Flow Chart for Re-doing a Kitchen

Let me start a new topic spun off from the counter-depth refrigerators.

My kitchen is pretty much the way it was when the house was built about fifty years ago. (We have replaced the oven, the dishwasher, and the refrigerator over the years.) So the cabinets, the counters, the electric stove top, the walls, and the floor are all well past their “best if used by” date.

But I don’t really want to re-do the whole kitchen at once now. So my question is whether I can do this in stages.

The most critical thing (from our point of view) is the flooring–we now have linoleum (or something like it) in the 6’x6’ floor space kitchen area, and carpeting in the 6’x10’ dining area (which includes the passageway between the rooms on either side). We want to have both parts using the same flooring (a continuous surface). What we want is probably laminate, because we want something we can slide chairs on relatively easily and without damaging it, as well as being easy to clean.

So my first question is: can we have the flooring done without changing the cabinets? (I.e., will they install an appropriate “skirt” to the cabinets?)

And if we can, will I have to empty the refrigerator? Will they move large pieces of furniture (e.g., the table)? (We’re willing pay extra; it’s just at our age, moving furniture is not really on.)

I realize to a lot of people here, all this probably sounds like really elementary questions, but I figure this is the best place to ask.

(If anyone has recommendations–or warnings–for central NJ, I would appreciate them.)

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I’m pretty sure we started with floors ( tile), and I think granite countertops, a new sink and fixtures, paint, and removing popcorn ceiling and recessed flourescent lights around the same time.

I think large appliances came later, and some have already been replaced, and we STILL haven’t done the cabinets.

Husband assures me that you are not really redoing your kitchen until you do the cabinets . :smirk:

We have had the cabinets “refreshed” at least once, maybe twice.

I think the refrigerator may have been moved around, as the installed the tile.

Our dining area steps down from the kitchen and the floor there was done years later.

Yes you can redo the flooring first. However you should be sure that you are not going to be making any changes to the “footprint” of your kitchen anytime in the future. If you think you might want to change the footprint, then you might want to buy and extra box or two of whatever flooring you are going to use. (assuming pattern won’t be a problem) Hold onto the extra box to fill any spaces that might be created when you change the floor-plan.

I would strongly caution against a laminate. Those can be very sensitive to high moisture area’s, all it will take is one dishwasher leak or sink leak etc. and the floor could be ruined. There is a reason why ceramic tile is the most common flooring used. (if you have linoleum that was laid down in sheets it was only porous around the edges, though over time the edges could start to curl up.)

Without seeing the existing flooring the skirt question is difficult to answer. If you have an existing skirt down there it would really be dependent on what you have vs. what you want. If you have the rubber / commercial that was common with linoleum they can replace it as minimal additional cost(s). If you have a wooden skirt then they will generally butt the new floor up to the molding and install some quarter round to hide the gap. This is really a question for the seller / installer.

They will usually want the room clear of anything / everything so they can just remove the old floor and install the new. I’m sure if you are willing to pay extra they will provide the moving for you.

Current skirt is rubber/commercial, and yes, the linoleum is curling. Ceramic tile is unforgiving is you drop something, susceptible to grout problems, and not as easy to slide chairs over. (When you have mobility issues, sliding your chair under the table becomes more difficult. And the mobility issues also mean more drops and spills so cleanability is important.) But the issue with moisture was something I didn’t realize–thanks!

I can clear everything out of the area except the table. I’m hoping they can do the kitchen half, move the table to it, then do the dining area.

Check out Engineered Vinyl Plank (EVP) or Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP). They are much softer than tile but extremely durable and water resistant, and the patterns have gotten so good lately that many are completely indistinguishable from wood.

As for doing the kitchen in stages, you absolutely can, but it may not be the most cost-effective or efficient way of doing it. As NotJr noted, you need to be careful to buy extra flooring if you do that first but intend to change the layout later. If you ever plan to redo the cabinets and counters (and if they are 50+ years old, it sounds like you will have to), you can probably save money and a lot of headaches by just doing the whole thing in one go.

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Having had homeowner/builder syndrome for the duration of our 42 marriage I have lived in my share of renovations in different houses. Additions, as well. Just consider that you will be tearing things up once, for the floor, then an even bigger tear up to replace/reconfigure the cabinets. I agree with the comments to order extra flooring materials to use if you change the footprint. Our first house had ancient linoleum in the kitchen - so faded there was no pattern left. We tore it out, down to the old black adhesive and my husband rebuilt the cabinets. We lived with that black floor for almost 2 years!!

Put me down as a ‘mature cook ‘ in more than one way. I’m more concerned with function, practicality and bang for the buck than with aesthetics for their own sake.
I would install wood floors with several coats of polyurethane in the kitchen and the dining area. They can be restored and restrained. Plus, I think you’ll like the look. The likelihood of the dishwasher overflowing is small.
The fridge can be moved Into another room by a couple of strong guys with a dolly. Plug it in there. Same with the table.
If the cabinets are still in good shape, have them painted. If they aren’t in great shape, paint them anyway.
The floor installers can likely sand that butcher block counter and seal it with a walnut stain and a food grade sealant if looks dicey after the sanding.
I don’t know if I’d install a stone countertop over old cabinets. But, there’s granite and there’s granite. If you aren’t talking about a lot of countertop and not all that fussy about color, you might find an odd piece at a great price.
I had a fabulous, architect designed, large kitchen in my old house. Plenty of storage, a great work triangle, loads of counter space. It was great. My current kitchen is much smaller and very efficient. Instead of expensive rows of cabinets, I have a terrific walk in pantry.
Plan on how YOU cook and where you want things to be. For example, one kitchen consultant planned a sink and dishwasher in the island. No, I wanted the dishwasher near the cabinets into which I would put the dishes.
Yes, you can do it in stages. Price it out both ways - all at once or over time.
Tradespeople are in high demand now so keep that in mind.


