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Can I Install Cabinets on Carpet?

February 21st, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments
There would be extensive work required to remove this cabinet if the carpet ever gets flooded.

There would be extensive work required to remove this cabinet if the carpet was flooded and underneath the wall unit.

Our title of discussion may seem like an odd question, but it is a valid one. You can in certain situations, but I recommenced that you do not install your cabinets on top of carpet when you are making a permanent and lasting change to your living room, office or den area. Before installing, you should remove carpet around the base section of your of cabinetry, if you feel it necessary after reading this article. This suggestion should only apply to permanently installed units. Sometimes office cabinetry, book cases, home theaters, or wall units are designed to be fixed or attached to the walls and oftentimes even secured to the floor. It is in these types of situations that you should consider making an alteration to your existing flooring.

Deciding to cut the carpet out is going to be a judgment call on your part. If your installing something that will be easy to remove, you may opt to not cut and remove your flooring. If you’re installing a very large set of cabinets, then seriously consider cutting around the base and taking the foam, tack strip and carpet out.

Installing Cabinets On Carpet Is Not Recommended Because:

Below are the two main reasons that installing cabinets on top of carpet is not a good idea. Ultimately, you will have to decide whether these are important enough reasons to make a permanent alteration to your flooring. If your installing one cabinet that is not very large you may consider leaving the flooring in place.

Two reasons for carpet removal when installing cabinets

  • If there is a significant flood in the house, due to a water pipe breaking or some other unforeseen issue, the carpet is going to absorb massive amounts of water. Any carpet that is left in place, when the cabinets are installed, will absorb water underneath the cabinetry in the event of a flood. The wall unit, desk, or built-in fixtures will have to be removed in order for the carpet to dry out. If the carpet is cut out prior to the installation, this will never become an issue because there will be nothing but concrete underneath of the units.
  • The second reason is very important as well. There really is no way to accurately install cabinetry level when they are sitting on the carpet. Eventually, after they are installed something is going to settle downward and cause things to not be level. Besides this, you will also be contending with the tack strip that is next to the walls underneath holding the carpet into place. These strips of wood, generally about one quarter of an inch thick, always create problems when you are trying to install furniture or fixtures into a level position.

Tip: You must use a new blade in your razor knife when making the cut and it must be a perfect cut as well. If you do not take enough off, the carpet is going to want to bulge. If you remove too much or make a crooked cut, it’s going to look bad. Do not get in a hurry during this process.

I hope this has helped answer the question, “should I remove (or, “cut out”) carpet before installing cabinets?” For many years, I worked for a fire and flood damage restoration company. I’ll never forget when one of the supervisors recommended that I always cut the carpet out when permanently installing large sections of cabinets. He then proceeded to tell me of the many cabinets that he had removed, throughout the years because they were installed on top of carpet when the house flooded. I also learned, through trial and error, about how difficult it is to set custom made furniture units level when they are installed on top of fabric flooring, foam and tack strips.

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