Should Cabinets Go On Top of Flooring?

In any home or kitchen renovation scenario, there tends to be a lot of planning and foresight needed to ensure everything goes over nicely. Knowing how to balance everything while also trying to remain practical and within budget as much as possible — such things that only come with experience.

One of the questions that tend to arise is whether or not the cabinets should go on top of the flooring. Does it matter? does it make any difference? Here is what many builders believe you should do:

Usually, cabinets come first.

Flooring is the area intended for you to work on. It is not the intended underlayer of such fixtures like cabinets. The cabinets usually come first and are made to accommodate the floor height. Anything else can lead to installation problems which could ruin very beautiful cabinets and flooring alike.

Installing the flooring first can also give your cabinets an unintended elevation which is not ideal for it being used as a countertop.

two tone kitchen


Having flooring that is cut-to-size is more cost-effective

Having flooring that is cut-to-size and butted up against the cabinets means you have to spend less for the actual flooring and floor finishing afterward. This is especially true for extremely expensive flooring like hardwood. Not having them go under the cabinets means you’re saving money and not wasting perfectly good floors on unseen parts of the house.


Instances that call for cabinets first

There are some instances when flooring might have to come before the cabinets. One such scenario is when the subflooring is not leveled out. If the cabinets were to be installed on such flooring first then you might be left with an uneven countertop. To avoid this, the flooring will come in first and sanded until level. This allows a nice and flat surface to stand on.


Bottom Line

It is ideal in most construction scenarios that the cabinets go in before the flooring. Though you can certainly install cabinets on top of the flooring, this is a waste of possibly expensive flooring or it can give your cabinets a weird elevation.

That being said, if the subflooring is uneven or the flooring already existed before you decided to install cabinets, then there’s nothing wrong with placing the cabinets on top.

In home improvement scenarios, certain problems are inevitable which call for adaptability. Simply because something should be done in a certain order does not mean that it can’t be done otherwise. Never shy away from experimentation so long as the overall build remains structurally sound and looking impeccable.