In This Post: Learn how to cut laminate countertops in a safe, easy, and efficient way!
So, it’s that time.
You knew the moment would sneak up on you someday, and today it finally has. It’s finally time to revamp your kitchen, and this means your countertops will be getting a farewell, too.
I know, I know – they have been there through thick and thin with you. But after all of the food splatters, drink spills, and accidental stabbings when the cutting board wasn’t cooperating, it’s tired and needs to be replaced.
Unfortunately, replacing your countertops means you’ll first need to cut them to size — and this isn’t exactly a simple process. You can’t just get out the circular saw and start cutting. And chainsaws might be over the top, no matter how eager you are to get started.
Have no fear! If it’s your first time with this undertaking, you’re one of many who need step-by-step instructions to achieve your desired results. Below, we’ll explain the entire process so that you understand what you’ll need to do.
Why Is Cutting Laminate Countertops Tricky?
Basically, laminate countertops will chip if you don’t cut them properly. It’s as simple as that.
Laminate countertops, while being a stylish and affordable option for revamping your kitchen, are usually made from pieces of plastic that have been laminated together. Once that step in the process is done, it’s then glued to a piece of particleboard. The finished product is a strong surface that has proven to be durable in both kitchens and bathrooms.
But attempting to start cutting before understanding these materials may cause the laminate to crack or break. Then it’s back to the “cutting board” after yet another trip to your local hardware store.
So, let’s do what we can to avoid that, shall we?
What Do You Need to Cut Laminate Countertops?
You can use a jigsaw, but you’ll need to use a special “upside-down” jigsaw blade. (Jigsaw blades normally cut when moving down — you’d need one that cuts when coming up).
So, it’s probably better to just use a circular saw.
While circular saws are portable power tools, they are far from flimsy. They are designed to cut through thicker and stronger materials such as wood, metal, tile, and brick. So, yes – they can handle cutting laminate with ease.
You will still also need a straight edge (like a metal ruler), some clamps, a Sharpie, and a tape measure. You can find each of these at any home improvement shop at the same time you purchase your laminate countertops.
How Do You Cut Straight Lines in Laminate Countertops?
Start by flipping the countertop upside down. Cutting this way will usually prevent the material from chipping, and it’ll protect the top of the countertop from any debris.
The next thing you’ll want to do is measure everything out. Mark any landmarks necessary. You do not want to skip this step. If you cut without getting precise measurements, you could end up with a countertop that’s longer or shorter than what’s desired.
Next, you’ll want to clamp the straight edge in place. Clamping it in place will keep the edge from shifting, allowing you to make sure the measurements stay true.
Lastly, cut along the straight edge. Cut very slowly. I cannot stress this enough. It may seem tedious at first, but your cut will come out much cleaner the slower you take it.
Great success! You’ve made it this far!
If the countertop has a bend (like a backsplash that bends up where it meets the wall), just treat each cut separately. Cut the flat part, re-situate everything, then cut the other part.
How Do You Cut Round Shapes in Countertops?
If you have to make curved cuts, you will need to use a jigsaw and jigsaw blades that cut on the upstroke. Just as you would with straight cuts, you’ll want to trace out the lines and make your cuts very carefully. This is where your handy Sharpie will prove to be a lifesaver.
If you have to cut holes in the countertop (like for a sink), you’ll need to drill a hole first. The hole will give you a place through which you can insert the jigsaw blade. After that, insert the jigsaw blade into the hole to start cutting.
Small holes — up to about 2 inches in diameter — can be made with a hole saw and a drill, which is usually pretty easy to accomplish.
Hopefully, these tips have helped you as you plan the revamping of your kitchen. Cutting countertops isn’t easy, but with a bit of planning, patience, and the right tools, you can do it. And there’s nothing sweeter than owning the bragging rights when it comes to your home renovations. Especially the more challenging ones.
If you have experience cutting laminate countertops, we’d love to hear about your process in the comments below! It may be helpful to those who are just starting.
Post By: Rachel
Rachel Team is a writer and childcare professional, who loves sharing innovative home décor ideas and domestic solutions with readers. An accomplished musician, Rachel spends most of her free time in the recording studio or playing in front of live audiences, but she also enjoys spoiling her dog, traveling, and maintaining the world’s largest collection of ChapStick.