I've heard contractors say to install doors first then flooring, and others suggest the opposite. I'm installing new 3/4" prefinished flooring and new doors/closets (prehung wood/ primed white). What are the advantages/disadvantages to installing the doors after the floors? What sequence would result in the best finish? Thanks

  • I decided to put in the doors first upon a strong recommendation from my carpenter. He said the risk of scratching the floors is high, despite best efforts. I'll report back how it goes
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 16:30

4 Answers 4


I like to put the flooring in first. If you're working on the last row against a wall with a door in it, and you have to cut a piece that's half strip against the wall for half its length, and a full strip in the doorway, it's easier to get it into place if the jamb isn't in the way. It also means you can get the fit better at the bottom of the door jambs, without needing to use a flush-cut saw to trim the jamb before you can fit a floorboard under it, or ending up with a gap between the jamb and the floorboards.

As far as cons, I guess putting the doors in first means less activity in the room once the floors are in place, and thus less risk for dropping a hammer and marring the floor, or tracking dirt across the finished surface.

  • The cons can easily be overcome with a few sheets of masonite to protect the floor around the work area. Same goes for tile and even linoleum.
    – KeithS
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 15:56

Sounds like carpenters don’t like doing things the difficult proper way of a construction schedule. All I here is it’s harder for a carpenter to install doors after floors are installed. It’s human nature to seek the easier softer way, but it only makes common sense that you install floors first then have a skilled carpenter to put door frames on top of floor, then trim around door last. Cover floor for protection where needed. In a sandable floor, no cover needed


Theres one good reason to install the doors first and that is if your floor is not level across the threshold (almost always off by some factor in my house). Before the floors go in you can easily shim one end of the jamb to get the door exactly plumb. After floors this would be a huge pain to do since you would need to pull the door out and saw the jamb. Also, maybe others are more careful but I found it's hard not to ding the floor a little bit when doing doors afterwards. I also like a very tiny gap between the floor and jamb to slide paper under when painting which saves a ton of time. The person who installed my floors used a proper tool (not a trim saw) and cut the jambs very precise


I’d agree with the above poster. I’ve been installing doors before flooring, for thirty years. Painting, that’s the biggest reason because after doors comes paint.. because who cares where the paint drops land before flooring? Installing flooring first is easier for a flooring guy, but you try getting 1/16” door margin over 3’ and keep the jamb leg on the floor. You almost always need to raise the jamb to compensate for an even margin, otherwise you’re fumbling around on a finished floor trying to cut 1/16 of an inch of a door jamb upside down. Experience is the greatest teacher. I’ve never seen flooring go in first in a new construction job my entire life.

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