Do I Install Flooring Or Paint First?

Determine To Install Flooring Or Paint First

Choosing whether to install flooring or paint interior trim first is a very popular question we are asked many times during the course of each year. Several variables come into play, knowing all the answers. You'll soon know either flooring or paint comes first.


Well, if this is your new home, Congratulations! A very exciting time moving into a new home you have just purchased. Personalizing your domain is also rewarding, comforting, adding a sense of accomplishment.

Below, we will help you walk through some basic questions you will need to ask yourself, giving you the correct answers, who's on first, and who's on second. By the end of this article, the answers of flooring or paint order will be laid out before you.

First, home improvements most homeowners like having completed is flooring and/or painting. If done in proper sequence, can mean more ease for most professional workmanship services, thereby saving time and money.

Determining flooring or paint first is not near as hard figuring, than which was first; The 'Chicken or the Egg', so you can rest easy. Not to confuse the issue, but also knowing which to paint first, walls or trim can be found here at ''Which to Paint First, Walls or Trim."

However, we will concentrate on flooring and paint, knowing there is much more to know on this subject, when including both simultaneously.

New Flooring, Painted Walls & Trim, A Great Idea


Deciding new flooring along with fresh painted walls & trim is a great way to spruce up any interior. Having everything exactly what you intended, bringing everything full circle, matching your decor. Actually, an idea of flooring with paint is one of the least expensive home improvements one can make, lasting many years to come.

You probably already have most of your furniture, allowing carpet swatches to be laid near by, making sure everything is complimenting one another. Same goes with paint chips as well, reviewing coordinating colors, consulting with your flooring representative and painting contractor. The old adage cliche' "More heads better than one" couldn't be truer.

But this is when there is a difference of opinion when both home improvements are considered at the same time. Flooring guys say floor first, as painting guys say paint first. Are you just to flip a coin, hoping for the best? No.

You should take it from an expert on this subject, having over 40 years in the home improvement industry, specifically painting. But just because specifically painting over 40 years does not sway me to favor either one, before the other.

Because let's face it. If you intend hiring both flooring and painting out, it does not matter who finishes first, as both companies will be employed, receiving compensation.

The key here is doing everything in proper sequence, having the highest professional finish and installation.

Assuming You Are Having New Floors & Painted Trim


Which Type Of Flooring

Determining which type of flooring you are considering is the top question. Type of flooring governs everything else. We will discuss carpet, wood, tile, and linoleum. I'm sure there are plenty more, but these are the most common. Below, we will dive into each one.

Carpet & Pad

If you are planning on replacing carpet and pad, paint can be done first. Here you have to make sure the carpet pad is as thick as what is being removed. If the carpet and pad is thinner, painting first is not your best option, unless of course both carpet and pad is removed. Then, painting away to a heart's content.

Painting before new carpet is ideal, even though we know carpet edges are very stiff, rough, which can scratch when installed. Most carpet layers know this, and are very careful. However, even the most careful installers can accidentally scuff the newly painted baseboards or wall surfaces when bringing big rolls inside.

This is why we always say we will come back after carpet making any necessary touch-ups afterwards, as minor as they may be. Even though we've been paid, and the paint job is completed and approved, we come back for any dings or scratches made during carpet installation. Knowing every paint company or contractor has this warranty in place, you will just have to inquire who you choose.

If replacing carpet, look at the possibility of removing old carpet and pad first, then painting is a very popular idea. This also allows painters to prime the plywood sub-floor if there was smoking or pet urine present.

We did 2 jobs just last year, priming all the plywood after carpet and pad was removed, just for that reason. Then painting ceilings, walls, and trim before new carpet & pad was installed. Making for a very professional painting finish.

Wood Flooring

Wood flooring is probably the most confusing. Let me start out asking if new baseboards are included in the flooring installation. One more important question before answering, is your new baseboards stained to match flooring, or will they be painted.

If new baseboards are included in your new wood floor installation and they are pre-finished in matching stain, paint first.

If new baseboards are included for new wood floor, wishing to be primed and painted, paint last.

Reason For The Difference Is Namely Caulk

Stained baseboards are never caulked to walls, whereas painted ones are. Once baseboards are nailed & caulked to the walls, painting can proceed. If you are intending having matching baseboards to wood flooring, it makes perfect sense to paint first, as no caulking is needed, which automatically protects your new wood floor, also baseboards from the get-go.

