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What Can You Use To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Instead of installing an expensive hardwood floor that requires frequent maintenance, you may be considering using a modern alternative in vinyl plank flooring. This option gives many alternatives to the expensive hardwood option, but if you are more familiar with wood, you may have questions about this material. One of the frequently asked questions is what can you use to cut vinyl plank flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring is an easy material to work with and install. It doesn’t need any special tools to cut the material to size. The cutting tools you can use include a laminate tile cutter, hand saw, table saw, circular saw, miter saw, jigsaw, or a Dremel. The most popular tool is a utility knife.

House floor installation tools

Vinyl flooring is lightweight and comes in a tongue and groove plank format to make installation simple and straightforward. The planks come in dimensions that resemble wood plank flooring and are generally covered with a wood pattern to resemble a wood floor. The vinyl planks are, however, not as thick as wood planks and seem a little flimsy at first. This raises a question or two as to how to best cut this material without damaging it and leaving unsightly edges.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to discuss cutting vinyl plank flooring. If you’d like to cut vinyl tile or cut laminate flooring be sure to visit those articles separately.

What Tools Can You Use To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring

A handyman sitting on the floor with different kinds of saw in each hand, what tools can you use to cut vinyl plank flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring will often be labeled as LVP or LVF at your hardware store and usually has a tongue-in-groove method of installation, sometimes called click-lock. The lightweight nature of the vinyl material and the tongue-in-groove edging often cause pause for thought for the best way to cut this material.

Some concerns would be whether some cutting tools would leave jagged edges, damage the tongue-in-groove edging, or even crack or split the vinyl planks.

One of the attractive qualities of vinyl plank flooring is that it is easy enough to install that you do not need a professional vinyl flooring installer to do the job for you. Installing the material is easily a DIY job that you can undertake as a weekend project.

As a DIY installer, you may not have any purpose-built cutting tools for the vinyl planking and wonder what you can use to get the job done using the tools that you already have at hand in your toolbox or garage.

Can You Use Tile Cutter To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Tile cutter preparing a tile floor piece

A tile cutter may be a tool that you have around your shop that you may consider using as a tool to cut your vinyl plank flooring.

A tile cutter can be used, but it depends on the type of tile cutter that you have. If your tile cutter is a ceramic tile cutter, then you are out of luck. A ceramic tile cutter uses a diamond-edge cutter to score the ceramic tile along your cut line. It does not cut deep into the tile but simply scores the surface.

This is enough to give the ceramic tile a fault-line along which it will crack cleanly and break off without cracking the rest of the tile.

This type of tile cutter does not cut deep enough into the material to work for vinyl plank flooring, and the diamond edge on a ceramic tile cutter is not a suitable cutting edge for the vinyl material.

If you have a laminate and vinyl tile cutter which has a very sharp, guillotine-style blade, then this type of tile cutter is certainly suitable to cut vinyl planks. The guillotine action of this sharp blade will cut completely through the vinyl plank. Sometimes it does not get all the way through the backing, but this can be trimmed through with a utility knife.

Can You Use A Saw To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Hand saw cutting a piece of vinyl plank flooring

A hand saw can be used to cut through vinyl planks, but you do not want to use a rip saw which is intended to cut through rough wood. You would need to use a saw that has relatively fine teeth that will not damage the edge of the vinyl and leave a clean cut.

A handsaw such as a finish cut saw or even a hacksaw will have teeth that are fine enough to cut through the material and leave a smooth edge after the cut.

A flush cut pull saw will also produce a clean, and smooth edge on the vinyl after the cut since the teeth on the saw are designed to produce this type of cut on wood as well.

While it is possible to use a saw to cut vinyl planks, it is much more labor-intensive than other quicker and easier methods to cut this material. Using a handsaw for cutting the vinyl planks will substantially increase the amount of time that the installation of the flooring will take. For this reason, it is not the most efficient way to cut these planks, but if you have no other option, it will work; the job will just take longer.

Can You Use Table Saw To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Close up of a table saw

A table saw can certainly be a very useful tool to cut vinyl planks, especially when performing a rip cut. Essentially, a rip cut is when you cut the planks along the length of the plank. This would mostly be done where the vinyl planks meet the wall on their long edge.

