Install Wood Floors Before or After Kitch Cabinets?

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As part of my kitchen remodeling, I am having an installer (not me!) put in hardwood flooring. Its the same boards that run in the hall and dining room.
To avoid dinging and scratching the floor, I had always thought of installing floor cabs and appliances BEFORE calling in the floor installer. In other words, have the floor be the LAST job. The appliances and cabs will sit on 3/4" plywood to get them up to final floor height. But I just realized that if I take this approach, the installer will have no way to nail under the recessed portion of the cab! No room to get the nailer underneath and nail that end of the board. This is probably not an issue for tile floor installation.
Is my logic correct? When installing wood flooring, what's the proper sequence?
--Jeff
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copy and pasted:
The hardwood flooring installation can proceed much faster when the cabinets are not in place. Aside from the normal doorways and wall offsets there is nothing to cut around. The flooring that is hidden under cabinets gives you or a future homeowner lots of options should they wish to change the cabinet layout.
Several things happen if you install flooring after the cabinets are in place. Built-in appliances can become trapped for life. These appliances come with leveling legs. When the legs are adjusted so that the appliance is at its minimum height, it may not slide out of its opening because it is blocked by the flooring. What happens if you need a new dishwasher or ice maker?
When cabinets are in place the flooring installer needs to exercise extreme caution while working. There is a great chance of scratching a cabinet or two. Some pieces of hardwood flooring that go under the cabinet toe kicks are impossible to nail and must be glued in place. The installation is slow and tedious
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Hey Jeff. I think it just makes thing easier if you did the floor first, then the cabinets.If you are worried about scratching the floor, you could always tape down protective plastic drop cloth or something else in the vicinity where the toe kick will be since this is the spot where you'll be making some adjustments with leveling and shimming.
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I'll be checking with the installer but I'm now thinking "floors first" is the proper sequence. I have friends who had their kitchen reno-ed and the workers scratched the living sh*t out of their new wood floors moving cabs and appliances around. I'll just have to use old carpet/mats/cardboard/whatever to protect the floor.
--Jeff
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Jeff B wrote:

I always install floors first. It allows the future rearrangement of the cabinets should the owners desire. In addition, it is much easier to install both the flooring and the cabinets.
If I am worried about damage, I put down a protective layer of cardboard. If the appliance installers scratch the living shit out of the floor, then the appliance installers pay to have the floor replaced or refinished.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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I would be worried also if someone else was doing the kitchen cabinet install, but since you are installing it yourself, at least you will go that extra mile to protect the floors.
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I'll be checking with the installer but I'm now thinking "floors first" is the proper sequence. I have friends who had their kitchen reno-ed and the workers scratched the living sh*t out of their new wood floors moving cabs and appliances around. I'll just have to use old carpet/mats/cardboard/whatever to protect the floor.
--Jeff
And if anything can go wrong, it will. Installers are not known for their delicacy. I'd rather just let the cabinet guys get out, then let the floor guy have it.
Steve
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The floor is not going to last forever. How are you going to get it out if cabinets are sitting on top of it? How you going to cut it? What if you want a different floor later? Running floor first is a dumb idea. It's only done and suggested by people who don't know how to properly trim flooring. The only time it makes a difference is down the road.
Steve
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On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 11:29:37 -0800, "SteveB"

Agreed, and lest anyone argue that a dishwasher will be difficult to pull out for repairs, the way to go there is to install the floor in that space underneath the dishwasher, taking care to buy a DW that will fit in the available space between the floor and the counter. That's what we plan to do since our kitchen space has almost no re-arrangement options, negating one of the arguments in favor of flooring the entire room. We figure we're more likely to need to replace the floor than rearrange the cabinets or gut the kitchen ($$!!).
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On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 11:29:37 -0800, "SteveB"

Exactly!! I've never seen flooring under cabinets.
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A properly maintained hardwood floor is likely to last as long or longer than the cabinets. In either case, they are more likely to get replaced for redecorating reasons rather than functional reasons.

