If you buy something through a link in our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.
Laminate countertops are a great choice for your kitchen. They can provide an updated look to the kitchen without costing a lot of money. It is uncommon for the laminate counters to come in the size you need so cutting is necessary.
How to Cut Laminate Countertops
1. Measure the Space
Before you cut into the laminate material, you need to measure how much laminate you need. Using your measuring tape, you can find the length and the width of the space you would like to cover, and write them down to help you remember. Then measure out again to see exactly here you need to cut into the laminate.
Your countertop is going to come in a standard width and different lengths. You can get one that is the right size if possible. If the counter space is customized, then just get one a little longer and cut down to the size that you want.
2. Purchase the Stock Piece
With the measurements in hand, it is time to make your purchase. Your laminate countertop will come in size sizes that range from 4 – 12 feet, with about a two-foot interval in between. While this may be easier for the company to keep everything in stock, it means you may end up with a countertop that is right in between the sizes and you will need to cut it.
When this happens, you have a few options that you can choose including:
- Shop around and see if you can get a countertop that is close to the size you need.
- Let the countertop be a little bit longer on one or both sides.
Depending on the type of countertop you are using and the length, you may be able to get a piece of laminate that is exactly the size that you need. This is not common though and you will need to cut most pieces of laminate to get them to fit.
3. Bring Out the Workbench
Once the laminate countertop comes in, it is time to prepare it for cutting. You can take your stock countertop onto a stable work surface to make this easier. Your sawhorse or workbench is perfect for you. The part you plan to cut should hang over the edge of the work bench to make this a little bit easier.
Always clamp down the laminate piece so it will not move around and become uneven when you do the rest of the work. This is true whether you have a thick piece of laminate or one that is a little thinner.
It is easy to assume laminate pieces do not need to be held down, but it is always better to add these on to make sure nothing moves while you do some of the cutting. A few clamps is plenty.
4. Mark the Cut Lines
Remember the measurements that we used earlier? It is time to bring those out to make sure you get the exact right length of the new countertop. You need to use a straight edge to help you mark the cut line. Then add a little bit of masking tape on there to protect the laminate as you do the work. The masking tape should be at least one inch wide to help with this.
Some things to consider when doing this step include:
- Measure the spot several times to make sure you get the right length.
- Draw the line all the way through to make measuring a little easier.
- Use some strong masking tape so it will not move on you or chip the table.
This is the line that you plan to use to help cut the stock laminate the right size. If you do not measure it out well, then the stock piece will not be the right size and you may have to make another purchase to get your countertops done.
5. Clamp Down Some Scrap Wood
We need to do a little bit more clamping at this point to help us get things done. Here we need to take a piece of scrap wood and then clamp it down into the countertop with your C clamps. These are going to be used as the saw guide.
To do this, you need to measure the distance that happen between the blade of the saw and the outside of its show (which is the metal guard here), and then add 1/16 of an inch to give some leeway. You need to measure this distance from the side that you plan to cut off.
With that measurement in place, you can clamp the wood going widthwise to the countertop to create the guide rail that you need.
We can look at an example of this below:
- If you have a distance between the blade and the saw of 3 inches, then you need to clamp down this piece of scrap wood to be 3 1/16 inch away from the line that you drew on the masking tape above. This allows a little room in place for some area. If the laminate starts to chip on you, it is easy to sand it away when you are done.
- You will need to clamp the wood over on the part of the counter you do not plan to cut off. So, if you plan to cut the end of the laminate on the right hand side, then the wood should be to the left of the line.
The guard rail does not need to be large for this. A one inch by two-inch piece is plenty to keep you on task and to make sure you get a straight and even line as you work through the countertop.
6. Prepare the Saw
Now we need to prepare the saw that you would like to use. The best option for cutting laminate countertops is a circular saw. We recommend using a high quality circular saw, although it doesn’t have to be a super powerful one. The compact circular saws and mini circular saws will both work fine.
You need to measure out the depth of your laminate piece. Then add 1/8 of an inch to that to get the right depth for your say. Make sure that you do this at the thickest part of the board. While most laminate stock pieces will be the same everywhere, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Begin the Cutting
With everything set up, it is time to do some cutting. You need to cut all the way through following your line, keeping the saw against the guide fence that you have.
Hold down the power button on the saw to give it time to reach full speed before you begin the cutting. Then place the blade right on the line you drew out, keeping the guard of the saw against the wooden guide fence you made. Push away from you along the line all the way across the laminate piece.
Some things to remember when you do this include:
- Give the saw time to catch up to speed before you start making any cuts. This helps to smooth everything out.
- It is a good idea to practice using the saw a few times if you have no experience on how it works.
Take your time and go slowly with this. This will help you to get the smooth and even edges that you want so the laminate looks nice.
7. Sand the Edges Down
The final step to work with is to sand down the edges so they are even with the marks you made. Fine-grit sandpaper is some of the best here so you do not chip any of the laminate. You can remove all of the masking tape once you are certain the edges are even with your line. It is likely you will need to do some kind of sanding to make this work, but if you do get a perfect line, you can just remove the tape and call it good.
Some tips to remember when sanding down the edges includes:
- Start with fine sandpaper. It is unlikely you will need to smooth out much of the countertop at this point.
- Progress down to finer types of sandpaper as you get closer to the line you want to make.
- Keep the masking tape in place to help you see where the line is and to keep the edge as even and straight as possible.
You may not need to do a lot of sanding to get this done. Using some fine sandpaper will help you to keep things smooth and to even out small mistakes that you may make along the way.
Once you have reached this step, you are done cutting your laminate stock to make the perfect countertops for your needs. It is now time to work through putting them in place. Whether you decide to do this on your own or you want a professional to install them, you now have the perfect piece of laminate countertop to help you get that work done.