it b/c of an "oops!")

I also suggest you run the finished floor under your appliance alcoves a least a few inches so there's no raw plywood visible when looking from across the room. This includes refrigerators, DWs, ranges, etc. ...anything that sits directly on the floor.

Oh, and don't install the final quarter round or furniture molding until your floor has been installed...this way the molding will hide any uneven/rough edges.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 2:09PM
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