How to install flooring

Don’t let your remodeling budget go over-board by hidden surprises – understand what the average Cost to Install Vinyl Flooring is in your zip code by using our easy to use calculator. If you’re looking for 2022 breakdown Cost to Install Vinyl Flooring with materials, and how much a contractor might be, you’ve come to the right place.

As an experienced licensed home improvement contractor, I know first hand what it should cost for various levels — from Basic, Better, and of course the best. The Cost to Install Vinyl Flooring estimator will provide you with up to date pricing for your area. Simply enter your zip code and the square footage, next click update and you will see a breakdown on what it should Cost to Install Vinyl Flooring at your home.

*Note: 10’x10′ area is considered 100 square feet.

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Vinyl Flooring – Pricing and Installation Cost Checklist

  • Expect the Vinyl Flooring prices to fluctuate between various companies – each and every company have different operation expenses and over-head.
  • Try to get prices in late Fall, early winter – you should expect aggressive pricing discounts by waiting for a contractor’s down season.
  • Try to budget and additional 7-15% more on top of what our calculator gives out for Vinyl Flooring cost.
  • Visit every supply house that sell your particular brand of Vinyl Flooring products and try to negotiate a better price with each supplier – I save on average 20%.
  • Vinyl Flooring isn’t an easy task to perform and can leave you with a sore back. You might find it more cost effective to hire a Flooring Contractor, or a General Contractor to perform the work for you. Flooring contractors and General Contractors will most always get better prices on Vinyl Flooring products — saving your back any additional costs of Vinyl Flooring materials, so shop around, ask your neighbors if they can recommend someone.

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How to install flooring

Consider this familiar scenario: You are doing a full-scale, rip-down remodel of your kitchen where everything comes out and gets replaced, including walls, cabinets, flooring, and appliances. After the demo, it’s time to put in new flooring and cabinets. But which should be installed first—cabinets or flooring?

Typically Cabinets Come Before Flooring

In most cases, given standard flooring heights, you will install the cabinets before the floor covering. Floor covering, or finish flooring, is the surface that you see and walk on, not the subfloor (under the underlayment) or underlayment (between subfloor and finished layer).

The floor covering will be cut to size and almost butted up against the cabinets. A minimal gap should be left between the flooring and the cabinets. This gap will be covered by baseboard or shoe molding that is nailed to the bottom of the base cabinets.

There are a couple of advantages to why you may want to stick with the traditional choice of putting in kitchen base cabinets before the floor covering.

You'll Potentially Use Less Finish Flooring

Installing kitchen base cabinets before flooring can be a money-saving advantage. For example, most of the costly finished hardwood flooring is usually placed sight unseen underneath the cabinets. Why pay top dollar for imported hardwood that remains hidden? To keep the floor flush, consider installing a different, cheaper type of flooring underneath cabinets and appliances, or even plywood risers.

The Potential of Mismatched Flooring

One downside of installing risers or different flooring is that you add a complication if you wish to change the kitchen footprint in the future. Those materials would have to be changed out for flooring that matches the rest of the kitchen.

You'll Minimize the Height of Flooring

Sometimes it is not necessary to gut a kitchen and remove the existing cabinets and appliances because they are in acceptable condition. Yet the flooring still needs to be replaced.

Consider installing thin floorings, such as luxury vinyl, laminate, or tile, which are possible to lay right up to the cabinets. The ragged edge of the flooring is then covered over with quarter-round or base molding. Thicker types of flooring such as solid hardwood present a problem because your cabinet counter may not be the standard height of 34 inches to 36 inches. This issue can be mitigated in two ways:

  1. Use engineered wood flooring rather than solid hardwood. Engineered wood, a “sandwich” of wood veneer on top and high-grade plywood below, is slightly thinner than solid hardwood.
  2. Lay the finish flooring straight onto the subfloor with no additional underlayment. An underlayment adds another 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch to the total flooring thickness.

One important measurement to watch is the height of the underside of countertop to the finished floor. Appliances such as dishwashers, under-counter ovens, and some trash compactors require a rough opening in order to slide in and out if they should ever need replaced. Too thick a finished floor could result in having to raise the countertop or remove flooring for appliance replacement.

When To Install Flooring Before Cabinets

If due to design circumstances (for example an odd appliance height or construction anomaly) your total flooring height will need to be elevated and finished higher than normal—2 inches or more—consider installing flooring before putting in the kitchen cabinets and appliances. There’s a good reason to do this.

If you were to first install those base cabinets and appliances straight onto the subfloor and then the hardwood flooring around the cabinets and appliances, the height of the cabinets and appliances will be all wrong. For example, it will be difficult to achieve the correct countertop height of 34 inches to 36 inches if everything is out of alignment. One way to correct this would be to put plywood risers underneath the cabinets and appliances. But the floor covering itself can be the risers, as well.

How to install flooring

The Spruce / Margot Cavin


Dripping paint on kitchen flooring, such as textured or linen-look porcelain tile, can be disastrous because it’s difficult to remove. Though you can more easily remove a paint drip on pre-finished wood, it will be difficult if it lands in a seam or if the paint pigment stains the wood. The bottom line: paint before floor installation.

How to install flooring

Fully renovating your kitchen will update the space, add value to your home and appeal to potential buyers. It’s a big undertaking, so you want to follow all the right steps to ensure the final results match your original design vision. In the pursuit to create the ideal kitchen, you may be wondering whether to install floors or cabinets first during a kitchen renovation. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of either order.

Floors or Cabinets First?

Installing Flooring First

Many people like to put in floors first to avoid having to cut the material around cabinets and appliances. This is the main draw for those who start with floors. What’s more, some worry that by installing cabinets first, it will be harder to switch them out in the future, as you’ll be stuck with the same cabinet footprint you had before. However, if you’re remodeling the kitchen, you’re likely doing so in a style you won’t want to change later. Finally, putting flooring down beneath base cabinets offers a clean look and saves you from having to install quarter rounds with your cabinets.

Installing the floors under the cabinets, wastes flooring materials. You won’t see the flooring beneath your cabinets and appliances, so why pay for the material and installation? If you replace the flooring at a later date, you’d have to take out the cabinets as well. This makes for a costly renovation down the road for you or future homeowners.

Finally, the material you choose may also affect the order of your installation. Wood floors expand and contract with changing temperature and moisture, and it needs room for this process. Installing floors beneath your cabinets could cause wood to buckle when it tries to expand. This will damage your new floor. For this reason, some experts recommend installing wood floors after you finish your cabinets. Also, floating floors can’t be installed under cabinets because the cabinets will be too heavy and restrict the floor from expanding and contracting. This could cause the floor to come apart.

How to install flooring

Cabinets First

Starting with cabinets allows you to avoid many of the issues you’d face with doing things the other way around. You won’t waste time and money on flooring you won’t see. You’re less likely to damage your new floors by starting with cabinets – if you have your new floors down and add cabinets, you run the risk of scratching or denting them during installation.

By starting with cabinets, you essentially create a footprint you’ll have to stick to during future renovations. Additionally, you’ll have to cut your flooring to fit around the base cabinets, which makes installation more expensive and time-consuming. Built-in appliances will be trapped in place as long as you have this flooring. You’re basically cornering them with your flooring material, making switching built-ins much harder. Of course, you can purchase appliances that aren’t built in to solve this issue.

As you can see, there are pros and cons in choosing to install floors or cabinets first, though there are more risks if you install floors at the start. For this reason, carefully consider the materials you chose, what appliances you have and your future renovation plans when making a decision. If you’re working with a contractor, ask which method he or she typically uses.

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