do you have to remove cabinets to replace kitchen flooring

Do You Have To Remove Cabinets To Replace Kitchen Flooring?

A kitchen remodel can seem strenuous and expensive, especially if you plan to overhaul your current kitchen. However, there may be a few shortcuts you can take to speed up the process without sacrificing your kitchen’s quality. For example, do you have to remove cabinets to replace kitchen flooring, or can you leave the cabinets in place?

As the top kitchen remodeling experts in Atlanta, the Southern Oak Home Renovation team knows the ins and outs of kitchen adjustments. Here’s what you need to know about replacing the kitchen floor with cabinets in the way.

Flooring Materials and How They Work

Flooring materials refer to the composition of your flooring, such as:

  • Tile
  • Cork
  • Vinyl
  • Laminate
  • Linoleum
  • Hardwood
  • Engineered Hardwood

Your remodeling flexibility partially depends on which flooring material you want to use during your kitchen redesign. Each material differs in its reactions to temperature changes, material thickness, and weight. Whether you’re using floating floors or sturdy floor sealing, you need to check how well the floor would work without removing the cabinets.

For example, you need sufficient subfloor strength to support heavier flooring, like stone tile or hardwood, which you can check with an expert. Also, be mindful of the material thickness and how to adjust the cabinets to fit them. Without checking, their height could cover some of the cabinet bases, causing floor leveling issues where the cabinets feel too low or the floor too high.

Floor customization sometimes depends on how they interact with the cabinet base and other room elements. For instance, if the flooring expands and contracts easily with temperature differences, leaving the cabinets in place tends to work better. Then, the cabinet base won’t expand and contract with the flooring and won’t crack or warp from the movement.

With that in mind, do you have to remove cabinets to replace kitchen flooring for certain flooring materials? Yes, you may need to remove the cabinets, but not for every type of flooring.

Remove the Cabinets: Yes or No?

With the materials above, which can you add to your kitchen without replacing the cabinets?


Many stone and ceramic tiles can withstand the weight of the cabinets. Although porcelain has a hardy reputation, its hardness can also make it brittle with impact on the wrong part of its surface.

Test how durable your chosen tile will be. Those that can handle more weight can take the weight of cabinet adjustments and changes. Otherwise, you can leave the cabinets in place and install the new, thin tile around them.


Cork flooring typically uses the floating floor method, in which the installer places interlocking floor tiles on top of the subfloor without glue or sealant. In almost all cases that use floating floors, you should not install cabinets on top of them. Therefore, you can install them without removing the cabinets.

Laminate and Linoleum

With both flooring options, be careful with their expansion and contraction with temperature changes, which can lead to flaking under heavy pressure. Thankfully, they come in sheet form, being quite thin compared to most other types of flooring. We recommend you don’t install them under cabinets, so you don’t need to remove the cabinets first.

Vinyl, Hardwood, and Engineered Hardwood

These three options also expand and contract with temperature changes. However, you can install them using the floating floor or floor sealing methods. The installation process depends on your preferences for the floor’s appearance.

With glue and sealant, these materials do not expand and contract nearly as much as they would as floating floors. So, if you plan on gluing them, you can remove the cabinets. Otherwise, you can use the floating floor method without removing the cabinets, though you may have some problems with the material thickness.

Of course, these answers may not apply to your specific situation. So, always double-check with a qualified flooring professional to change your kitchen layout or flooring. 

Installing the Best Kitchen Floor

Do you have to remove cabinets to replace kitchen flooring? No; so long as you choose the right flooring material, you might not need to.

At Southern Oak Home Renovation, we’re ready to provide advice. Our team offers the best kitchen floor options and services for homes in Atlanta, GA, and surrounding areas. With us, you can expect the best:

  • One-year service warranty
  • Top-quality customer service
  • Long-lasting, expert redesigns
  • Complete cabinet and flooring renovations

Call 404-919-0247 or visit our contact page to start with a free phone or Zoom consultation today!

Eric French

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