Sometimes on a floor installation, there is not enough room between the second last plank and the wall to fit a full-width vinyl plank. In this instance, you will have to trim the plank down along its length. This is where the table saw will prove handy since the table can support the length of the plank while you push it through the saw.

Rip cuts are not the only way you can use a table saw to cut this material. You can also perform crosscuts of your vinyl planks on the table saw. A crosscut is necessary when you need to trim the length of the plank to make it shorter.

You would need to shorten your planks where they meet the opposite wall at the top or the bottom of the boards. This is especially useful if you are staggering your boards to emulate a staggered timber floor or if to need to trim the length of the planks to cater to obstacles in the path of the plank.

When using your table saw to cut vinyl planks, you will need to change the blade in the table saw to a fine-tooth blade. Blades that have a low tooth per inch (TPI) count will generally make a rougher cut than blades that have a higher TPI count. The high TPI blades will produce a smooth cut in the vinyl planks that will be suitable for easy installation and not rough up the edges.

The rake angle of the teeth on the table saw blade is also an important consideration for cutting vinyl planks. A table saw blade that has teeth with a positive rake angle will cut more aggressively than a blade that has a zero-rake angle or a negative rake angle.

Can You Use Miter Saw To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

A guy working on a mitar saw

A miter saw is a convenient tool to use to cut vinyl planks, but it will only work for certain types of cuts for these planks.

A miter saw pretty much works on the same principle as a table saw, except the blade is moved down toward the material as opposed to the material being pushed into the spinning blade.

The design of a miter saw will limit the type of cuts you can do on a vinyl plank. It will work great for performing crosscuts to shorten vinyl planks to cut angles into the ends of boards to lay them around obstacles.

The one cut that a miter saw cannot do on the vinyl planks is a rip cut. Due to the design of the saw, it is not possible to run the blade down the length of a board or a plank. A miter saw is intended to be a crosscut saw only, even in its traditional application for cutting wood.

Thus, a miter saw will work great as a crosscut saw on your vinyl planks, but if you need to do longitudinal rip cuts, you will have to use one of the other cutting methods that are capable of doing these types of cuts.

The blade that is installed on the miter saw will also make a difference to the cut. Similar to the table saw, it is preferable to use a blade that has a high tooth-per-inch count to make the cuts cleaner and smoother.

The blades on a miter saw are generally already zero-rake of negative rake angle blades. These blades are preferred on miter saws as a matter of course to prevent climb cutting or self-feeding, where the blade pulls the workpiece into the blade.

Can You Use Jigsaw To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Jigsaw cutting a piece of vinyl plank flooring

A jigsaw is a tool that can most certainly be used to cut vinyl planks. A jigsaw gives versatility to the type and shapes of cuts that you can perform on the planks.

The key to using a jigsaw successfully on vinyl planks is to use the correct blade. Blades intended to cut various materials can be purchased for your jigsaw, and they are generally not very expensive. Mostly, jigsaws come packaged with a blade that is intended for wood and provides an aggressive cut.

For cutting vinyl planks, you need a jigsaw blade that is less aggressive and has finer teeth on the blade. The fine teeth will give a smooth cut and not damage the edges of the plank being cut.

When it comes to versatility, the jigsaw is probably the best tool for cutting vinyl floor planks since you can do all the cuts that you need with this one tool.

The jigsaw is most efficient in making smaller cuts and crosscuts but tends to be a little slow when it is used to perform rip cuts along the length of the vinyl planks.

The most useful aspect of using a jigsaw is when you have to make cutouts in the vinyl planks to fit around obstacles such as door jams, pillars, basin pedestals, and the base of toilets.

The jigsaw can easily make these cutouts, even when cutting curves and unusual shapes and angles, which makes the jigsaw one of the most versatile cutting tools for this particular flooring job.

It is easier to cut out tight curves and shapes if the blade installed in your jigsaw is narrow. Wider blades struggle to cut tight corners and curves.

Cutting the planks with a jigsaw does create a bit of a mess, but this problem is easily overcome if you cut over a dustbin or a bucket.

Can You Use Circular Saw To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Circular saw cutting a piece of wood

Circular saws can and often are used to cut vinyl plank flooring, and if you have this type of saw in your garage or woodshop, it can be used very successfully to cut this material.

