Laminate countertops are experiencing a boom in popularity as of late.
This might surprise some people. For years laminate countertops have been vilified as a cheap looking, poor quality option.
That’s all changed with the latest and greatest laminate countertops that not only look better than their predecessors, but last much longer as well – all at a highly affordable price.
Another benefit of laminate countertops is how easy they are to cut and install yourself without the help of a professional.
Here’s how to cut a laminate countertop for your bathroom or kitchen.
What You’ll Need
There are a handful of different ways to cut laminate countertops.
But, today, I’m going to focus on the most simple and straightforward method that utilizes power tools most homeowners and casual DIYers can easily access.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Select the Right Blade
Before you start in on cutting your laminate countertop, it’s of utmost importance to equip your circular saw with the right blade.
Simply put, certain types of blades are best for cutting certain materials. For example, when you’re cutting a granite or Corian countertop, it’s important to use a diamond blade.
Because laminate countertop is a relatively soft material, a normal circular saw blade for cutting wood is capable of cutting through it with ease.
According to WoodworkingTips.com, your absolute best bet is a fine-toothed blade, such as one used for cutting plywood.
This type of blade minimizes the risk that the laminate countertop material will chip or crack as you cut through it.
Step I: Prepare for the Cut
Now that your circular saw is equipped with the correct blade, it’s time to prepare for the cut.
Start by taking care of all of the major measurements.
I prefer to measure the length and width as well as any cutouts (such as a sink cutout) before I make my first cut on a countertop project.
I’ll use these measurements as a base for my cuts as well as the installation.
However, I still remeasure before I make each cut to doublecheck my measurements to ensure that the countertop is exactly the right dimensions.
Step II: Cut to Length
Start by cutting the laminate countertop slab to length.
Measure the length of the countertop and then cut the countertop slab to slightly longer than this length with your circular saw.
Your carpenter’s square will come in handy to draw a straight cut line across the end of the countertop slab.
Cut along the line and lay the slab down on the countertop area to check that the cut left a slight overhang.
You can either cut the slight overhang off now (to match the exact length it needs to be) or wait until the end of the project to make this final cut.
Step III: Cut to Width
Now that your laminate countertop is cut to length, it’s time to set it on the actual countertop area to find the correct width measurement.
The easiest way to do this is to first make a width measurement with your tape measure. Cut the width of the countertop slab slightly wider than this.
You can then lay the slab on top of the countertop area.
This will then enable you to use a scribing tool, or just your pencil, to scribe the width of the countertop. Make another cut along the scribe mark for an exact fit.
The Family Handyman has an excellent resource on how to scribe for a perfect fit.
Step IV: Make Any Cutouts
Your laminate countertop should now fit on top of the countertop area almost exactly.
The final cutting step is to mark and cut any cutouts for factors such as a sink opening.
Note that this step is a little more complex than making the length and the width cuts. As a beginner, you should take your time and to never rush through this step.
Trace around the sink opening to create an accurate template. Use your jigsaw to cut out the sink opening.
I recommend cutting the sink outline slightly smaller than needed. Make additional cuts until it fits as exactly as possible.
Step V: Finish the Edges
Chances are that the edges of the cuts will be slightly rough.
Use a belt sander with 220-grit sandpaper to sand out the edges until all of the rough bits are smooth.
Alternatively, you can sand by hand, although it will take longer.
Learning how to cut laminate countertops isn’t very difficult.
Instead of hiring a professional to cut and install the material, there’s little reason not to do it yourself.
And once you’re done installing your bathroom or kitchen countertop, check out some of our other best DIY projects to keep yourself busy!