A toe kick saw: http://www.craintools.com/pages/more_pages/795_more.html This is a standard part of a floor installer's kit.
-- Doug
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Hey, it's the OPs and everyone's personal project. They can do it floor first, or cabinets first. People have cited their positions re: both practices. So just do it how you want. I do.
Steve
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I just had my kitchen done and I had them put the hardwood down before the cabinets. This had advantages and disadvantages.
Advantage: The job went real quick, nothing to cut around. Didnt have to worry about where to la pieces of plywood for the cabinets to sit on
Disadvantage: Not so much appliance scratching, but countertop installation marred the floor. It was a granite counter top and the installers wheeled the counter top in on a little dolly that had teeny weenie wheels that left an indentation in the floor all the way from the front door to the counter. I was pissed.
Neutral: Installing the appliances was a non-event. All the appliances came in cardboard boxes and the delivery people cut the boxes up and used them as padding over the floor when delivering. Then when installing,, the cardboard pieces were used as sliders to slide the appliances into position. Worked out great.
Overall: I'd put the floor down first. Then keep an eye on the countertop guys and make them hand carry the counter top.
-dickm
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Thanks for the warning about the countertop installers. We're getting granite as well. Assuming I get the floors installed first, I'll put down some old carpeting I have plus plywood and they can roll the dolly on that if its too heavy to carry.
And for the others posters, I'm doing the cabs and appliance installation. Floors will be continuation of 3/4" hardwood already in DR/LR/hall. Its not laminate. Depending on final cost estimate, I may/may not put 3/4" plywood under cabs rather than installing hardwood in an area no one sees.
I'll just have to make sure there is enough protection on the floor when I push the stove and fridge into place. If it gets damaged, there is no one else to yell at except my wife and the dog. I can kick the dog but my wife kicks back alot harder!
--Jeff
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I have done it both ways and prefer floor before cabs. In the event of future remodelling, you will be glad you did. You won't likely change the flooring before your next remodel, but if you did, you can go over wood with just about anything. Or it would be no huge deal to sawzall around the cabinets and leave the flooring under it if you had to. As for wood or not in the kitchen, that is purely personal choice. I can't imagine what these people are doing in their kitchens that causes so much wear. I take my shoes off in the house, personally, and an occasional spill is harmless. I just don't like walking on tile, and I don't like the artificial look of laminate (or the fact that it is cardboard). If you are using natural unfinished hardwood, you can put the last coat of finish off until the very end.
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Jeff B says...

The correct thing to do is to: install wood floors never.
Try something actually practical, like tile.
Banty (hates this wood-on-the-kitchen floor trend)
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wood floors in kitchens may look nice when brand new but over time it will get ugly.
tile is a much better choice
its worse if your using laminate wood floor, water will get between the pieces (seams) and make it delaminate
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On Thu, 27 Dec 2007 11:22:10 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

I've heard this argument before, and it's not wrong, but it's also a lot less compelling than you make it sound, based on my personal experience with an older Armstrong laminate that has lasted 11+ years in our kitchen by the back door, which is the main entrance to the house and which sees a lot of rain and snow. We're not seeing delamination, but we're seeing slight wear at the seams, hardly visible. Sure, the stuff doesn't last forever, but it holds up awful good for the price and convenience of installation. We'll be installing new laminate in the spring as tile is just too hard, cold, and slippery for our Great Lakes winter climate.
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well the older laminated wood floor may hold up better than the new cheaper stuff....
costs come down by cheaping out/
ceramic tile is available in all sorts of finishes from high gloss slippery, to very rough no shine
vinyl tile is better than wood laminate. have a friend with that at one year old you can see where the dog walks, claw marks in finish
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KLS wrote:

Well deserved caution is not derived from the stories of those who have not had problems.
My parents spent several hundred dollars and I put in a full weekend's work putting laminate into their kitchen (the kind that looks like tile rather than wood). In less than two weeks the icemaker line leaked and a large area was ruined. Now she has a nice new area rug to cover the damage on her brand new floor.
I would never put laminate in an area that will get wet. It's just too big of a gamble.
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