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What comes first? flooring or painting

magetol's picture

I'm currently having my home built and overseeing the construction myself. I'm at the stage now where I need to do cabinets, flooring and painting. I'm being advised by a builder to first do the floors cabinets then paint the house. I would have thought that i should first paint, install the cabinets and then do the flooring. the house would have hardwood floors except for bathrooms and bedrooms. I could use some professional advice as to which way to proceed.


I know there's alot of (post #184071, reply #1 of 10)

I know there's alot of differences of opinion out there and good arguments either way, but my personal preference is paint first (think ladders, buckets, etc on newly finished and soft floors, which is bad), then floors, and then have ur painter touch up marks from the flooring guys. It works pretty well for me, although I know plenty of other GCs who do the reverse.

Yeah, arguments both ways. (post #184071, reply #2 of 10)

Yeah, arguments both ways. Generally paint, cabinets, floors, if the kitchen flooring is vinyl, wood, or carpet. For tile floors it's often better to tile first, then put in the cabinets.

If you paint first there is inevitably some touch-up that needs to be done, but it's easier to touch-up paint than hardwood floors or carpeting, and the painters don't have to work as hard to keep from splattering.

(On the other hand, if the wood flooring isn't pre-finished then sanding will raise considerable dust, not a great thing for freshly painted walls.)

An issue can arise if you will be placing painted base/shoe over the edge of the hardwood. Generally it can be pre-painted, but it will still require considerable touch-up after installation, meaning a return trip for the painter. But you don't need ladders et al to paint baseboard.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Ye always do the floor (post #184071, reply #3 of 10)

Ye always do the floor last

Esp teh slob painter that i am.

Floors before cab's esp if (post #184071, reply #9 of 10)

Floors before cab's esp if theres HWD in the kitchen ..

Welcome to BT... hope you can (post #184071, reply #4 of 10)

Welcome to BT... hope you can find your way back to this thread

We normally have the house primed after the sheet rock is hung. The painters I use spray, so if the floors, or cabinets were in it would mean a lot of needless protecting.

The painters may even want to finish coat the ceilings then, not a lot happens to them from here on out.

I prefer the floors to go in before the cabinets, tile included. Less possible damage to the cabinets, and much easier for the floor installers. I also like to have the floors sanded where ever toe kicks land, at door openings, and along walls. Saves on sanding later, makes the shoe go in flatter, and the door jambs set much nicer.

Sheet floorings go in after everything. Good luck.

The Village Woodworks, Inc

Chapel Hill, NC


We'll have a kid Or maybe we'll rent one He's got to be straight We don't want a bent one He'll drink his baby brew From a big brass cup Someday he may be president If things loosen up

I have always found that (post #184071, reply #5 of 10)

I have always found that nobody wants to be the "last man" since then you can't blame the damage on someone else.

I see it both ways - do you really want to clean the dust from the floor sanding off of the newly painted walls? Or do you want to clean up the spilled paint from your newly finished floor?

I would always paint last, since I figure it is easier to cover the floors properly.

Do you really want someone to swing a flooring mallet near a newly painted wall?

Just my opinion.

magetol: I used to share a (post #184071, reply #6 of 10)


I used to share a house with a carpetlayer. He always wanted to be last man in, right before the furniture. Had plenty of spilled paint carpet repairs.


Here's the optimum way I used (post #184071, reply #7 of 10)

Here's the optimum way I used to use on new homes I painted. I'd prime everything before the floor guys and tile setters and also get all the ceilings done with their finish coats. If the house had natural or stained trim, I'd just roll one pass around all the windows, cabinets, doors and base just enough to have the finish color behind and a bit above where the trim ended. I wouldn't do the whole wall. That would make it easy to cut in the walls once the carpenter finished trimming out and the cabinets and counters were in. I would always stain and varnish the trim in the basement or throughout the house if there was room to lay it out without other trades messing it up. You have to vaccuum the house up nice to keep the trim clean as you seal it.

Often I wouldn't even have to cut in the base just mask up about a quarter inch or so above the trim and dry roll down to the tape--I use a tape and paper masker. If the trim is going to be painted it's a waste to do this because the trim will have to be caulked anyway and the finish coat applied and run onto the wall a bit, then the walls are finished.

I always wanted to be the last guy in the house because everyone smacks the walls and I hated patching a finished wall and trying to make it look right without doing the entire wall again! I even wanted the carpet guys to be out since they sometimes mark up the walls especially in tight quarters. And in the old days they used to run the carpet up the wall a bit as they cut it to fit and that carpet backing was like 40 grit sandpaper.

The dust from even the best floor sanders still leaves a residue on painted walls that is real obvious if someone brushes against it or the sun shines down the I wanted to be the last one out the door before the walk-through.

It all depends on what kind (post #184071, reply #8 of 10)

It all depends on what kind of flooring you are going to install and the quality of the subcontractors working for you.

Are the cabinets going to be painted?

Is it field finished wood floors?

If you are installing pre-finished wood floors, they go in LAST!

If you are field finishing your wood floors, you can install them before or after cabinets, and you can paint before or after.

Need more information to provide the best answer


Either way will work well, (post #184071, reply #10 of 10)

Either way will work well, but your painting costs will be higher if they have to mask off everything and protect the floors.

Even on the nicest homes the walls are almost always sprayed right after the drywall is up and textured.

Having said that, if you desire to have a high gloss finish on your trim and you're anal about the final trim finish than I'd spray the walls with one coat of paint right after sheetrock, then when everything is done except for carpet, I'd mask everything and spray the trim/doors. Then the trim is masked and walls sprayed the final color, followed by masking and painting of the ceiling. Electrical trim out is last, as is carpet installation.

Hardwood floors that have to be sanded/finished in place should be done before trim is installed if the trim guys are careful. If they are not, then the floor should be sanded and a temp finish applied that will later be sanded off and the final finish applied after the painting and trim is done. If the hardwood floor guys aren't careful this is a mistake since they can dent and scratch a lot of work.

You are at a disadvantage since you don't know what kind of work your subs will do in the various situations like an established contractor will so you probably want to lean towards the more idiot proof senario.

I do everything from hardwood floors to trim to paint so I have the flexibility to treat each room separately, but most times I will do as much paint as possible after everything is installed....still clients want to see some color on the walls right away in case they want to change something a bit so right after sheetrock is done it's sprayed and resprayed later.

If I could edit my location it would say I'm now in Reno :-)