A circular saw will make the longitudinal rip cuts of these planks a much easier job if you do not have another method to achieve these cuts, such as a table saw. A circular saw will make these cuts a lot faster than a jigsaw as well.

Copyright protected content owner: ReadyToDIY.com and was initially posted on March 8, 2021.

A basic, cheap circular saw is more than suitable for the job and will work well. The only thing you need to make sure of is that the vinyl plank is firmly secured with clamps to a workbench or other solid surface in order to cut the planks safely.

Another very useful circular saw type tool is the mini-handheld circular saw, which is a much less bulky machine than the normal circular saw, and the smaller blade diameter will allow you to make smaller cuts much easier.

Cutting vinyl planks with a circular saw creates a lot of dust and noise. If you are going to be cutting the planks with a circular saw, it is recommended that you do this outside, or at least in your garage or workshop, rather than in the house or the room where you are installing the vinyl flooring.

Can You Use A Dremel To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Dremel saw tool

There are a variety of Dremel tools that have the capability of cutting vinyl planks. One such tool in the Dremel range is the Dremel Trio which works very much the same as a standard plunge router, just on a smaller scale.

The Dremel Trio is great to use for cutouts for shaping the planks to fit around obstacles, but this is the only use you will have for this tool in your flowing job. It is not suitable for doing rip cuts or crosscuts, which are going to be the most common types of cuts during the project.

The Dremel Saw Max is essentially a mini circular saw, which makes it more versatile for the vinyl flooring job than the Trio. You will be able to make cross cuts and rip cuts with this little saw as long as you place a straight edge along the cutline to guide the tool.

Can You Use Utility Knife To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

A gloved hand holding a utility knife with wood table in background

A utility knife, sometimes called a box cutter, is probably the one tool that is most commonly used to cut vinyl planks for flooring. The method involves using the utility knife to score the plank, and then the offcut piece is bent up to snap the plank along the scoreline.

This method of cutting the vinyl planks is known as the score-and-snap method. This method works well and is commonly used, but if you do not do it correctly, the break line after the snap is sometimes not as clean as if the plank was cut.

If you use a utility knife to do the cutting of your vinyl planks, you need to select a good quality knife. One with a steel or wood handle would be best for the job, as you need to exert a fair bit of pressure to get deep enough into the plank.

It is not recommended to use a plastic handled utility knife or a knife that uses snap-off-type blades. When you exert the pressure needed to score the planks, these styles of utility knives could break, and you could cut yourself.

Copyright article owner is ReadyToDiy.com for this article. This post was first published on March 8, 2021.

How To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring

Man on knees preparing to use saw to cut and prepare flooring planks

The method to cut vinyl planks with a utility knife is quite straightforward and can easily be achieved by following a basic step-by-step process.

Step 1: Measure the cut. Measure and mark the cut line on the decorative side of the plank. Make rue to mark the plank on the waste side of the cut.

Step 2: Use a straight edge. Place a steel straight-edge along the marked cutline. Do not use a plastic straight edge; you could cut into it with a sharp utility knife, and your line won’t be straight.

Step 3: Score the vinyl plank. Use the utility knife to score deeply along the cutline. You need to exert enough pressure on the knife to be able to make your cut go at least more than halfway through the material.

Step 4: Flip and snap the vinyl plank. Flip the plank over so that the decorative side is at the bottom. Hold the piece you want to use firmly on a flat surface with your hand or a block of wood close to the cutline. Bend the waste piece up until it snaps off.

This method should give you a quick and easy way to cut your vinyl planks to length, and it is much quicker than taking it to a power tool.

The cut that the utility knife will be most cumbersome with would be a rip cut along the length of the plank.

Final Thoughts

Vinyl plank flooring is a very forgiving material to work with, which is one of the reasons it makes for an easy DIY job that any homeowner would be able to complete without professional help.

Not only is the Viny plank material easy to work with, but you can cut it without going out and purchasing purpose-built tools and equipment to cut the planks to the right dimensions. Most homeowners would have at least one, but most likely several of the tools we have suggested.

If you are considering vinyl plank flooring for your home, you can think no further! It is a great choice, especially in a home with pets and children, since the material is durable and waterproof. It also looks great, so it will add value to your home without costing you a fortune!

Check out our Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation Cost Calculator to estimate your project.

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Can You/Should You Install Vinyl Plank Backwards?

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on March 8, 2021.

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