Should You Tile Under Cabinets? Find Out

Last Updated on May 29, 2022 by

Should You Tile Under Cabinets? Like many other homeowners today, you’re probably debating whether or not it’s worth it to put tiles under your cabinets. Regrettably, there isn’t a simple solution to this.

The choice to put tiles beneath your cabinets is based on various factors. Can the tile floor in your house and kitchen and the subfloor handle the weight of cabinets, including countertops? Plus, before you contemplate tiling beneath your cabinet, you should first examine the materials and your tastes.

Factors To Consider Before Tiling Under Your Cabinet


The cost of the tiles is sometimes used as a deciding factor in whether to tile wall-to-wall or only up to the units. They either conduct a quick calculation in their brains or pull out their phone and use the calculator. They inquire about the length of the cabinet run and multiply it by the worktop depth (typically 600mm). Multiply that by the cost per square meter of their selected tile, and you’ll see how much money you might save.

To begin with, many people overlook the fact that, although the worktop depth may be 600mm, the cabinets are 580mm deep (without the door) and the plinth (or kickboard) rests roughly 30mm back. The plinth is typically 20mm thick, and the tiles must be installed underneath it for a smooth finish and simple removal in the future. As a result, the tiles should be installed about 500mm from the wall rather than 600mm. As a result, the savings aren’t as significant as many people believe.

Second, the tiles should extend under all appliances, including the dishwasher, washing machine, and stand-alone refrigerators. This allows the appliances to be slid in and out effortlessly for installation and maintenance. The potential savings are much lower when you include all tiles (including cuts) for these places.


Another crucial element to consider is the cost of installing the floor tiles. A skilled tiler may easily be half the expense of tiling a kitchen floor, and if you’re thinking about tiling up the cabinets rather than wall-to-wall, you’ll need one. Because tiling up to cabinet legs and into appliance bays necessitates a great deal of delicate cutting, it takes time and forethought to avoid little slithers of cut tiles.

Tiling wall-to-wall, on the other hand, takes the tiler less time in the long run and might be the cheapest alternative if the tiler charges by the job rather than by the square meter.

When you include the cost of the tiles and the cost of labor, the difference between the two tiling alternatives is generally insignificant.


What happens if a dishwasher, washing machine, or kitchen sink leaks? When a kitchen has been tiled up to the cabinet legs (and beneath appliances), and a leak occurs, it is unlikely that you would detect the leak until it has caused major damage. Water will naturally flow towards the lowest point, and the ‘wells’ left under the units without tiles are ideal for it to pool and spread. 

If left uncontrolled, it may begin to seep up into the plaster on the walls, only to be discovered months later when a musky odor begins to overpower what should be the lovely aroma of cooking emanating from the kitchen.

In contrast, if the kitchen were tiled from floor to ceiling, the odds of noticing the leak originating from under the appliance would be much increased. The water does not have the opportunity to seep into the concrete floor instead of running over the tiles. The grout line changing color as it becomes wet near the appliance is often the first symptom of even a little leak.

Sturdy Foundation

To sustain the weight of cabinets, the kitchen floor must be structurally stable (including countertops and built-in appliances). Ensure the flooring material can handle the weight without cracking, distorting, or spreading apart to provide a stable floor.

If you have any doubts regarding the kitchen floor’s stability, see a structural expert. Structural engineers determine the kind of flooring under cabinets.

A Level Plane 

A level subfloor is required for a hard floor-like tile. The most common way to remedy a sag, heave, or slope in the subfloor is to level it and then lay flooring throughout the kitchen. Uneven tiles, ugly gaps between tiles and cupboards, and uneven counters may be avoided by leveling the floor.

Freestanding Cabinets vs. Kickboard Cabinets

What will your final project look like if you don’t have any flooring? When you install cabinets with a kickboard, the tile is hidden. On the other hand, the flooring is visible when freestanding cabinets are installed.

Should You Tile Behind Or Under Kitchen Wall Cabinets?

