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How to Cut Hardwood Floor From Under Cabinets

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By Donovan Carrington

Cutting hardwood floors from under cabinets requires precision and the right tools. Start by gathering tools like a crane toe kick saw or Fein Multi Master. Measure and mark your cut lines carefully using a straight edge and chalk. Set your saw blade depth to match the thickness of your flooring and test it on scrap wood first. Begin cutting from a corner, gradually working towards the edges. Use a pry bar to lift and remove flooring sections without harming the cabinets. Clean up sawdust and inspect for any subfloor issues. Follow these steps for a professional finish and discover more detailed techniques ahead.

Gather Necessary Tools

To start cutting hardwood floors under cabinets, you’ll need to gather the necessary tools. First on your list should be the Crane Toe Kick Saw, which is specifically designed for this job. This saw will allow you to get close to the cabinets and make precise cuts. If you’re checking out a forum for advice, you’ll find many professionals recommending this tool.

Next, consider the Fein Multi Master. This multi-tool is versatile and powerful, making it ideal for challenging cutting tasks near cabinets. Its half-moon blade is perfect for getting into tight spaces and ensuring a clean cut. If you’re dealing with particularly tough areas, you might also want to look into the Fein Super Cut.

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry. Affordable alternatives like a Dremel multi-master knock-off or a Menard’s multi-tool knock-off can still get the job done effectively. These tools mightn’t have the same brand prestige, but they’re functional and reliable.

Lastly, don’t forget about a Bosch Finecut saw or a Bosch Jamb saw for precision work. These tools help you make neat, accurate cuts close to the cabinets, ensuring a professional finish.

Measure and Mark Cut Lines

To guarantee a precise cut under your cabinets, start by measuring carefully and marking your cut lines accurately. Use a straight edge or chalk line to create a clear guide, and remember to account for any necessary expansion gaps.

Double-check your measurements and markings to avoid any mistakes before you begin cutting.

Accurate Measurement Techniques

Accurately measuring and marking your cut lines is vital for a clean and precise cut when working with hardwood floors under cabinets. To guarantee a successful project, you’ll need to prioritize accurate measurement.

Start by using a measuring tape to determine the exact distance between the cabinet and the hardwood floor. This step is essential for achieving precise cutting.

Next, mark your cut lines on the hardwood floor with a pencil or chalk. Remember, precision is key to a clean cut. Here are a few tips to keep you on track:

  1. Measure multiple times: Double-check your measurements to avoid costly errors. It’s better to measure twice and cut once.
  2. Use a straight edge or T-square: These tools help ensure your cut lines are straight and consistent, making your job much easier.
  3. Account for obstacles: Look out for any irregularities or obstacles in the flooring that might impact your cutting process.

Marking Tools Needed

When marking cut lines on hardwood floors under cabinets, you’ll need a few essential tools to guarantee precision and accuracy. First and foremost, a pencil and tape measure are indispensable.

You’ll use the tape measure to get exact measurements of the area you need to cut, ensuring that your lines are precise. With your pencil, you can neatly mark these measurements on the hardwood floor.

Next, a straight edge or T-square is vital for drawing straight cut lines. These tools help maintain a clean, straight guideline, which is essential when you’re working in tight spaces like under cabinets.

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For longer cuts, consider using a chalk line to create a consistent, straight guideline across the floor.

Painter’s tape can also be incredibly useful. Applying painter’s tape along your cut lines can help prevent any accidental damage to the surrounding cabinets or the hardwood itself. It also offers a clear, visual boundary as you work.

Set Saw Blade Depth

To set the saw blade depth, start by matching it to the thickness of your hardwood flooring.

Adjust the saw settings carefully and make certain the blade won’t cut too deep or too shallow.

Before making the final cut, test the depth on a piece of scrap wood.

Measure Blade Depth

Setting the saw blade depth properly is essential to make sure you only cut through the hardwood flooring and not the subfloor or cabinets. To achieve a precise cut, you need to measure the blade depth accurately. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Measure the Thickness: Start by determining the thickness of your hardwood flooring. This measurement will guide you in setting the correct depth for your saw blade.
  2. Adjust Blade Depth: Measure the distance from the base of the saw blade to the bottom of the saw shoe. Adjust the blade depth to match the thickness of the hardwood flooring. This step ensures that your saw cuts only through the flooring and doesn’t damage the subfloor or cabinets.
  3. Test Cuts: Before making any actual cuts, confirm the blade depth by making test cuts on a scrap piece of wood. This helps you avoid any mistakes during the actual cutting process.

Properly setting the blade depth is important for a clean and precise cut under cabinets. With the right depth, you’ll avoid unnecessary damage and achieve a smooth, professional-looking finish. Remember, taking the time to measure and adjust will save you from potential headaches down the line.