This is what we have now - wood floors (oak). 31 years and going strong.

The wood to the left replaced different wood about four years ago. We have had the “Travertine” tiles to the right for maybe 13 years, with few if any issues. Dark grout. I don’t scoot chairs around; we don’t eat in the kitchen much.

The issues we have had was with the tile border abutting not the walls, but the wood cabinets. The tiles have detached from time to time.

Drug rep magnets from back in the day when they used to give us stuff!

So what you’re saying is your husband ran it like a union job?

Thinking about this a little more you do know they have some impressive looking linoleum these days. It sounds like you’ve been happy with the functionality of your floor over the years, you should look into it. They have faux wood that upon a glance you would never guess wasn’t a laminate.

Something to think about since it meets all your needs and is probably (I have no clue on price for linoleum) the most economical.

(Google image below)

Working at his full time engineering job and traveling, carpentry on holidays and weekends :o)


I think you’re getting good advise. @NotJrvedivici’s point about floor plan is critical. Think that through.

How central are you in NJ? My brother-in-law lives in Brick and does kitchen renovations. He is a little rough around the edges but his work is beautiful. I’ve had him do some things for my customers and it’s been first-rate.

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To chime in, I see no reason why you can’t do the floor first, except for the issue everyone has described which is the alignment along the edges if you end up completely redesigning your cabinets/islands and other pieces that sit on the floor. If you think the footprint of your cabinets and appliances are unlikely to change, then that would certainly be easier.

I’ve had to clear out as much as I could when I’ve done partial renovations or rework. Newer refrigerators have wheels on their legs, so that may be easier than it sounds. The reno workers who did my basement helped me with the fridge, but I don’t think that’s a given. The bigger consideration is where will you put it and can it be plugged in, since it sounds like you’d prefer not to empty it. Since they were only working on the finished half of the basement, they rolled it into the unfinished half and plugged it in there. That would not have been an option for my giant kitchen fridge.

I replaced the linoleum flooring in my old kitchen with tile, and now I wish I chose either laminate or vinyl wood planks if I had to redo. While the ceramic is durable, the darkened grout on the high traffic areas irritate my OCD! Because I have a small half bath that connects to this space, the tile probably works better with the half bath. Tile gets quite cold in the winter. While I’m used to wearing slippers, I walk mainly barefoot around the house and stepping on the cold tile in the winter will jolt you awake.

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I installed Adura - Max waterproof enhanced vinyl plank flooring made by Manningtom in my rental . I am also going to install it in my kitchen and throughout the house. Its bullet proof. The bathroom flooded and it held up without buckling. I t feels solid to walk on without that floating sensation of the early days of Pergo when you had to lay the foam sheet to the floor . I paid around 5 dollars a square foot . It snaps together very easily. Check it out. You can always fill in later if needed.


Wishing you luck on your kitchen improvements @eleeper! Great advice from others, but I’d like to add a couple thoughts. For countertops, Formica has some beautiful new products. If you want to go fancier, there’s granite and engineered quartz, or Corian, and others. I have Cambria, which is engineered quartz. Beautiful, but more difficult to clean than Formica, also much noisier!

I’ve got hardwood floors in almost the entire house; I find them easy to maintain, forgiving if something drops, and much easier on your feet if standing, than tile.

Finally, I think this is a great opportunity to think about what you do and don’t like in your kitchen. There are so many improvements that can make your life much easier. I’d start with the things that annoy you first, like having to kneel down and look for items in the back of your cabinets, or whatever is your bugaboo. Go to kitchen design centers at Lowe’s or Home Depot. You can get a lot of design advice for free. Set a budget, but pad it for wiggle room. Finally, if you change the footprint, I think a designer is worth their weight in gold. Ours did an amazing job for us, and I think of her every time I’m working in the kitchen. Also feel free to ask any questions you like - been through quite a few projects now, including 2 kitchens, 2 bathrooms, dining room, added square feet, and etc. in fact, construction ongoing presently.


We enthusiastically second the sentiment that piecemeal is not the preferred way to go with any remodeling, especially kitchens. Replacing an appliance or fixture is one thing; improving the heart of most homes is another. Better to accumulate ideas and budget than return to the well – so to speak – for supplies and especially reliable trade crafts who are the key to a finished job that made the tsuris worth it.

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Thanks to everyone. The reason I want to do the floors and not the cabinets is that I have no desire to empty all the cabinets. Neither of us are spring chickens and we have mobility issues. Not to mention there is no way I’m having my kitchen ripped out while we can’t eat out. (Everyone I know who had their kitchen redone had it take way longer than they were told.) In fact, even the floor will probably wait.

What I should do now is continue getting rid of stuff that is filling the cabinets. (I already got rid of a couple of dozen canning jars and and a couple of dozen coffee mugs.)


You got rid of canning jars and YOU DIDN’T ASK ME? You know those things are gold these days, right? grin

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Well, I got rid of the jars quite a while ago, and I gave them to someone nearby who’s been taking all my extras. (They’re actually Classico jars, but people use them for canning as well.) I use them for storage of things like sugar, grains, etc., but at one point I decided I really did not need to keep dozens of unused ones, and found someone locally who cans.

(I rarely throw anything out, although my surfeit of take-out containers may end up in the trash, because I doubt anyone has a shortage these days.)

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