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tile floor first or cabinets first?

Posted by itsallaboutthefood (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 25, 10 at 0:06

Is it best to install the tile floor first and then the cabinets or the cabinets first and then the floor? Or is this like the chicken and the egg question?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

Tile. Definitely.

That way if you ever need to move, rebuild or adjust a cabinet, you have floor there. It makes it easier for your floor level appliances. Etc.

Tile the whole floor after the drywalling and before just about everything else.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

We plan to do the tile first, thats what we did in our bathroom. But a friend of mine who built a house in the 90s did not tile under the cabinets. 2010 is here and she wants hardwood in the kitchen. She said she was so glad they didn't go under the cabinets as it made it so easy to take up the tile and put down hardwood. Cost and time are also considerations. As in spending money on tile that is under cabinets.

You can argue this one both ways but personally would always do the floor first.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

The labor to cut & trim tile around all of the cabinets can cost more than the tile savings.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

I've wondered about this, and have heard both ways. I have to keep my current cabinetry, but am considering tile floors. The kitchen is small and we will be changing out the countertops, so I wondered if it would be worth it to go ahead and remove the base cabinets until the floor gets done. It just seems if you would go to change the cabinets you'd probably destroy your tile job getting the cabinets out.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

Just talked to the DH...he is thinking that we will probably never replace these new cabinets (since we plan on living in this house for the next 30-40 years) but we might want to replace the floor, so he is thinking cabinets first. He thinks it is more likely we'll want to replace the floor later. We plan on installing it ourselves, so labor cost is not an issue.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

" But a friend of mine who built a house in the 90s did not tile under the cabinets. 2010 is here and she wants hardwood in the kitchen. She said she was so glad they didn't go under the cabinets as it made it so easy to take up the tile and put down hardwood."

Wait till she needs to remove the dishwasher.

I had another customer call with a locked in DW the other day.

With granite counters the only real solution was to put in a 'handicapped' height DW after adding plywood to raise the floor under the DW up.

The DW needs to be on at least plywood level with the finished floor surface.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

We pondered this question a lot because I wasn't sure I really liked the flooring I picked and thought replacing it a couple of years down the road was a real possibility. I was concerned about not having the floor under the cabs at the same height for all the reasons mentioned above. I didn't want to put plywood under the DW for fear of what would happen in the case of a leak. Still, the prospect of wanting to replace the tile down the road really concerned me.

Then, a friend told me about her experience retiling their entire family room, dining area, and kitchen. They had a crack develop in their foundation that resulted in many cracked tiles. Once the slab was repaired, they were ready to replace the cracked ones. Unfortunately, the old tile had been discontinued, so they couldn't find any to match. But, she explained how easy it was to score the tiles that went under the cabs and remove the exposed part. They installed the new ones butted up next to the original ones right at the toe kicks, and you can't tell at all. So, she now has the old tile under her cabs, but who cares? She saved enough of the new tiles so that if she ever wants to change the footprint of her kitchen, she'll have that option.

Now that I've lived with my floor for awhile, I know I won't be changing it any time soon. I'm glad I have it under my cabs.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

Sorry I wasn't clear.. my friend has plywood or whatever under the cabinets, just doesn't have the actual flooring.

That is a good point about the DW.

When we said we tiling under our bathroom vanity and that we planned to do it under our kitchen cabinets you should have seen the looks people gave us. We didn't care my DH would do it no other way.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

my friend has plywood or whatever under the cabinets, just doesn't have the actual flooring.

Exactly right. Either way is acceptable. But if the cabinets go in first, make sure they put them up on 3/4" plywood, in the exact footprint of the cabinets. That way, there's no trouble at all if you want to change the floor down the road (believe me-- the floor will almost ALWAYS get changed before the cabinets do), and there won't be any problem with appliances that are under the cabinets, whether that be the dishwasher, trash compactor, or even the fridge, and yes, I HAVE seen problems with getting the fridge back in place after changing the kitchen floor.

If this is a DIY project, then I'd probably go with tiling first, because then there's alot less cutting involved, and the job will come out a whole lot cleaner looking. But if a contractor's doing it, let THEM decide which way they want to go.


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RE: tile floor first or cabinets first?

We went over this with our cabinet people and they suggested putting in the cabinets first to avoid damaging the floor with the cabinet installation work. We installed plywood under the cabinets to raise them to match the height of the soon to be installed quarry tile floor.

The other reason we did the cabinets first is because we hadn't decided 100% on the tile and it will take 6 weeks to special order the handmade tiles we choose.


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