Carpentry and flooring both require backbreaking work so having to re-do it for whatever reason is such a painful experience. This is why the debate on which one to finish first is such a hot topic for contractors.
Do the flooring first
If you want your flooring to look absolutely perfect, then starting your home renovation with that might be a good idea. This way, the cuts for other essential work that is in close connection to the floor is easily perfected as well. Carpentry work such as door jambs heavily rely on the floor height. If the flooring isn’t finished by the time this type of carpentry is being done, then some values will mostly like be left to guesswork. Having the flooring done before certain types of carpentry minimizes the margin of error for carpenters who no longer have to leave space for their work because they can work flush with the flooring. There will no longer be unsightly jambs hovering a few inches above the flooring or even a need for quarter rounds or shoe molding.
Photo credit: Jotterwood
However there, are problems that might arise if flooring is completed before carpentry. Perhaps the most used argument against it is that potential damage might be permanent if accidents happen during the next steps in the renovation. Carpentry, for example, requires a lot of sharp and heavy materials that might fall to the floor. In that case wood or tile floors will be damaged beyond repair.
Finish carpentry first
Flooring should be last to prevent potential damage. This is important to consider because there are flooring finishes that are incredibly costly such as vinyl tiles, hardwood, and marble. No matter how good of a protection your carpenters apply on flooring, the chances of dropping heavy carpentry equipment on finished flooring is something that cannot be totally avoided. Finishing the floors last would help avoid potential damage to your precious floor. Another risk of having the floor done before carpentry is the possibility of accidents during painting. On carpet flooring or parquet floors, damages from these accidents are terribly cumbersome to repair.
Photo Credit: In2space
In the end it all boils down to preference. If you’ve already invested in luxury flooring, it can go both ways. If you can live with unsightly door jambs, shoe moldings, and quarter rounds, then maybe you wouldn’t mind getting the carpentry in first before you lay your precious flooring. However, if you value perfection, then having the flooring done first is the way to go.