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Should you put flooring down before a vanity unit? The correct order to renovate a bathroom in
DIY Advice

Should you put flooring down before a vanity unit? The correct order to renovate a bathroom in

Posted by Rebecca Doody in DIY Advice | 1 month ago 5 min read

Not sure whether to put your flooring down before your vanity unit during your bathroom renovation? We're here to help...


Your bathroom is definitely an area in the house that will need to be renovated once you’ve lived in the same place for about 10 years or so. This can be attributed to the water damage caused by playful children in a bathtub, messy pets who run around after a bath or a messy household member spilling water everywhere — these are all inevitabilities that come with day-to-day use. The spilt water soaks into the tiling and often leads to warping or swells on vinyl flooring. If this sounds like what you are experiencing then you should consider renovating your bathroom. The process can be complex, with a whole bunch of things to consider.

Mode Larsen white gloss floorstanding vanity unit and basin 800mm

The steps to follow

Renovations of your bathroom ought to follow a methodical process that has been tried and tested by many before you. This often means installing vinyl planks, followed by an overlay. Once that’s done, you’ll want to have floating floor coverings if any be placed, followed by the installation of your toilet and lastly, a vanity. When the renovation is being done, it is also good practice to completely remove the toilet and the vanity to allow for more work area. 

Depending on the scope of your renovation, you may or may not be removing the subfloor. If it is the latter, then you wouldn’t need to remove the vanity. It can be left in place, and you can opt to replace the flooring around it that has been damaged. You should however be cautioned that it may not look as seamless as if the vanity was removed to allow for retiling to occur. 

Preferences come into play

As a rule of thumb, most flooring contractors prefer to avoid scratching the floor since that’s their area of expertise; hence wanting you to have the cabinets go in first. On the contrary, the cabinet installers will want the vanity to be protected as far as possible from cutting and dust that accompanies laminate flooring or vinyl floor installation. So, they will want your flooring to go in first. Regardless of which method you choose, there will be a potential of your new items getting damaged, so pick your own poison here. 

A tip we can offer is to consider the type of tiles used for your bathroom floor prior to making your decision. If you opted for soft vinyl tiles or for wooden flooring, it may be a good idea to have the vanity and cabinets go in first since both these types of flooring are easy enough for any installer worth their salt to fit around the vanity. You can also consider getting a floor covering for your hardwood floating floor to protect it from getting scratched.

On the contrary, if you’ve opted for tiles that are quite thick, then this could be so high that the vanity counter becomes too low in comparison. In this case, it may be worth having the tiles go in first before you have the cabinet installed on top of the tiles so that the height is better for you.

The Bath Co. Camberley satin grey floorstanding vanity and ceramic basin 600mm

Tiling: Things to consider

If you are going for a complete overhaul of the bathroom, then you will want to have the whole flooring removed and replaced. Using a flat pry bar or hammer, pry off your existing particle board overlay. Don’t worry if it comes out in bits and pieces, just be careful not to injure yourself. Once you’ve taken out the nails and cleared off the debris, you’ll likely see the plywood subfloor. If this is in good condition, then there is no need to replace this. If not, repeat the steps taken when you removed the overlay. 

Once that’s done, you’ll want to use some sandpaper or belt sander to sand off any chips or uneven spots. Then, you’ll be able to get to laying out the new tiles you’ve chosen. 

This process often involves lots of abrasive dust being generated. If you have a good contractor, he’ll likely be able to get most of the dust out using a good and strong vacuum, or other means that he has. However, if you DIY your renovations, then you’ll have to keep in mind that abrasive dust means your vanity could be damaged if you put it in first. If this is of major concern to you, then your tiling should be done prior to the vanity being fitted. 

Vanity installation

The last step in your bathroom renovations should be to install the vanity, which can be placed atop the new floor. Use screws and drive them downwards as tight as you can to install the vanity to the wall. If the backsplash doesn’t fit on well, then you’ll need to purchase a new one or make a new one yourself out of hardwood, stone or some other similar material. If you are making one, be sure to use vinyl baseboards for the perimeter near the floor. Lastly, hook the plumbing up and your job is done!

One of the crucial factors, when you fit in the vanity, is to take note of the seam between the flooring and the vanity cabinets. While more often than not, this seam will be covered by a piece of overlay known as a trim piece, it is still better if this is as seamless as possible by having the vanity cabinet going in last after the tiling is done up. 

Orchard Eden white floorstanding vanity unit and ceramic basin 550mm


The good thing about having a contractor come in to do your renovations is that they often consider future-proofing, something which amateurs won’t think about. They can also do future-proofing to other areas of your house like the kitchen cabinets or the pedestal sink as well.

This is important since it means that future renovations can easily be done. For instance, by having a vanity placed atop finished tiling, you won’t have to retile should you wish to replace your vanity since tiles are often different across batches, and it may be difficult to find similar tiles if your vanity goes in before the tiling is done and you have parts of the floor left un-tiled. 


  Do your research, plan ahead and figure out what's important for you and your bathroom.

Floor freestanding vanity units: ideas and advice

If you’re simply searching for bathroom furniture ideas, Victoria Plum is your perfect starting point. You’ll discover plenty of inspiration when it comes to stylish storage, from great tap and furniture combinations to more general bathroom furniture ideas.

If you’re specifically looking at sink and storage combinations, make sure you check out our vanity unit buying guide—it’ll help you make all the right decisions and find the perfect furniture for your bathroom.

Author, Rebecca Doody

Posted by Rebecca Doody in DIY Advice | 1 month ago

Originally from Somerset, Rebecca is our resident copywriter who takes care of all things product related. Rebecca loves the modern interior style with both neutral and bold influences to create a statement look.

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