Kevin Dean | Kitchen Designer | Dean Cabinetry
By Jenny Cazares

Should I install floating floors before or after my cabinets?

Most contractors will recommend that you install floating floors after your cabinets are installed.

Floating floors must be able to expand and contract, with changes in humidity, within the environment of your home. They are not able to do this with heavy cabinets on top of them.

If you need to install them first, I recommend following instructions from the professionals. 

Here are some easy steps to follow recommended by, This Old House to ensure you are set up properly before you secure your cabinets.

How are floating floors installed?

  1. First you will lay underlayment on the floor prior to installing the floating flooring.

What is underlayment?

Underlayment is a soft pad that is installed under laminate flooring that helps the laminate planks lay smoother, provides proper support, stability, noise reduction, and helps the click lock system to provide a structurally sound floor. The underlayment is taped into place.

Underlayment is recommended; although it’s not moisture-proof, you can lay it on top of plastic sheeting, for extra moisture barrier.

Some underlayments will have a higher vapor barrier, which are recommended over concrete. Choose the right underlayment for your project to reduce any chance of creating a mold issue. Learn more Best underlayment reviews.

2. Floating floors have a tongue and groove or milled edge that lock into place. It ensures your flooring fits together precisely and eliminates the need for gluing and nailing. They are measured, cut, and snapped together for a tight fit; use a rubber mallet to tap lightly into place.

3. When you have completed laying your floor, you can then secure your trim pieces for edges, baseboards and kick plates under cabinets.

how to install floating floor
Luxury Plank Flooring at Home Depot-Pinterest

What if I have radiant floor heating?

You can lay floating floors over radiant floor heating. In fact, floating floors are a great option over heated floors, and are easy to pull up if needed.

What is R-Value Underlayment?

R-Value underlayment means the heat conductivity of a given material.  The higher the R-value, the less heat will be able to move through it, while the lower the R-value, the less insulation the underlayment provides. 

Installing my floating floors first

If you choose to lay your floating floors first, that’s okay; purchase the right materials and follow the proper steps for installation, as a result, you shouldn’t have any issues with your new floors once your cabinets are installed.

What is the downside to laying my floating floors first?

You will spend more money on materials if you decide to install first, therefore if you’re on a tight budget, it may be more cost-effective to wait.

If you wait to install your floating floor after your cabinets have been installed, you’ll have to be extra careful not to scratch your new cabinets. I would recommend covering your cabinets during installation.

In closing

Floating floors are easy to install and pull up to replace; as a result, whether you change your mind or want to take them with you!

They are a beautiful option; depending on your lifestyle you will find the perfect product for your home!