Tile Flooring

Tile flooring can be very rich, decorative, accenting most particular surroundings. Choosing whether to paint or tile first, another question crops up. What type of baseboard will you have? Will you choose tile bull-nose base or wood. If wood base is chosen, will it be stained or painted. This is where it can be somewhat confusing, so bare with me.

If you intend having tile bull-nose base matching tile flooring, paint first. Be sure to remove old baseboards first, before painting. Of course touching up any mortar or grout may be required afterwards.

If stained is considered after new tile floor is installed, paint first. However, if you want painted baseboards, again, paint last. This allows caulking trim base to the walls before final painting is completed, and after new tile flooring is laid.


Normally linoleum is cut and laid after baseboards are pulled up, reinstalling trim after the final cut is made next to the walls. In this case, you'll want to paint last. This allows caulking to be done, before final paint finish is applied.

If you are having stained trim around your walls with linoleum, paint first. Not needing to mask recently stained trim, risking any wall paint on stained trim, again making perfect sense.

Parquet Flooring

Installing Parquet flooring, a few questions to ask. Will you butt up flooring to base trim. Making sure each cut is precisely cut, or will you cheat a little, putting 1/4'' round at bottom of baseboards, covering up cut edges? If you intend butting up flooring to baseboards, paint first. This insures all surfaces properly painted with the most ease.

If you intend installing 1/4'' round after installing ticky-tack, sounding like taps on the bottom of your shoes, paint last.

Had to razz my father-in-law RIP, living in a very refined, upscale neighborhood of North Houston few years back. He took out 40 year old carpet, replacing with Parquet flooring. Each time I came to visit, I had to pretend I was Fred Astaire with a new pair of loafers. Needless to say, he tried throwing his 4 wheeled walker, with his 2 tennis balls at me, laughing at the same time.

All this can be caulked, primed, and painted with the least of effort. Making sure Blue Low Adhesive or Frog Tape is used on this step, as regular painters tape can mar and even pull off the new or old Parquet finish.

We Have Your Painting Covered!

10 Facts Knowing Which To Install First, Floor Or Paint

Well, there you have it in a nutshell. Going over 10 facts of possibilities painting or flooring first. Main thought here is if you need to caulk base trim, paint last.

If painting can be done before flooring, paint it first. This will only help both improvements work flowing seamlessly, having a higher quality finish.

If you can paint entire walls and trim before new flooring is laid down, w/o having to come back afterwards, caulking & painting only trim, paint now!


  • If new baseboards are included in your new wood floor installation and they are pre-finished in matching stain; Paint First.
  • If new baseboards are included for new wood floor, wishing to be primed/painted; Paint Last.
  • If you intend having tile bull-nose base matching tile flooring; Paint First.
  • If stained are considered after new tile floor is installed; Paint First.
  • However, if you want painted baseboards, again, Paint Last. This allows caulking trim base to the walls before final painting is completed, also after new tile flooring is laid.
  • Normally linoleum is cut and laid after baseboards are pulled up, reinstalling trim after the final cut is made next to the walls. In this case, you'll want to Paint Last.
  • If you are having stained trim around your walls with linoleum; Paint First.
  • If you intend butting up flooring to baseboards; Paint First.
  • If you intend installing 1/4'' round after installing ticky-tack Parquet, sounding like taps on the bottom of your shoes; Paint Last.
  • If you can paint before new flooring, w/o needing to come back painting complete trim; Paint First.

Hope you've enjoy the material, helping you figure out which type of home improvement should be done first and second. Much more knowing how to paint baseboards without marks can be found here. Actually, there is no absolute correct way of painting first, or installing flooring, as each job is a little different.

Best suggestion would be what makes the most sense. Once you've determined that, you'll have your answer. If still a bit leery, I would suggest finding a reputable painting company in your area, handling all the interior painting for you.

Would appreciate any comments, experiences, or questions below, as we want to always be here to help!

If you are needing new paint, we can certainly help in the Denver, Boulder, Aurora, and Colorado Springs areas. Having your painting covered, our painters working with many top notched flooring experts, on a timely manner, for an enjoyable and professional painting experience.


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