What comes first flooring or cabinets? This is a common question regarding the planning of kitchen and bath projects. For several reasons you may be tempted to put your flooring down first, before you install your cabinets, but in most cases it's a good idea to do the cabinets first.
In truth it can be done either way, so we can take a look at some of the pros and cons of each scenario and let you decide, but if you can't choose, then just put in the cabinets first, you can't go wrong with that.
The pros of putting the flooring in first are easier installation of the floor, you don't have to cut around cabinets or finish up to them, so it makes for a quicker flooring install. You may even like the look a bit better with the flooring running directly under the cabinets.
Another reason you might do the flooring first is that you can get the flooring installed while you wait for the cabinets to show up. Cabinets usually take a bit longer to arrive, so if you are waiting on them, you could at least complete part of the project while you're waiting. These are really the only 2 advantages, I can think of for doing the flooring first.
There are only a few pros of putting the cabinets in first, but they are probably more important. The first and biggest advantage is that if you have a problem with the flooring you can repair it without doing any damage to the cabinets. If you are doing a floating wood floor this is even more critical. Moisture under a floating floor can cause a lot of damage and the only way to fix it is to remove and replace planks. Because the planks are locked together with an up and in motion it can be a pretty difficult repair, and even more so if cabinets are sitting on top of it.
The other advantage of putting the cabinets in first is that you will actually need a little less flooring, because you won't need to fill in the space underneath the cabinets. Another is that depending on the materials used, you may want to change the flooring once or twice before you replace the cabinets. Not always but sometimes.
The choice is up to you I've seen many an entertainment center sitting on top of the living room carpet, because the carpenter didn't feel like pulling the carpet back and having the carpet guy come and cut around it, but it kind of makes me cringe when I see it. The right order of things is to put the cabinets in first. That's how it's done when a new home is built and for good reasons.