Robert Lamoureux | Taking a look at underneath the cabinets

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux
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Question No. 1  

Hi Robert,  

I need your help, please. You had an article on kitchen cabinet installation, and my husband and I are at odds on this topic. Perhaps you can help. We have linoleum below our kitchen cabinets, and we are discussing whether the new tile goes in first then the new cabinets, or the cabinets first then the new tile up to them. Can you clear up this debate? Which is the proper way to go?  

— Barbara A. 

Answer No. 1  


Generally speaking, the cabinets should be installed first then the flooring up to them, so that any future flooring changes could be done without removal of the cabinets. Linoleum below cabinets usually will not affect the height of new flooring so leaving it in place should be acceptable without affecting wood or tile.  

If you put a wood or tile below cabinets then in the future decided to change your flooring for whatever reason, you’d in most cases be forced to remove all lower cabinets in order to accommodate the new flooring. The only time this would be different is if you have kitchen cabinets that are pedestal style (the kind up on legs vs. flush to the ground), where you’d see the flooring below. If you choose these, you absolutely will need to install your flooring first and then the cabinets.  

I hope this helps clear up this debate, let me know if you have further questions. Good luck. 

— Robert 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]. 

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