Installing a Cabinet Over Carpet

Should you install cabinets over carpet, or cut the carpet out? Opinions vary. June 11, 2014

(WOODWEB Member):
We are installing a very tall two part cabinet that is 35" W x 118" H x 17" D into a corner of a closet. My main question is the floor. Should we remove the carpet on installation, or is it best to put the cabinets right on top of it? If we do remove the carpet and pad, etc., what will we need to do to the carpet on the ends that were cut?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor H:
If you're a pro then you do the job right. That means removing the carpet/padding and putting in new carpet tack, etc. If you want to do it the hillbilly way, then just put it on top of the carpet.

From contributor N:
Sometimes I remove or peel back the carpet and have a carpet layer relay it. On something small like what you're doing, you could make a template the size of the bottom of the cabinet and lay it on the carpet and cut the carpet out. Then set your cabinet and install tack strips and rent a knee kicker from Home Depot and kick the carpet over the tack strips and chisel in against the cabinet.

From contributor N:
Sorry - I was in a rush with the last post. If the bottom of the cabinet can be set in place on the carpet, set it and cut the carpet tight to the cabinet, then cut the pad back about 2 1/2" inches from the cabinet, then install your tack strip about 1/4 to 3/8 from the cabinet. Then knee kick the carpet over the tack strip and use a putty knife to push the carpet down between the tack strip and cabinet. After you cut the carpet you will probably have to peel the carpet back far enough to cut the pad back and to nail down your tack strip, then just knee kick that back in place and push it back into the base board with a putty knife. Don't install it on the carpet.

From contributor L:
I would just set it on the carpet. It's not the hillbilly way. It's the if-I-change-my-mind way. At a point if someone does not like it, they can take it out and not have to re-carpet the room. Also if you can't level a cabinet while it is on carpet, you or the framer must have a problem.

From contributor M:
Removing the carpeting is the best way, but you could also fasten 2 x 4 blocking through the carpet under the cabinet and then screw the cabinet into the 2 x 4 to stabilize it. Or even a full 3/4 plywood piece, under the cabinet screwed tight to subfloor with cabinet on top. Any way you do it, you need to eliminate sagging and settling of the cabinet or you will end up with gaps at the crown to ceiling line or even paint/caulk line cracks. One note: to avoid a carpet run, predrill the blocking and then tap screw through carpet and screw carefully.

From contributor D:
Since this is going on the inside of a closet, it may not really make a difference. A cabinet like you are making typically will not get fastened to the floor; just the walls. Why not use a base mold or base shoe either way?

From contributor H:
There is one other thing I should have added to my previous post - put some 1/4" or 3/8" shims or plywood under the unit. That way you or the carpet layer can tuck the carpeting under the unit.

From contributor S:
I have been cutting out the carpet for several years now. Settling into the carpet will always occur and lead to return trips. I just finished installing a built-in over a concrete slab. In over 7 years I have never installed on concrete. Retackling into concrete barely worked and ended up having to glue down the tack strips. This only took an extra 2 hours. So now I'm reconsidering installing over carpet with leg levers. I just read about that here and think it's a great idea. So my only question is when the carpet gets replaced; is it a problem to leave old carpet under the built-in? I see no problem but I read about people hacking it out from under an existing structure. So what are we trying to avoid here by removing it; dirt, dust mites, mold, etc.?