Flooring (Before, Under Drywall, Tile Floor Before Drywall)

Before any home renovation project, it is common for DIY homeowners to ask themselves what should go first between the flooring and the drywall. Doing the walls first will cause an accumulation of dust when installing the floor, and so is the case if you start with the floors, depending on their type.

So, does flooring go in before the drywall? It is best to hang the drywall first and then the flooring for most home renovations. This order is sensible if you want to protect your flooring and make future changes easy.  Installing your drywall and flooring is messy, but the drywall’s mess is more than that of flooring. Hence, installing the drywall first saves your flooring from enduring avoidable damage.

Installing the flooring first would mean that you would push the flooring closer to the wall studs, and the drywall will extend over the flooring. This installation will trap your flooring under the drywall, making future floor renovations more complicated.

The narrative on whether the flooring or drywall should go first may change from time to time, depending on certain factors unique to your type and method of installation. The drywall gives the walls a smooth surface.

You can paint or wallpaper this surface, depending on your style. As such, you may want to know whether it is feasible to install the flooring or drywall first, given the construction activities revolving around each installation. Your goal is to achieve sleekness and knowing where to start is ideal for achieving this.

Installing the drywall first is advisable, followed by the flooring. You will settle for this decision, given the time, mess, damages, installation, and humidity concerns. Installing your flooring can be messy, but the drywall is even messier, and starting with this installation will save your floor from damages, not to mention the costs you will incur in clearing these messes.

The decision to install flooring before the drywall and vice versa are dependent on several factors, including time, mess, and installation guides. Where you have limited time in the installation, you should start by hanging your drywall.

The general rule of construction encourages you to work from top to bottom, given that construction is a messy job. Hence, installing the floor first will make you spend more time on the drywalls, as you do not have to be extra careful trying to avoid messing your flooring with paint or other materials.

If you have to do the floors first, ensure you cover them properly with drop cloths. These clothes should be non-skid and non-plastic, as plastic can be hazardous. Depending on the type of flooring, you should also ensure the materials you cover it with are non-abrasive lest you damage your floor. You should be careful with the materials falling on the floor, as some may damage the floor permanently, rendering your efforts vain.

In addition to the mess from dropping compounds, installing your flooring before the wall opens room for other damages such as scratches. For instance, if your floor is wooden and you step on a screw, it will scratch the flooring, leaving a permanent mark.

Cleaning the construction compounds from your flooring can also be a task and may damage your flooring. Hence, to avoid this hassle, consider installing the drywall first, as you will easily scrape any debris from the flooring without worrying about damaging it.

Leaving the flooring as the last option will also guide the installation process. Normally, installers use the floor in locating electrical boxes and studs. They make pencil marks on the floor beneath the boxes. Hence, this process will be much easier with a sanded floor than with flooring installed, as the flooring will cover these marks.

On the other hand, the installers will rely on estimates if your floor is already up, and the final job will be inaccurate. Alternatively, they may uninstall some segments of your flooring to locate the electrical boxes, something that may affect the final look of your flooring.

Lastly, starting with the drywall will solve most of the humidity concerns in the room. With wood flooring, you will need to acclimate your flooring, given its nature, to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity.

Hence, starting with the wall will control the room’s humidity, and acclimating to such a space will yield accurate results. However, you should read the manufacturer’s recommendations with respect to acclimation to reduce the warping and swelling of your wood flooring after the installation, as this will affect durability.

Does Flooring Go Under the Drywall?

As a new DIY installer, you have so much to learn about hanging the drywall, including whether the flooring should go under the drywall.

Generally, you should install your drywall first, then the flooring instead of installing the flooring first, thereby putting it under the drywall. You should leave at least a ½ to 3/8 inch gap between your drywall and flooring in this installation. This space allows for the expansion and contraction of your drywall.

Failure to leave this space will cause your flooring to warp. If there is excess moisture in the ground and your drywall touches it, it will absorb it and rot or harbor mold, depending on the flooring material.

As stated earlier, you should leave a gap between the flooring and drywall to accommodate the natural processes. You can then use a baseboard to cover this space, hence there is no need to worry about it being an eyesore.

After installing the baseboard, run some silicone caulk at its top to seal it. You can also use the silicone caulk in place of baseboards if you are worried about water or bugs finding a way into the gap between the baseboard and your wall.

Place the painter’s tape on the floor next to the walls that you want to caulk. Doing this creates a straight line. Then, you can fill the gaps with caulk and run your finger to smooth them out. As much as possible, dip your fingers in water to spread out the caulk and remove the tape afterward.

