How to Cut Laminate Flooring [Easy Guide]
Today, Laminate has become very popular and is used both in residential and business property flooring. Learning how to cut laminate flooring can prove to be a great skill, since the laminate floor is mostly not the size of your room.
However, cutting laminate flooring is a task that you need to perform very carefully so that you don’t mess up the floor or hurt yourselves. To be frank, it is the toughest part of quality laminate flooring installation process.
To be sure that you don’t spend too much money on materials, it’s important to know what tools and techniques can be used to cut it.
In this guide, we will cover the best ways to cut laminate floor boards with step by step method, the best tools and saws you need and also share some video tutorials for you to follow.
Best Tools to Cut Laminate Flooring
Every tool is built to serve a different purpose. While cutting laminate, it’s important to make accurate cuts for a perfect finish and fit.
Laminate contains glues as well as resins since it’s not a natural material. It can easily ruin the edges of a normal saw blade. If you still go on cutting with the blunt blade, then it can even burn the engine of the saw.
It is important for choosing the right saw depending on the type of cuts you are making. So we have divided the best tools for cutting laminate flooring into two parts; for making straight cuts and for making angled or curved cuts.
Below are tools, their speciality and the steps on how to use them for optimum results on your laminate floor.
For Straight Cuts
There are 3 saws which you can use to make straight cuts seamlessly parallel to the grain. Here are the instructions on how to use them safely.
This is an electric saw that is one of the best tools to make straight cuts with it’s quick spinning action. It can be held only in one held and used to shape the laminate according to your needs. However you should always use a stand to hold the board/materials in one place.
Keep your hands steady and not too close to the blade. The cutting surface should be smooth to avoid any chipping and injuries.
It is very important to get a carbide tipped blade suitable for cutting laminate. These blades work best for laminate flooring installations. You should ALWAYS wear a dust mask to keep your lungs safe since there is a lot of dust thrown when using these blades.
A hand saw or a plank saw is another alternative you can use to saw your laminate boards. It suits perfectly for shortening the boards since it’s very easy to use. You are in complete control of the direction of the blade, so ensure that you don’t shift the angle of your hand or the cut will be distorted.
Tip: Put the saw blade line close to the bearing surface and hold the piece firmly while cutting it. Make small cuts and then continue.
A table saw comes with an in-built table which makes it very easy to hold the laminate board while cutting. It also has a circular saw attached and can make straight cuts perfectly without any distortions.
- Remain steady while using a table saw
- Ensure that the plank lines are perpendicular to the saw blade
- Wear goggles, a dust mask and gloves
- Always keep your hands away from the blade
For Angled/Curved Cuts
When it comes to making curved cuts on laminate boards, you can’t use the above tools. You need something that can handle the angled cuts.
A jigsaw is great and works best when it comes to making curved shapes on laminate floors. A few examples would be pipes coming out of floors or pillars, placing boards near your toilet etc.
They are light and their blades aren’t expensive. Since laminate material ruin the saw very quickly, it’s a good idea to buy cheap packs of jig saw blades which you can get rid of, once they become useless.
Tip: To get a nice cut, always check the direction of the teeth on the blade of the saw. You will know if you need to lower or push the saw upwards in accordance with the board design.
For intricate cuts, you should use a coping saw. We recommend you to install the blade such that the teeth point towards the handle of the saw. This will cut on the ‘pull’ stroke, and ensures the frame of the saw is pulled tight at the same time.
If you don’t own a saw or don’t want to use it, a utility knife is a good alternative. You should wear gloves, goggles and a mask to keep yourselves safe.
You should use knives with sharp blades only and maybe scissors to separate the materials by holding the planks in tact.
You can use a profile gauge to replicate the shape of the cut you need by creating a pattern. We use this very often scribe tiles as well. It is also the fastest way of cutting wood in irregular shapes.
It allows you to mark parallel lines when cutting laminate boards widthwise. You can even use a T-square to mark square lines.
Here’s a quick video on how to use saws to cut laminate flooring:
How to Make Straight Cuts on Laminate
There are two types of straight cuts that you can make. One is lengthwise and the other is by the width. Below are the steps to cut both of them easily.
Cut Laminate Flooring Lengthwise
- Measure the length required to be cut by using a tape measure
- Mark the edge of the laminate to know where to cut OR
- Use the combination square/chalk pencil to draw the measurement line across the face of the laminate board
- Use the circular, hand or table saw (as we mentioned above) to make the cut
- Use a slight wet cloth to wipe off the chalk off the surface
Cut Laminate Flooring Widthwise
The last board which is to be installed right next to a wall needs to be cut widthwise. It is important to remember that the flooring gets buckled up due to heart and humidity. You should keep a space of about 1/4-inches to keep it safe.
- Place a piece of laminate tightly fitted onto the second last piece against the wall
- Measure the amount of overlap and get a guide made out of laminate scrap as wide as the overlap plus 1/4-inches
- Place the guide you made on top of the piece up against the wall
- Slide the guide along the length of the laminate board and use a pencil at the base of the outside to mark
- Cut the piece using a a circular saw
How to Make Angled/Curved Cuts on Laminate
There might be times when you need to make curve, angled and intricate cuts. As we discussed above a jig saw or a coping saw works best for this purpose. Follow the steps below to make angled cuts on pipes.
- First of all, measure the length and width to the centre of the pipe
- Hold a piece of paper around the pipes and trace around
- Cut the paper pattern and lay it back to test the preciseness
- Draw the shape onto the laminate flooring
- Place the paper pattern on the backside of the laminate
- Cut the laminate by holding the jig saw vertical across it’s width through the center of the pipe hole
- Use a glue to attach and fit the pieces of laminate around the pipe
- For odd shapes, you can use a profile gauge
(Bonus) Cutting Laminate Flooring Around a DoorJamb
Cutting Laminate: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
This is quite a debatable topic so we thought it would be a nice idea to shed some light by sharing our opinions on this.
If you are a DIY lover, chances are that you already own some of the tools we mentioned above. Power tools are very helpful if you want to get into the long term home improvement game.
We did a comprehensive analysis and came up with an estimate of the total cost of all the tools (used frequently, occasionally & infrequently) you’d need and it came down to $1000.
However, if you aren’t used to using these tools, we advice you to hire a professional who can do the cutting as well as the installation. The contractor’s experience can come very handy for working with complicated projects. The rate for hiring a professional goes upto $3000-$5000. It can vary depending upon the area size and complexity as well.
With this we come to the end of this laminate floor cutting guide. We hope that you now feel confident about cutting laminate. All you need is be safe, follow the instructions we shared above by using the right tools and you will do good job.