Adjust Saw Settings

Accurately adjusting the saw settings is the next step to guarantee your cuts on the hardwood flooring under cabinets are clean and precise. First, you’ll need to measure the thickness of your hardwood flooring layers. Once you know this measurement, you can adjust the saw settings on your circular saw to match that depth. It’s important to set the saw blade depth just deep enough to cut through the flooring without damaging the cabinet structure above.

To adjust saw settings, locate the depth adjustment lever on your circular saw. Raise or lower the blade until it matches the thickness of the flooring layers. This fine-tuning ensures the blade won’t cut too shallow, leaving the flooring uncut, or too deep, risking damage to the cabinets. Properly adjusted saw blade depth will help you achieve a seamless, professional-looking finish.

Taking the time to get this step right is essential. Adjusting the saw blade depth correctly minimizes the risk of errors and ensures a clean, precise cut. Remember, the goal is to cut through the hardwood flooring efficiently and accurately while preserving the integrity of your cabinets.

Test on Scrap

Before you start cutting, make sure to test the saw blade depth on a scrap piece of hardwood flooring. This important step guarantees you’re setting the blade to the perfect depth, matching the thickness of the hardwood without damaging the subfloor or cabinets.

First, adjust the saw blade depth to approximately the thickness of your hardwood flooring. Next, perform a test cut on the scrap piece to see if the depth is accurate. If it’s too deep or too shallow, you’ll need to fine-tune the settings.

Here’s a simple process to follow:

  1. Set the Depth: Adjust the saw blade depth to slightly less than the thickness of your hardwood flooring.
  2. Perform a Test Cut: Make a cut on the scrap piece and check the depth. Make sure the cut is clean and doesn’t go through to the subfloor.
  3. Fine-tune: If necessary, make small adjustments and repeat the test cut until the depth is perfect.
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Testing the saw blade depth beforehand minimizes the risk of overcutting or undercutting, leading to a cleaner and more efficient hardwood removal process. By making these adjustments now, you’ll save time and avoid potential damage, ensuring a seamless cut under your cabinets.

Make Initial Cuts

To begin removing the hardwood floor, use a circular saw to make initial cuts along the edges of the cabinets. This step is vital for an efficient hardwood floor removal process. Start cutting from a corner and work your way towards the center of the room. This approach helps you avoid damaging the cabinets and guarantees a clean cut.

First, set the blade depth on your circular saw. It should be deep enough to cut through the hardwood flooring but not so deep that it touches the subfloor. This adjustment is essential to prevent unnecessary damage and maintain control over the cut.

As you position the saw, follow the cabinet edges and corners closely. Precision here is crucial; it ensures the hardwood floor comes out cleanly and evenly. Make sure you’re taking your time to follow the lines accurately, as this will make the next steps easier.

Don’t forget to take safety precautions. Wear goggles to protect your eyes from dust and debris, and gloves to safeguard your hands. Operating a circular saw near cabinets can be tricky, so maintaining your safety gear is non-negotiable. Following these steps will set you up for a successful hardwood floor removal.

Cut Along Cabinet Edges

Begin by positioning the circular saw along the edge of the cabinets to guarantee a precise cut. Ensuring accuracy when you cut along cabinet edges is important for a clean finish.

First, set the circular saw blade depth slightly deeper than the hardwood flooring to avoid any damage to the subfloor. This adjustment helps to maintain the integrity of the subfloor while you focus on removing the hardwood.

Before you start cutting, take a moment to secure the cabinets. Make sure they’re stable and won’t shift during the process. This stability is essential for maintaining control and preventing any unintended damage.

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Safety First: Wear safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself from debris and splinters.
  2. Steady Movements: Use slow, controlled movements with the circular saw for cleaner cuts.
  3. Check Depth: Regularly verify that the circular saw blade depth is correct to ensure you aren’t cutting into the subfloor.

Remove Flooring Sections

After making precise cuts along the cabinet edges, start removing the flooring sections by cutting them into manageable pieces with your circular saw. This approach will make the process much simpler and help prevent accidental damage to the cabinets.

When you’re cutting, make sure each piece is small enough to handle easily but large enough to minimize the number of cuts you need.

Once you’ve cut the hardwood flooring into sections, proceed to lift and detach each piece. Carefully maneuver your circular saw to avoid damaging the subfloor. Removing hardwood from under cabinets can be tricky, so take your time to make sure you’re making clean, controlled cuts.

Next, inspect the subfloor for any remaining nails, staples, or debris after removing each section of hardwood. Keeping the work area clean and free of obstructions is essential for safety and efficiency.

