Nowadays, laminate countertops are making a comeback. This will be a surprise to many out there, and the common perception of laminate countertops just screams the 70s and 80s and give people a feeling of cheapness.
But the trend is changing. Today, laminate countertops are much more advanced than the old ones, both in terms of looks and design. They will last significantly longer than many other materials, and above all, they are surprisingly cheap.
Laminate countertops are an especially popular choice for DIY enthusiasts, mainly due to their DIY-friendly nature. You can cut them any way you want to make them fit your design. Here, we will take a look at how to cut laminate countertops like a professional without making a mess.
For this, you might need a saw, but it might be tougher to cut it with a hand saw. Laminate is practically a collection of thin layers of paper, bonded together by resin. A circular saw might be the tool to use for cutting laminate, not only for its robust nature but also due to practicality and for a faster cutting process.
Besides looking at how to cut a laminate countertop, we will also help you choose the right saw blade so that you will be able to cut the laminate much more comfortably. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Picking the Right Blade for the Job
When cutting laminate, it is not just essential to know how to cut laminate countertop, but also what tools you will use. A good quality circular saw will most likely do the trick, although it is not just as simple as picking the right saw. Besides knowing how to cut laminate countertop, you will also need the proper tools for the job at hand.
It doesn’t matter what type of circular saw you will be using; unless you are using the right blades, you will also struggle to cut laminate properly. Some blades are better suited for cutting various materials, and there are also blades that will be better for cutting laminate.
Luckily, laminate is not the toughest material to cut, and a regular blade for cutting wood should be more than enough. However, if you are cutting more hardened materials, you might need to use diamond blades, and these are more expensive. For example, for cutting granite.
But here we will focus solely on the blades that can cut laminate. There are some factors to consider when choosing a blade, such as the number of teeth on the blade, the sharpness and the size of the teeth, and the material of the blade. Here are the best blades to buy for your circular saw for cutting laminate.
Festool 496309 Laminate 48-Tooth Saw Blade
Simply put, the Festool Laminate 48-tooth saw blade is one of the best blades you can use for cutting laminate. These blades are made specifically for cutting laminate, and they will do the job on even the most robust types of laminate.
This blade has 48 teeth, and all of them are tipped with carbide, which enables they are much more durable than regular teeth. It features a trapezoidal tooth design, which makes cutting much more comfortable, and the cutting will also be much smoother.
Freud D1050X Diablo 10-Inch 50-tooth
If you are looking for theright balance between performance and price, you cannot go wrong with the Freud Diablo blade. The D1050X version of the blade has 50 10-inch teeth that will cut even through the most robust laminate materials.
The blade is also quite versatile, as it is not only appropriate for cutting laminate, but for wooden materials such as plywood, oak, and delicate molding. There is also an 80-teeth version, the D1080X, which will allow you even more precision when making finishes.
Bosch DCB1072 Daredevil 10-Inch 72-Tooth Circular Saw Blade
For high-quality performance, the Bosch 72-tooth blade will be a great choice. Not only will it allow you a lot of precision and smooth finishing, but it is also very sturdy and built with quality in mind. The steel blade body and the carbide teeth will give you plenty of years for this blade. The carbide finish makes sure that the blade is capable of handling sturdy materials, and there are 72 teeth included, which enables you more precision and power. The maximum RPM of the blade is 6000.
Makita A-93681 10-Inch 80 Tooth Micro Polished Mitersaw Blade
Now we shouldn’t only focus on the brands, but with Makita, you know what you are getting: the highest order of quality for a reasonable price and a wide array of blades to choose from. This 80-tooth blade is an excellent choice for cutting laminate, as well as hardwood, plywood, and softwood.
Don’t be fooled by the small appearance of the blade; while it does seem smaller than some other blades, the performance will probably be even better for it. That is because the blade is made of steel, and the tips are made from carbide. Also, the number of teeth will save you a lot of time and will allow you for more precise finishes.
Concord Blades SLM1000T080SP 10″ 80 Tooth Single-sided Laminate Non-stick Coated Blade
This blade offers perhaps the most advanced technology out there. The blade body is precision cut, and it features heat expansion slots, which means that the sword will always be running cool. Also, the anti-friction vents will prevent the blades from sticking, and the sound-dampening poly-filter will decrease vibration as well as the noise output of the blade. All in all, an excellent choice for cutting laminate.
DEWALT DW3106P5 60-Tooth
Although this blade might be slightly more delicate than some other blades on this list, it still provides an excellent cutting experience. DeWalt is known for producing woodworking tools of the highest quality, and this blade is no exception.
It is known for its precision and relative power for its size, something that is not easy to achieve with blades. You will be able to cut through laminate very quickly with this blade.
Freud D12100X Saw Blade
For the highest level of quality, you should certainly consider this Freud blade. We already featured a Freud blade on this list, but this one is arguably the highest-quality blade out there. It will allow you to make skinny cuts, but powerful enough to make cuts instantly. It has Parma-shield non-stick coating and laser-cut stabilizer vents.
