Cutting Laminate Flooring

Scoring

Cut laminate face side up to avoid edge flaking. First, set a straight edge along the cutting line, steadying this with one hand.

Take the handyman’s knife or laminate cutter and score gently the full length of the sheet from one end. Hold the cutting tool tightly against the straight edge and score firmly and accurately along the line, using three or four even strokes. Use increasing pressure until the under surface of the laminate shows in a clean unbroken line. Do not rush this part of the scoring. Take care that the cutter does not slip, as this will make an unsightly mark on the face of the laminate.

Once the under surface shows, remove the straight edge and continue scoring until the piece is cut through. You can also score partly through the surface, and, with the straight edge held in place, ‘snap’ off the waste piece, by bending upwards. This works well over a short length but over a longer piece the waste piece may break off unevenly unless the sheet is well sup-ported. The sheet may be clamped to a surface, using G-cramps with pieces of timber to protect the laminate.

Sawing

Place the sheet of laminate, decorative side upwards, on a firm table, work bench or trestle. Position it so that the pencil line indicating the cut projects slightly over the edge.

Use a further support, such as a trestle or table, if the overhang is more than 75mm in width, or clamp the sheet. Score along the pencil line using a cutter. Use the saw ‘flat’, at no more than an angle of 20 degrees. If you hold it at a greater angle the sheet will vibrate and cause edge flaking.

Saw gently to avoid damage to the surface finish. When you have almost cut to the end of the sheet, hold the off-cut piece as you complete the sawing and straighten the angle of the saw.

Take particular care as you near the end, as this is where the corner of the sheet is most likely to snap off. Any rough edges can be smoothed with a file.

Using Power tools

These should not be forced through the laminate. The jig saw cuts on an upstroke and to avoid flaking of the laminate surface, this is best used to cut laminate placed face downwards. When using carborundum discs, wear protective goggles or stand well clear of the disc, since tiny flying splinters will be thrown up.

Because of the vibration of power tools, it is desirable to clamp the sheets so that there will be no movement.

Cutting irregular shapes

When cutting irregular shapes, curves or circles, you can use one of two methods. First, cut a template to include the wastage area of 3mm. Place the template on the face of the laminate (the reverse for backing) and fix it in place with adhesive tape, double-sided or folded over to achieve this. Score round the shape, using the cutter or blade vertically until the under surface shows.

Once the line is scored, remove the template and continue scoring until the shape comes away cleanly. You can also use a drill to make a series of small holes round the shape to perforate the edge. Then, using a fine-toothed keyhole saw or jigsaw, cut round the shape. The rough edges will need smoothing with wire wool and polishing with light lubricating oil.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Cutting Laminate Flooring

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