Is it necessary to remove kitchen base cabinets to tile the floor?
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Is it necessary to remove kitchen base cabinets to tile the floor?

My husband and are are preparing to tile our kitchen floor (FINALLY!) and we’re not sure if we should remove the base cabinets or not. We have torn out all the old icky 2 layers of laminate tile off down to the subfloor. We just had our dishwasher overflow yesterday from a clogged drain line, so it made us rethink our kitchen remodel — should we or shouldn’t we remove the base cabinets to tile under them? I really don’t want my dishwasher to be trapped if I ever need to access the backside.

What is the proper way to do this? I really can’t find anybody or any videos to help me with my particular situation. Thanks!

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  1. says:

    My experience in trimming and installing cabinets in new residential construction, the cabinets are installed before the flooring. A couple things to think about: is the old flooring installed under these cabinets? Then if it is, would the height of the new floor match the height of the old floor? If so then you could do it either way depending how much work you want to do.

    If the old flooring is lower then you need to keep in mind that you will be lifting the cabinet and the counter top. That will change the height from the counter top to the bottom of the upper cabinet and in some areas of the country there are OSHA codes for this distance. That’s not to say you can’t do it because you can, by raising the upper cabinet although you run into a whole new set of issues which include painting the wall above the counter top.

    Needless to say it’s all about how much work you want to do.

  2. Sheila says:

    You don’t have to remove the base cabinets, just the baseboards, tiling under the cabinets could add 30-40 sq ft. to the material list and to labor.
    If you can’t adjust the leveling legs on the dishwasher to compensate for the tile
    you can remove them altogether, remove the two screws holding the access cover
    (toe kick cover) and unscrew the legs, after tiling slide the dishwasher into place and reconnect to the underside of the counter.

  3. chicagirl51 says:

    Remove the base shoe molding from the base of the cabinets. Take out the 2 screws securing the dishwasher to the underside of the countertop and push the dishwasher back towards the wall as far as it will go. Adjust the front legs down. Tile under the dishwasher as far as you can and after the grout and tiles are set pull and lift the dishwasher back in place and adjust the front legs and reattach the screws. Reattach base shoe molding.
    Most homes do not have tile under the cabinets and only about 6-8" under the dishwasher.

  4. West Side says:

    If you tile under the units you wont get them back under the countertop – I think some professional advice is needed.

  5. me says:

    You tile everything except under the cabinets…

    The dishwasher the refrigerator any movable object. You remove the rubber facing from the cabinet bases and replace with new. The bottom edge of the new rubber facing will overlap the tile. You can even line the cabinets internally with the rubber baseboard and the back wall of the dishwasher. This is sold in a roll and glued on.

    Sometimes called vinyl wall base… If it is preglued get glue anyway !!!

  6. jerald s says:

    The proper way would be to tile the whole floor so that way you don’t have to lift the dishwasher up to the floor..

  7. pissy_old_lady says:

    To install properly you would tile the whole floor.
    Any new build will have flooring under the cabinetry as the flooring is always installed before the cabinets. If you have a new build without proper flooring under your had a very poor contractor/builder who cheaped out on this..imagine what else he left.
    It is up to you as to how you do this. You wanted to know the proper way, and flooring underneath is the proper way. Is it necessary..not if you do not feel it is. Your call.

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