All these features will protect the blade from heating, and allowing you to use it for prolonged periods without sticking. This is undoubtedly one of the best blades to use, and you will be able to make precise cuts when cutting laminate.
How to Cut Laminate Countertop Using a Circular Saw
Now to the meat and potatoes of the article – how to cut laminate countertop with a circular saw using a blade we described above. Follow these steps to make it all easier.
The importance of preparation should not be ignored, especially with such a delicate task as cutting laminate countertops. First, measure the distance from the blade of the saw to the edge of this shoe. This will make it easier for you to use a fence when cutting, and the sword will rest against the fence for more precision.
Hint: add a 1/16 of an inch to your measurements to allow more room for error. You will be able to sand out any imperfections and chippings in the laminate later on with a belt sander.
These measurements will be the basis for any further tasks.
Lay the Tape over the Cutting Line
The next step is an essential preventative measure you should take before you start cutting. Lay the masking tape over the cutting line. This will prevent any damage to the countertop where you will be cutting it, such as chippings and other types of imperfection. You can easily scratch the countertop while cutting it, so proper protection is vital here.
When cutting the countertop, you will make your life much easier if you move it away from the wall. But that might be easier said than done, as it might entail all sorts of other tasks, such as disconnecting sink plumbing and disconnecting fasteners. If you can, however, you should do it to allow you more space to work with.
Cut the Countertop
After you have made all the measurements and other tasks, you should be prepared to start cutting the laminate. You will want to align the inside part of the blade with the cutting line you previously drew. Make a mark on the side of the saw guard past the inside blade edge.
To make it easier, lay a piece of 1-by-2 inch lumber flat on top of the countertop and align it with the mark representing the edge of the saw guide. Remember to keep the lumber out of the area between the cut line and the guide mark.
You should use a thin kerf blade, one of the ones that we discussed above. To get the feel of the blade, you might want to take some practice cuts in other areas. Then, start cutting slowly with a steady movement until you cut through the whole of the countertop. Hopefully, you will be able to create a nice, precise line without chippings.
Sand the Edge
To iron out any imperfections made during the cutting process, you will have to use a 3-inch belt sander with a fine-grit carbide belt, and grind the laminate to the line.
Finish the Job
Image source: Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.
Lastly, you will have to apply some sort of adhesive that the supplier usually gives it away in the package. Once you do it, let it dry, and do some precision cuts later on using a utility knife.
FAQs on cutting laminate countertops
What tools do I need to cut a laminate countertop?
Clamps, a straightedge, a measuring tape, a pencil, and a circular saw with a fine-toothed blade are all you need to cut through a laminate countertop. Edges can also be finished using a router.
How do I measure and mark the countertop for cutting?
Use a measuring tape and a pencil to make some marks on the countertop. Then, make a straight line parallel to the cut line using a straightedge. Make sure the boundary is distinct and easy to see.
Can I use a handsaw to cut a laminate countertop?
Laminate countertops can be cut with a handsaw, although this is not advised. The lamination is easily damaged by a handsaw and can chip or split. Laminate countertops are best cut using a circular saw or jigsaw with a fine-toothed blade.
How do I prevent chipping while cutting the laminate?
Using a fine-toothed saw blade and masking tape across the cut line can keep the laminate from chipping as you work. When cutting laminate, the tape will help keep the laminate from being yanked up by the blade.
What’s the best way to cut curves in a laminate countertop?
Using a jigsaw with a fine-toothed blade is the ideal method for cutting curves in a laminate countertop. Before you start cutting, make sure the countertop is firmly clamped down.
How do I cut a sink hole in a laminate countertop?
Use a jigsaw with a fine-toothed blade to cut out the sink opening in the laminate countertop. To begin, drill a hole in the exact middle of the sink cutout, insert the jigsaw blade, and proceed to carefully follow the defined lines.
How do I cut a miter joint on a laminate countertop?
Using a circular or jigsaw, cut the two pieces of the laminate countertop at a 45-degree angle to create a miter joint. Use a straightedge and a blade with sharp teeth to make precise cuts.
Do I need special precautions when cutting near electrical outlets or plumbing?
Absolutely, it is necessary to turn off the power and water supply and take other safety measures before cutting near electrical outlets or plumbing. Use safety gear and cover electrical outlets with nonconductive materials like wood or plastic.
What’s the best way to clean the laminate countertop after cutting?
Use a soft towel and a light cleaning solution to wipe down the laminate counter after cutting on it. If you want to keep your laminate surface in pristine condition, you should stay away from chemicals and abrasives.
Can I cut the laminate with the decorative side facing down?
The ornamental side of the laminate can be used as the cutting surface. In order to make precise cuts, however, the decorative side should be facing up.
Ending thoughts on how to cut laminate countertop
So there you have it, this is how to cut a laminate countertop with a circular saw. All it takes is patience, precision, and good preparation to get the job done.
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