Replace Kitchen Tiles Without Removing Cabinets? (Possible)

Is it time to renovate your kitchen floor? It takes a lot of thought to decide whether or not to remove kitchen cabinets and how to do so in the most efficient way.

Stay with us as we look into the best way to maneuver around kitchen cabinets and floor renovations.

Here’s If You Can Change Kitchen Floor Tiles Without Removing Cabinets

Ideally, cabinets with legs or toe kicks have to be moved because the floor beneath them is visible. But for cabinets installed on top of the subfloor or the ones with skirting do not need to be removed for floor replacements to be carried out because the floor is invisible              

Does Kitchen Flooring Go Under Cabinets?

A new floor should always go under the cabinets. If the cabinets are going in before the floor then have the cabinets mounted on top of 3/4 or 1/2″ plywood depending on the thickness of the floor.

For one, the type of floor installed or installed plays a big role in the type of cabinets the kitchen will have and how they will be installed.

Floating floors, vinyl floors, and wooden floors need to expand and contract with ease to breathe and survive.

This means that cabinets (especially heavy ones) cannot be installed on top of them because they are not compatible and the floor might end up buckling up.

Tiles, however, are strong and stable.

In this case, and if the budget allows, one has the option to tile beneath the tiles.

Can You Tile A Kitchen Floor Without Removing Cabinets?

Yes! Kitchen cabinets like the cabinets installed below the washing units are mostly installed permanently on the subfloor and have nothing to do with the rest of the floor.

These cabinets, therefore, do not need to be moved. However, movable cabinets (cabinets with legs) can be moved to pave the way for kitchen remodels.

In any case, they can always be rearranged and reorganized to create more space or change the kitchen look.

So, how many types of kitchen cabinets are there?

This question will help you decide whether or not to remove the cabinets in preparation for floor remodels and if so, it will guide you on the best way to go about it.

1. Permanent Cabinets

In this case, permanent cabinets were installed directly on the subfloor before the flooring was done.

This method saves time and money but above all, they act as part of the kitchen but do not interfere with the rest of the kitchen floor.

This means that there will be no cutting of tiles around the edges of the cabinet when the old floor is being demolished as no tiles go under it.

2. Four-Legged Cabinets

Legged cabinets can be part of the original kitchen plan or part of the antique.

These types of cabinets sit on top of the floor as the floor beneath it is always visible. It means that just like cleaning is carried out beneath it, tiling must be installed beneath it.

Most of these cabinets are not so heavy, meaning they can be installed on any type of flooring because they allow the floor to breathe without much interference.

Cabinets with toe kicks can fit into this category as the space beneath them has the room that allows ones’ feet to go under.

3. Cabinets With Skirting

 Skirting is the wooden base a cabinet is laced with to provide a solid rest, especially for heavy cabinets.

Just like in permanent cabinets, cabinets with skirting sit squarely on the floor, meaning the floor beneath it is not visible.

During renovations, one can choose to either move the cabinets or cut the tiles around the edges of the cabinets instead of moving them.

On the upside, it will save time and money in terms of material and labor, plus they will not tamper with the new wet floor if it needs to be moved around.

The downside is that more than one cabinet like this will cause labor charges to rise, as the contractor responsible will have more to do with trimming off the tiles skillfully around the edges.

How Do You Tile Under Kitchen Cabinets?

This goes for cabinets with legs or movable cabinets in general, which pre-exist before the flooring is installed or during a renovation.

So what do you do with the cabinets?

Move them around the room as you renovate or move them outside of the kitchen to minimize obstructions?

Important Factors To Consider:

  1. How big is the kitchen, and how long will it take to renovate the floor?
  2. Can the cabinets be moved without denting or damaging them?

If the cabinets can be moved, move them out of the way until the renovations are finished and the new floor is dry.

Tools and Materials Needed Are:

  • Trowel for spreading underlay and grout
  • Cement Underlay
  • Tile cutter
  • Tile spacers to spread tiles in straight and even spaces in between tiles
  • Grout

Step One

Before the old tiles are removed and new ones installed, the best bet is to remove all movable cabinets from the room.

Newly installed tiles require time to dry before the room becomes accessible to the household.

Step Two

Remove old tiles from wall to wall and clean the subfloor in preparations for renovations.

Step Three

Spread the underlay using a trowel and straight or wavy lines on it to ensure that air and moisture have space to settle in beneath the tiles.

Step Four

Lay the tiles using a tile spacer to ensure flawlessness in between the tiles.

Using the tile cutter, cut out any tiles where the need is to ensure that they fit what they are needed to.

Step Five

When every inch of the floor has been replaced with new tiles, spread grout on the spaces in between tiles, wipe any mess using a wet cloth, and allow the new floor to dry before moving and rearranging the cabinets.

Why Don’t You Put Flooring Under Kitchen Cabinets?

Homeowners and builders consider it a waste of time and resources. Because they are invisible areas. Also, wood floors expand and contract in response to changes in temperature and moisture, and they require space to do so. 

When you install floors beneath your cabinets, the wood may buckle as it tries to expand.

But considering that every decision has its ups and downs, evaluating them helps one arrive at a decision.


– Saves time and resources given that tiles and tiling are expensive.


  • The floor might be flawed.
  • The floor beneath the cabinets will not be protected in case of water leaks.

But the decision also depends on the type of flooring to be installed. Heavy cabinets will not allow breathing tiles to contract and expand.

Do You Tile The Floor Before Or After Installing kitchen Cabinets?

The floor always comes first before appliances do; this goes for legged cabinets, cabinets with skirting, and cabinets with toe kick underneath. 

But if you plan on installing permanent cabinets, then installing them on the subfloor before tiling is commenced is reasonable and ideal.

Final Thought

The parts of the kitchen floor that have cabinets sitting on them are not visible. So, is it necessary or even important to put time and money into glamming hidden spaces?

The answer is no. But the outcome of the floor might not be as fluid as the floor that is tiled wall to wall. It, therefore, depends on an individual. If they have time and money, then tiling under the cabinets is advisable, given that tiles last a long time and serve to protect the floor from water damage.