Evidently, you should start with the drywall, followed by the flooring. However, there are instances where you may need to install the flooring first, followed by the drywalls. For instance, you will do the drywall first if your next flooring is easy to install, have old floors that soiling is not an issue, or if you want to see the room in its bare shape.

If your next flooring is easy to install, you might opt to paint your walls first. In such an installation, the flooring should have minimum dust and require less curing time. If renovating an old house or commercial space, you probably have old flooring in place, and it may not bother you if compounds spill on the floor. Hence, this may make it easy to install the walls first, but you should avoid spilling too many compounds onto your floor whatsoever.

A room will look bigger or smaller depending on the paint you apply. Thus, fixing the walls first will give you the right impression if you want to see the room’s bare shape. This technique will enable you to settle for a better plan to maximize the space.

On the other hand, you may have to install the flooring first if the floor takes a long time to cure, the wall paint can easily damage, or your floors are hard to install. If you are using hardwood, you may prefer installing the walls first since this flooring requires a lot of sanding and will take longer to cure. Doing this will prevent you from damaging your new wall paint with flying dust. You will need to be careful in installing your drywall given wood’s sensitivity to scratches and certain compounds.

Some wall paints can damage easily, and if you feel yours is one of the delicate ones, then installing the flooring first will save you a lot of time. It is much easier to protect the flooring than the walls and following this will save on the costs of redoing your walls.

After installing your flooring, you can paint the walls without worrying about your floors as long as you cover them. To cover your floors, use a painter’s cloth to prevent messing your floor. The material you use to cover your floor should be non-abrasive and smooth to avoid scratching your floor.

Installing floors can be a hard and messy process, and you may want to do it first. Fixing the walls first may force you to hire someone to do the cleaning after the painting, given the mess from the walls. The overall con is an increase in the installation costs.

Should You Tile the Floor before the Drywall?

Different floorings are resistant to damage at certain degrees and knowing how much yours can stand is vital to deciding whether to start with the flowing or wall. Read on to understand what to start with when installing a tiled floor.

Installing your drywall before the floor tiles is advisable since the drywall phase can be messy, especially in DIY installations. You do not want to damage your flooring during the drywall installation by pouring compounds or scratching it, which may force you to reinstall the affected parts. Thus, consider installing your drywall and then the tile for a sleek finish.

When installing your drywall, leave a ½ inch expansion space between the vertical surface and horizontal seams. This space is useful in preventing cracking resulting from the expansion and contraction of the building’s interior spaces. You will be safer allowing a slightly bigger gap than leaving too little, which minimizes future repairs.

If you are tiling in a wet area, you should waterproof it first. You can achieve this with a fleece sheet or paint. These methods are different but will keep moisture away from the tile substrate.

If moisture finds its way to your tile substrate, it will harbor the growth of mold, rotting, and bad smells. However, if you are tiling in your bathroom, you do not need to use a membrane, given the constant water flow in these areas.

Preparing your drywall is vital before embarking on your tile installation. The preparation aims to achieve a smooth and uniform surface. This process can be messy, and you should cover the surrounding area with drop cloths and tape.

You should work in pairs rather than alone in this project to make the task easier and consume less time. The first half of the job will involve tacking up panels and installing them, while the second half will comprise meeting the panels perfectly on the seams. Hence, having someone assist you in this project will ensure an effective installation.

Drywall installation is from top to bottom. Hence, you will start with the ceiling drywall, followed by the upper row of your wall panels and the lower panels, which you should push tightly against the upper wall panels. To effectively raise the lower panels, you will slip some foot jacks between the subfloor and the bottom of the panels, then step on the jack. This action will lift the panels in position.

After installing your drywall and painting it, it is time to focus on the flooring. In this case, you will be installing tiles on your subfloor. These tiles can add up to ¾ inch to the floor heights. As such, you should factor in this measurement to ensure you leave enough space for expansion and contraction.

You should avoid filling this space with grout since tile grout is not flexible. Instead, consider an elastic material that can sustain the floor and wall movement. Caulking is the best alternative in this case.

Wrap Up

Deciding to install the drywall or flooring first is vital in any home renovation project. This is because there will be different messes that your flooring or walls can handle. In most cases, you will start with the drywall.

Doing this enables you to work on the walls freely without worrying that compounds spillage or items dropping on the floor will damage it. On the other hand, you may have to install the flooring first if the drywall is not as messy.

In this case, you should protect your flooring. Fortunately, floors are easier to cover, but you should be cautious and avoid using abrasive materials or covers that can scratch your flooring. Thus, while it is advisable to start with the drywall, the decision may vary depending on the type of flooring.

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