When working in kitchens, you’ll almost certainly have to start removing the old tiles. If you don’t have tiles, you’ll have to prepare the wall, which is less untidy but still an adventure in and of itself. Remove the cabinets and cover the counters with something soft before you begin working since as you rip away the old tiles, they will almost certainly fall on the surface and may cause damage.

Removing the cabinets makes it easy to shim without worrying about damaged tiles (and hence higher expenses), chipped cabinets, or even dropping the hammer on your countertop. After removing everything, start with the cabinets and then go on to the tiling. To prevent your cabinets from becoming filthy, we suggest covering them with a cloth or just keeping a moist towel available. It’s possible that removing dry mortar from cabinets may leave unsightly scars.

Take a step back after your cabinets are in place to determine where to begin tiling, where to stop, and where the centerpieces (if any) should go.

Can You Retile Without Removing Kitchen Cabinets?

This is dependent on whether the cabinet is directly fastened to the tiles or the wall. You can retile without removing kitchen cabinets if you tile around existing kitchen cabinets. However, if tiles are running under the cabinets, you will need to remove these as well.

However, if you want to replace kitchen tiles tiled around kitchen cabinets, you’ll need power equipment to cut the tiles, such as an oscillating saw or an angle grinder. The grinder is less expensive than an oscillating or rotary saw, yet it does the same job.

We utilized an angle grinder with a tile cutting blade and a marker when we completed the process. It wasn’t, however, our first project. Select a power tool with which you are more familiar. You must cut the tiles before placing them using an angle grinder, so keep that in mind.

Before you begin on the more costly tiles, cut a few spare tiles – possibly the ones you removed – to practice on. Cutting a straight line with an angle grinder requires some practice.

How to Tile Around Kitchen Cabinets Without Taking Them Out

Here’s a simple primer to help you grasp the ins and outs of tiling around existing kitchen cabinets if you don’t want to remove them.

You’ll need the following items:

  • Angle grinder
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Tiles
  • Mortar
  • Grout
  • Mallet
  • A tile cutting blade 
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Earplugs
  • Dust mask

To begin, you must first remove the current tiles. Make use of a hammer and chisel to do so. Once you’ve removed the corner(s) of the tiles, if they were correctly put, they should come out very easily. Depending on the quality and style you pick, tiles, cement, grout, and other materials should cost $1,000 and $3,000.

Steps To Install The Tiles

  • Install the tiles in the same manner as you would on a wall until you reach the ones closest to your cabinet. At this time, do not apply mortar.
  • Connect your tile cutting blade to your preferred power tool. Please put on your safety glasses, gloves, and earplugs (we listened to music via headphones). 
  • Place the tile on top of the wall and in the corners. Take the same measurements and draw a line on your tiles. If you have a tile marking pencil, that would be ideal; if not, a pointer or marker will do. When collecting measurements, make sure the tiles are flat against the wall. Allow no more than 14 inches – or at most half an inch – between your cabinets and tiles.
  • Begin cutting after all of the marks have been completed. Turn the saw on and go slowly. Don’t attempt to save money by cutting corners (literally). To satisfy the size criteria, cut one tile part and then grind it down.
  • Allow the power tool to do the job for you, but keep a firm grip on the handle to avoid kickbacks.
  • Install the new tile(s) and spacers between your tiles now.
  • Allow time for the tiles to settle. We suggest waiting at least 24 hours before grouting the tiles. Remove the spacers and begin grouting when they have been set. Don’t forget about the space between your cabinets and the tiles.
  • And that’s all there is to it! Eliminate the trash, dust the counters, and wipe down the cabinets. To ensure that the mortar does not leave any stains on your tiles after drying, wipe them off with a moist towel.

Conclusion on Should You Tile Under Cabinets?

In conclusion, there is no hard and fast rule about whether or not you should place flooring below your cabinets. In the end, it’s up to you. The best thing to do is sit down and make a list of advantages and disadvantages. Hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought while selecting!