With the DIY wave now in full swing, there are many claims on various online platforms that a utility knife can get the job done as far as cutting laminate flooring goes. But is there any truth to these claims or are they just another internet fallacy?
You can cut laminate with a utility knife, but the blade must be sharp and tough to produce clean cuts. You must also preheat the material to make it more flexible and cut it face-down.
In this article, I’ll give you tips and a step-by-step guide on how to cut your laminate flooring using a utility knife. Keep reading for that and more.
Rules to Follow When Cutting Laminate With a Utility Knife
A utility knife is not the ideal tool for cutting laminate because it increases your chances of damaging the flooring material. It also makes some cuts harder, especially around corners and door frames. Still, you can use it if you don’t have a saw.
There are a few rules you must follow, however:
- Wear safety essentials. Wear gloves, a mask, and goggles to protect yourself from dust and injury.
- Only use a sharp blade. Cutting laminate with a utility knife is already difficult; the last thing you want is to do it with a blunt knife. Not only will this be a hassle, but it can also chip or crack the flooring material.
- Preheat the material. Preheating the material makes it easier to cut. It also improves the laminate’s flexibility, making complicated nonlinear cuts much simpler.
- Choose a hard blade. The knife blade you use to cut laminate flooring should be made of hard materials like steel. It should also be thick enough that it doesn’t bend or break easily. Laminate can be tough to cut, and it’s not uncommon for utility knives to give out in the middle of an intricate cut.
- Cut your laminate flooring face down. Most laminate floorboards have a plastic surface coating susceptible to chipping or cracking. This surface can get damaged even when cutting along a straight line, so cut the board from the back to create a straight edge and avoid mistakes.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting Your Laminate Floor With a Utility Knife
Here is an easy step-by-step guide on how to cut your laminate flooring using a utility knife.
1. Gather the Essentials
Before you start, collect the following tools and materials:
- Utility knife
- Laminate flooring planks
- Measuring tape
- Tape or marker
- Soft fabric or towel
- Hard surface or wood
2. Measure the Planks
Now that you have everything you need, start by measuring the laminate material to ensure the thickness is suitable for the job.
The ideal measurements will depend on the type of laminate material you use. Laminate planks are cut differently from tiles, self-adhering flexible, and sheet laminate.
3. Mark Where to Cut
- Place a plain piece of paper on your laminate material.
- Mark where you will make the first cut with the utility knife. The markings should be 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) from the edge to prevent it from chipping or splitting afterward.
- Draw a line using a marker and measuring tape. Ensure your measurements are precise.
4. Cut the Laminate Flooring
- Cut along the marked line.
- Place another plain piece of paper on a different part of the laminate material.
- Repeat the marking process in step 3 above and cut along the marked lines.
- Repeat the marking and cutting on all your laminate floor material according to the types of cuts you need for your room.
5. Allow the Planks to Set and Lay the Laminate Flooring
Let them sit overnight to settle and bond evenly before you use laminate planks. Bonding helps prevent the planks from peeling off or chipping on the edges.
Once the planks have bonded, proceed to lay the flooring in the following steps:
- Start by laying down some pieces without screwing, gluing, or nailing them so you know where they should go first.
- Although optional, you can use a glue gun to hold laminate planks in place before you screw or nail them. Just make sure you choose a glue that’s safe for laminate flooring.
- Screw or nail each laminate plank’s ends or tips into the flooring. Ensure you lay them properly and flat.
- Measure the size of the laminate and cut them down to your desired length.
- For tiles with self-adhering laminate, press them into place to stick firmly on your flooring.
- Fill any gaps with your desired filler. I recommend wood putty or glue.
You may also like to read: What Is the Best Repair Kit for Laminate Countertops?
Best Type of Utility Knife to Cut Laminate Flooring
A utility knife is one of the most versatile tools for cutting laminate flooring for short-term projects and DIYs. You can also use it to score the laminate so that you can snap the board and install it into place.
Once you mark the laminate material, you can use a utility knife to score a line across it. A straight-edge blade is the best to maintain a straight line when scoring. Since most laminates are similar, the primary method of cutting them with a utility knife is identical.
Using a knife with a carbon steel or carbide-tipped blade is advisable because they are tough and can withstand cutting through hard material.
We recommend this Morakniv Companion Steel Blade Knife (available on Amazon). It has a 4.1-inch long blade and a patterned, high-friction grip that makes it easy to handle. It also comes with a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
You can use any type of utility knife for the job. However, a carpet knife is the best option because it is sharper than most standard knives. Its design also gives it greater precision.
Another excellent option for cutting your laminate floor is a linoleum knife due to its curved blade. Check out this easy-to-hold Irwin Linoleum Knife. It comes with a durable hardwood handle and a curved edge to cut on the pull.
The ideal tool to cut your laminate flooring is a saw, but you can also use any utility knife. The most important thing is to use a sharp blade and a guide to ensure precise cuts. Also, you must be careful not to mess up the laminate material or hurt yourself.
If you follow the above tips, you will easily cut your laminate flooring with a utility knife.