Replacing kitchen floor

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Our 35 year old kitchen floor (sheet vinyl) needs to be replaced. We have decided to replace it with 12" square tiles. With other remodeling going on we have decided not to replace the kitchen cabinets now. That will be a later project.
The floor was installed before the cabinets were and therefore, goes under the cabinets. My question is should I leave the cabinets in place, along with the old floor, and put a new subfloor and tile over the existing floor? Or should I remove the base cabinets old floor and old subfloor, and put a new subfloor and tile from wall to wall and reinstall the cabinets?
Is there a web site that shows detailed steps?
Thanks, G.S.
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At the very least, take it down to whatever goes from wall to wall underneath the cabinets. At that point you can decide if sub floor reconstruction needs to be done. Redoing a floor just up to existing cabinets is leaving yourself open to a whole lot of future cursing, swearing, misery and burning of money.
That is of course unless you're planning on moving soon and don't care that you'd be passing all the future cursing, swearing, misery and burning of money onto someone else.
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Thew easiest way out of this quandary is to
1. Pull the base cabinets. 2. Pull the floor trim. Your tile will not have to be cut quite as precisely as it would require if the moldings were not pulled.
3. Peel off all the vinyl. don't want to lay tile over vinyl.
4. Inspect the subfloor to see if any parts need replacing. Now would be a good time to add squeak silencers (screws into the noisy joists).
5. If the subfloor is good stuff, lay 1/4 inch plywood over it and screw it in every 6 inches. Be sure the joints between the new sheets does not fall along the joints between the subfloor.
6. Get on with the tile. Wall to Wall. This way you will not have to fit your new kitchen cabinets to the old footprint
7. Replace the floor moldings and reinstall the old cabinets.
Been there, done that, loved the results.
P D Q

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Thew easiest way out of this quandary is to
1. Pull the base cabinets.
Perhaps easier said than done. If the cabinets are sight-built it becomes a demo project.
Dave in Houston
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Dave in Houston wrote:

Even if they're not site-built, some cabinetmakers use separate leveled bases under the boxes.
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If they cannot be moved and replaced without undue effort the "cabinetmaker" was not doing the job right.
It is not like the bases have to be structural - all that is needed is a screw or two into the studs at the back of the bases to hold them tight to the wall and the levelers can be amended if the levelness of the floor changes unduly.
P D Q
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PDQ wrote:

Are you kidding?
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Exactly. Almost w/o exception, the site-built cabinets I've run across are not individual boxes. Rather, they are frames and side panels attached to 1x6s on the rear wall which end up supporting the rear of the counter top. The kitchen drywall becomes the cabinet back. How do you raise those with major disassembly? Our answer was usually that we didn't. And, we've laid tile up to the toe-kicks on base cabinets and cannot remember a single time that the [new] dishwasher wouldn't go in. The refrigerator space got tile like the rest of the floor.
Dave in Houston
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Catch you both here.
The 1X6 (in my case 1X3) were fixed to the wall by 2 screws. All I had to do was back out the screws and lift the base cabinets out of the way. After the floor was laid to the walls the cabinets were returned to their original location and the screws reinstalled.
Only had to cut out enough of the base of the cabinets for the sink to allow the pipes to properly sit in place. This was the most I had to do to replace the cabinets. My cabinetmaker did a fine job of future consideration when building these cabinets.
P D Q
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PDQ wrote:

That's not what he was thinking of when he built them that way. While it worked out well for you, most flooring is not run under existing cabinetry. I installed tile, hardwood, and vinyl professionally for several years.
Nowadays, most mass-produced cabinets, regardless of the size of the shop that built them, are built like yours. It's done for shipping, installation, and parts-standardization on the shop floor reasons. Many installers might mount them a tad more elaborately than yours are, especially if the sub floor isn't that level or well-built.
In older, and some new high-end stuff, the newer it is, the higher-end it will be to see this... it's common to see extremely high quality cabinetry and built-ins that are either built in place right on site, or permanently assembled in place. The builders will go to great lengths to hide fasteners, too.
Some "average quality" stuff installed in very well settled (read "whacked", not-so level floors) antique homes is much easier to install on plywood toe-kick bases that are blocked and shimmed level before the boxes are set. Last summer, I did a small kitchen in a 1740's home that would have been a nightmare without separate bases. The same house had 3/4" t&g SOLID MO-HOG (probably Cuban) bathroom walls that a previous owner plastered over!
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"B A R R Y" wrote

Probably could stand the sight of all that beautiful wood! LOL
I have seen that sort of thing many times as well. It is like my wife screaming every time she sees Nahm painting a nice wood project.
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That flower in your garden must be a tree hugger of note. <G>
P D Q
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I've seen this before too. Dark rooms aren't currently fashionable, so folks paint the mahog walls to brighten things up. 99% of the public aren't woodworkers and only see dark walls, not rare mahogany.
scott
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Sounds to me that what you have just described is a perfect scenario for a "French Cleat" and a scribed kick-pad fronting some shims. Of course one must build the cabinets with a tad more depth than the back would require so that vagarities in the wall may be circumvented.
Given the nature of the populace today anybody who builds kitchen cabinetry for the ages is self-delusional.
P D Q

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" If the cabinets are sight-built it "
Even worse if built by a blind man
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Just went through a similar project and agree with most below, except I used 1/4 inch cement board as an underlayment over a marginal subfloor. Results are excellent.
PDQ wrote:

in every 6 inches. Be sure the joints between the new sheets does not fall along the joints between the subfloor.

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PDQ wrote:

Had a house with linoleum over concrete slab in the entry way. Tile guy did a rough sanding on the linoleum and tiled over it. I was skeptical, but never a problem in the ten years I lived in the house.
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Tile over concrete is not like tile over wood when it comes to movement.
In the former, if the adhesion is good, no problem. In the latter, it really does not matter, the tile will eventually wander. Maybe sooner than later.
P D Q
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Thank all of you for your replies.
It seems unanimous that to do the job properly I need to remove the base cabinets. That makes sense and that's what I'll do.
With that said I may combine the later project (new cabinets) with this project. Will there never be an end to this madness? :-(
G.S.
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On Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:15:09 -0600, Gordon Shumway

If you plan to do the cabinets in the next 3-5 years, do them now - and I'd think twice about using vinyl tile. How big is the kitchen? If one dimension is 12 feet or less (from cabinet base to wall) I'd go with ssolid sheet vinyl - and NO seams in the traffic area. Did my kitchen16 years ago (man how time flies) with edge glued only, full floating solid vinyl over fresh 3/8" underlay. Mine has one seam, but i can't find it even today.
I've never had luck with tile floors - particularly in kitchens and baths.
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