If you’re working on a major remodel or a renovation, then you’re going to run into a variety of opinions about the order things should be installed. This is why many people hire a general contractor to oversee the work. But if you’re DIYing or just want to keep an eye on the work being done on your property, then you’re going to have to figure out if you want to put floors in first or doors in first.
So do floors go in before doors? It depends… There is no hardline answer as both can be installed first. If you are installing timber or tile floors then generally floors first is best. For carpet and soft floor coverings then doors can go in first. One thing to keep in mind is door heights and allowing enough clearance between the bottom of the door and the floor.
In this article, we will go over what you need to know about putting floors in before doors as well as the opposite. There are some things you should know to help you make a better decision depending on your situation and needs.
Floor Type Matters
If you are installing hardwood, laminate or ceramic tile floors then its best to lay the flooring first. It will be much easier to install the flooring through a doorway without the door jamb installed. This will result in a much cleaner finish by removing complex cutouts around door jambs.
When installing carpet its actually best to have door jambs already installed. Carpet is attached to the floor using tack strip which is installed around the perimeter of the room including door jambs. Although it’s possible to install door jambs on top of the carpet it will make the removal and replacement of the carpet more difficult.
Putting Floors in Before Doors (Floors First)
Like we said, whether you go with doors first or floors first, there are going to be both advantages and disadvantages. The key to making the right decision is knowing which situation to do either option. Let’s go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of installing your floors first.
Advantages of Installing Floors Before Doors
- It is easier to install the floor. The flooring won’t need to be cut to fit the jamb, which can lead to a tighter fit and more aesthetic look.
- Fewer adjustments needed after the fact because doors can be cut and installed without needing to calculate door height clearance.
Disadvantages of Installing Floors Before Doors
- There may be small gaps between the door jamb and the floor that can be difficult to hide and clean. This is especially true when a non-professional is completing the job. Although this can be fixed with some gap filler.
- Possibility of damaging the floors whilst installing door jamb and hanging doors.
Putting Floors in After Doors (Doors First)
We know you’re probably thinking that you’d like to avoid the disadvantages that come along with installing floors first, but honestly, putting in doors first can require certain precautions as well.
Advantages of Putting the Doors in First
- You won’t damage your floor while installing your doors.
- If you’re dealing with an uneven floor in the threshold, you can install shims and make the door sit even. This is not possible when you install the floors first.
- You can paint the door before the floors go in and alleviate the need for a drop cloth.
- Leaving your floor for the very last install will mean that the contractors going in and out of your house will not scratch, stain, or ding up your new flooring.
- It is easier to install the door jamb.
- If installing carpet door jambs will be better installed beforehand to prevent damage and have a cleaner finish.
Disadvantages of Putting the Doors in First
- You might need to make adjustments to the door itself after the flooring goes in if something wasn’t done right or the flooring wasn’t taken into account (or changed last minute after the doors were put in).
- Installing the flooring through doorways is more difficult.
- You might need to unhang the doors and rehang them when installing the flooring.
Here are a couple more tips for when you are hanging doors first:
Tip 1: Door Frames Can Be Installed Before the Door is Hung
If you want to install your doors first, but still want to make it easier when the floors are going in, you can install the framing without hanging the door. Alternatively, you could hang the doors, and then take them off just during the floor installation.
Taking off the doors will help keep them out of your or your contractor’s way! Some floor installation professionals will do this on their own. Most will rehang the doors after the fact, but this depends on who you hire.
Tip 2: Make Sure the Trim Installer Has a Floor Sample
If you’re putting the doors in before the floors, you should make sure the person doing the trim has access to a sample of the floor you intend to use so that they can install the door jamb properly and help mitigate any issues that might arise.
Door Type Matters
If you install your door before your floors, you’re going to need to be able to make adjustments to the door after the fact if the door needs more clearance to open and close properly.
- Regular doors installed by a professional are completely customizable and can be adjusted before or after the flooring is installed because the jamb is installed as separate components.
- Pre-hung doors are harder to adjust because the jamb is pre-made. The finished product likely won’t look as nice, but installation is easier for a non-professional.
- Metal doors cannot be planed down like wooden doors if there isn’t enough clearance between the floor and the door.
- Exterior doors can be installed before floors to help with drafts.
Consider the Big Picture
Don’t forget to take the bigger picture of your renovation into account. The scale and needs of your project matter! Here are some things you are going to need to consider:
- Is the rest of your trim going in before the floors or after? Do you want to have to ask the trimmer to come out more than once? Will that cost you more? Is it worth it?
- On the other hand, if you have a lot of work going on in your property, and contractors in and out, you might need to wait on installing hardwood floors so that they don’t get damaged.
- If you’ve got tile going in, that might need to be done earlier in the project. Tile also won’t damage as easily as hardwood, so you don’t have to worry as much about it. Many contractors put tile in before they install doors.
- What do the professionals you’re working with suggest? Given that there is not a huge difference, it might not be worth fighting this particular battle.
- If you’re doing the work yourself, are you more comfortable with doors or floors? If you’re more comfortable installing doors, then make the floors easier by installing them first. If you’re more comfortable with floors, do the doors first so that they’re easier.
It seems that there is no wrong way to look at this problem, but we suggest putting doors in first in most situations and especially when you’re installing hardwoods to avoid damaging your new flooring! It would be a shame to shell out all that money and end up with a scratched floor. But take heart in knowing that either way, you can end up with a stellar finished product.