Properly dispose of the removed hardwood flooring sections to maintain a tidy workspace. This not only ensures safety but also helps you keep track of your progress.

Use a Pry Bar

A pry bar can be incredibly useful for lifting hardwood flooring from under cabinets without causing damage. It’s a versatile tool that can help you get the job done efficiently and cleanly.

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Start at a corner of the hardwood flooring nearest to the cabinets. Gently insert the pry bar under the flooring to avoid damaging the cabinets.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using a pry bar effectively:

  1. Start at a Corner: Insert the pry bar at a corner where the hardwood flooring meets the cabinets. Make sure it’s securely positioned under the flooring to gain the necessary leverage.
  2. Work Slowly and Carefully: Gently lift the flooring, applying steady pressure. Working slowly helps prevent splintering or breaking the hardwood pieces.
  3. Gradually Release the Flooring: Move the pry bar along the edge, gradually prying up the flooring. This controlled method guarantees you won’t damage the surrounding cabinets.

Clean Up Cut Area

Once you’ve lifted the hardwood flooring with the pry bar, it’s important to clean up the cut area thoroughly. Start by removing debris and sawdust from the area under the cabinets and along the edges. A vacuum or broom works well for this step, ensuring you get into all the nooks and crannies. This helps create a smooth surface for the next steps in your project.

Next, wipe down surfaces around the cut area. Use a damp cloth to remove any dust or residue left from cutting. This not only keeps your workspace tidy but also prevents any contaminants from affecting the new flooring installation.

Here’s a quick emotional reminder of why a clean workspace matters:

Clean SpaceBenefitsEmotions Evoked
Free of debrisSafer environmentPeace of mind
Dust-free surfacesBetter adhesion for new flooringConfidence
Organized areaEfficient workflowSatisfaction

Don’t forget to inspect the cut area for any remaining nails, staples, or sharp edges. Removing these hazards now will save you trouble later. By ensuring the workspace is clean and free of obstacles, you’re setting yourself up for a successful installation process.

Inspect for Damage

Inspect the area under the cabinets for any signs of damage like moisture, mold, or termite infestations. Start by thoroughly examining the hardwood flooring and the subfloor beneath it. Damage can compromise the integrity of your flooring and make the removal process more challenging.

Follow these steps to make sure you’re covering all bases:

  1. Check for Moisture and Mold: Look for any discoloration or damp patches. Mold can often be found in dark, damp areas, and can pose health risks if not addressed.
  2. Inspect for Uneven Subfloor: An uneven subfloor can be a sign of underlying issues, such as water damage or settling. Use a level to check for any dips or rises.
  3. Identify Hidden Plumbing or Electrical Lines: Before cutting into the floor, locate any plumbing or electrical lines. Cutting into these can cause serious damage and require expensive repairs.

Also, make certain there are no protruding nails or staples that could pose a safety hazard.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Cut Subfloor Under Cabinets?

To cut subfloor under cabinets, use a multi-tool with a half-moon blade or a toe kick saw. Wear protective gear, check for obstacles like nails, and proceed carefully to avoid damaging the cabinets or subfloor.

What Saw Is Used to Cut Under Cabinets?

You’ll need a toe kick saw, like the Crane Toe Kick Saw, for cutting under cabinets. Multi-tools with half-moon blades, like the Fein Multi Master, or a budget-friendly Rockwell Sonicrafter, are also great options.

Should Hardwood Floors Go Under Cabinets?

No, hardwood floors shouldn’t go under cabinets. Leave a small gap for expansion and contraction to prevent buckling. Proper installation techniques and considering expansion gaps guarantee durability and stability for your hardwood floors.

Can You Replace Hardwood Floors Without Removing Kitchen Cabinets?

Yes, you can replace hardwood floors without removing kitchen cabinets. Use specialized tools like a toe kick saw or multi-tool. These tools allow you to cut precisely, avoiding damage to your cabinets and ensuring a seamless replacement.

Conclusion

You’ve successfully removed the hardwood floor from under your cabinets! By carefully measuring, cutting, and using the right tools, you safeguarded both the flooring and cabinets.

Cleaning up and inspecting for any damage guarantees everything looks great and functions well. Now, you’re ready to move on to the next step of your project with confidence.

Great job on tackling this challenging task!

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Donovan Carrington

WRITTEN BY DONOVAN CARRINGTON

Donovan Carrington, a flooring expert with extensive experience of over 25 years, is the driving force behind Flooring Explorer. Initially working as a flooring installer, Donovan gained hands-on experience with different flooring materials such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile. His profound knowledge and expertise in flooring technologies and installation techniques have established him as a respected authority in the industry.