Should You Paint Before Or After Flooring? The Easy Guide

Posted on: March 28th, 2024

When it comes time to renovate a room in your home, you may wonder if you should paint before or after flooring. A lot of people assume that painting should be done first to prevent any paint spills or spatters from getting on your new flooring. However, experts agree that new flooring should always be installed before painting walls. If you live in the Sacramento area and are thinking about installing new flooring and/or painting your interior walls, give us a call at LNL Construction for a free quote. With over 3 decades of experience, we can help remove any guesswork for you.

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Why You Should Install Flooring First

Most people assume that painting your walls should take place before you install new flooring. But, as we stated above, the opposite is true, and we’ll explain why. 

Before laying new flooring in any room, several tasks must take place, and many of these tasks can potentially damage your walls, which could require repairs. 

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow before laying new flooring:

  • Old carpet and flooring will need to be removed, which can be very messy. The process can unearth large amounts of dirt, dust, and debris. If you are removing old flooring in a room with freshly painted walls, particles of dust and dirt can easily land in the paint which disturbs the finish. During the process of installing new flooring, damage often occurs to your walls. This can leave marks and blemishes on your newly painted walls which would require touch-up paint. This costs you both time and money and is one of the reasons why you should install new flooring before painting your walls.
  • Replacing or repainting your trim: To install many types of flooring, you will need to remove your trim. Once removed, your trim may need some repair or repainting. Once your trim has been reattached to the walls, the nail holes will need to be filled and touched up. Again, by choosing to do your flooring first, all of your painting can be done at one time. This makes less of a mess and is much more efficient than painting your walls first.
  • Some trim and baseboards will need to be installed slightly higher than the previous trim. If you have already repainted your walls at this stage, there may be areas that still bear the old paint. You would have to add another coat of paint to these areas to ensure the entire surface is covered with the new paint.
  • Preparing the walls before replacing flooring: If your walls need any preparatory work before being painted, like wallpaper removal, patching, or sanding, it is better to do all of this before you lay your flooring. This is particularly an important step if you plan to apply epoxy flooring.
  • Masking: Once your new floor has been installed, you can protect it with the use of drop cloths and painters. These two will protect your new floors and keep the mess to a minimum. 

Most professionals consider painting to be “finish work”, and therefore, we leave it until the end of the job. If you have the right precautions in place, laying your flooring before you paint poses no risk of damage.

Does The Type Of Flooring You Use Make A Difference?

Different types of flooring require different types of precautions. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that it is best to lay your flooring before painting.

Some types of flooring such as finished hardwood can be installed as-is. However, unfinished hardwood needs to be stained then sanded. Stain can easily get splashed on walls which would ruin a fresh paint job. Dust and wood shavings can also get into paint that isn’t completely dry, ruining the finish. If you plan to refinish hardwood floors, it is essential to complete the flooring installation before you paint because of the messiness of the sanding and buffing required.

If you are installing new tile flooring, you will be working with a trowel close to the walls which creates the risk of chipping the paint on the baseboards. Installation of laminate or wood flooring also requires using tools near your baseboards which also creates a risk of baseboard damage.

What If You Want To Install Epoxy Flooring?

Should you install epoxy flooring before painting? The answer is “yes”. Installing epoxy flooring is a multi-step with several curing times before coats. As with other types of flooring, you can use drop cloths to prevent paint spots on your new flooring. If you happen to get paint on new epoxy flooring, it wipes right up with little to no effort. Also, if you get epoxy on your walls, it will be covered up when you do your wall painting.

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What About Ceiling Work?

Should you install your new flooring before you refinish or repaint your ceiling? Unlike wall work, ceiling work should be completed after your flooring has been installed. There is very little risk of flooring installation damaging your ceiling work, but the tall ladders used to do ceiling work could scuff, scrape, or gouge your beautiful new floors. 

What About Cabinet Installation?

In general, it’s best to install flooring after old cabinets have been removed but before new cabinets have been installed. Installing floors first provides the cleanest look since it flows directly beneath the cabinets. It is also safer for your cabinets since it allows you to prevent possible stains or nicks that occur during the sanding or installation process of your flooring. 

Should You Paint Your Ceilings Before or After Installing Flooring: Conclusion

Most of the time, the proper order of things is obvious: wash before dry, socks before shoes, etc. However, when it comes to flooring installation, the process isn’t as clear. Remodeling projects are a lot of work, but end up being well worth the effort. Redoing your floors, ceilings, walls, and cabinets in the proper order will reduce stress, minimize the risk of damage, and produce beautiful results.

If you are in the process of home renovation and are looking to replace your current flooring and have your walls painted and would like to turn the job over to an expert, give us a call at LNL Construction for a free quote. With over 31 years of experience, our main goal is to provide top-quality work and also to build a level of trust with our customers like no other. From proposal to contract, everything is done with honesty, integrity, and common sense in mind. We service Sacramento and surrounding areas. 

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