With so many types of countertops to choose from, it can be hard to choose before you even consider the cost. You can choose from Granite, quartz, concrete, wood, and one other option that can solve all your patter and cost woes.
Laminate or one specific type called Formica competes at different price points, yet they are considerably more affordable than the stone types above. You often see these sheets stuck to the board using contact cement and sold ready for cutting as your worktop.
Laminate for many homeowners can make a difference and carry out any home renovation without needing professionals. Laminate can also offer many colors and patterns for countertops and much more.
In our guide, you’ll find the words laminate and Formica used interchangeably. While they differ, any installation process will be the same unless you have laminate sheeting rather than laminate work-surface materials.
Here, you can find how to cut laminate sheeting the right way to avoid chipping and breakage. You’ll also learn how to cut the laminate for any home renovation project you have around the home. (Learn How Do You Cut Vinyl Siding)
How Can I Cut Laminate Without Chipping?
Laminate countertops are layers that are glued together and coated with a thin, durable resin topping. Working with the material isn’t too challenging, yet it’s prone to chipping and making dust, depending on how you cut it.
Here you can find the steps of how to cut Formica without chipping, reducing dust, and stopping any wastage.
Tools needed to cut laminate worktop surface
- Circular saw, or table saw
- Tape measure
- Masking tape
- Belt sander or sanding block
- Metal file
- Vacuum cleaner
- Safety goggles/ glasses and face mask
Woodworkers know that a finer cut is achieved with a circular saw blade with more teeth. Because the teeth are tiny, they will deliver a clean cut. If you use a finish blade with many teeth and make sure they are freshly sharp, you can vastly reduce the risks of chipping.
Use masking tape along the cut line and cut through the tape to further reduce the possibilities of chipping. As with any cutting, ensure you measure twice and cut once precisely on the line. If you cut laminate incorrectly, there are not many feasible ways you can work around the issue.
Once you have cut along the line on your tape, you’ll remove the leftovers on the piece of material you will use. The same method and tools are used to cut out the aperture for drop-in sinks in your kitchen. To cut, use a jigsaw after drilling corner holes.
Luckily, while measuring for your sink shape and position is vital, it is one instance when cutting laminate isn’t so precise. Once installed, your drop-in sink will cover the cut edges, so any chips or rough edges on the wood will be hidden.
However, cutting the ends or long edge of your countertop needs more care with the materials to create the perfect straight cut.
- Thoroughly measure the countertop at least twice. Set up your rip guide so your circular saw blade is aligned with the cut line, and mark the line using masking tape.
- Set the saw for your cut with a blade depth of 1/8th inch or less. Cutting slow and steady helps make a precise cut without chipping.
- Set your blade depth higher and make a second pass to cut deeper into the countertop; alternatively, use your jigsaw for the last cut.
- Remove the cut piece once you’ve completed cutting through the countertop.
Your Formica or laminate countertop should have a clean and sharp edge, free from any chipping. You can smooth them more using the sander if you need this done.
Swerves vanish while cutting, leaving a straight line. To avoid lifting the laminate off the countertop or causing a chip, make sure the sanding strokes are down, not up. The process is finished when the fine particles are vacuumed up. (Find the Best Circular Saw)
How Do You Cut Laminate Sheet With Utility Knife?
Formica or laminate is a plastic laminate composite material in different colors and finishes. It can be used in kitchens, cabinet doors, and more. Formica is typically sold in large 4×8 sheets that you’ll need to cut down, so here are the steps you need to carry out a professional installation job.
Before cutting Formica, you need to gather the tools and materials.
- Tape Measure: – A tape measure is a flexible ruler for measuring and marking material length and width.
- Pencil and Ruler: A ruler is preferable, while a tape measure often marks Formica. Rulers are sturdier than tape measures.
- Masking tape: use this to enhance the visibility of a marking or line and protect the Formica edges.
- Plywood and clamps: Because of Formica sheets’ size, you’ll need something to support them as you cut.
Circular saw, laminate router bit, table saw, miter saw, or utility knife are alternatives for cutting Formica.
The latter is the cheapest and most readily available of the four. With a utility knife, a steady hand is all you need.
Steps for Cutting Formica
Here are the steps to cut laminate sheets along an edge with them chipping.
Step 1: Get Your Formica Ready
To begin, you’ll need your laminate sheets. If you have the option for a smaller laminate sheet, get the one closest to what you need to cover.
Step 2: Measure the Area
Measure the length and width of the area you wish to cover using your measuring tape.
Step 3: Mark the Formica Surface.
Mark the lines on the laminate sheet to cut using the measuring tape, ruler, and pencil. Check to see if your measurements are correct once more. (Learn How To Remove Linoleum)
Step 4: Tape The Line With Masking Tape
Apply your masking tape to the surface of your laminate where you need to cut your straight edge. Once applied, take your pencil and trace the pencil mark line if it isn’t visible after applying your masking tape.
Step 5: Secure Your Formica
Place a piece of plywood on top of the Formica to help secure it. Make sure the plywood isn’t along with the markings where you will be cutting. All this is for is to keep your Formica in position. Secure the plywood to your workbench using two clamps.
Step 6: Cut the Formica
Make a clean cut using a utility knife, following the markings you’ve made. Once you’ve started cutting one side, keep moving the utility knife for as long as you can to get a good cut. Your method will get better the more you cut this way.
Step 7: Remove Any
When you lift the Formica from your work table, the wasted portion breaks off easily, showing that you’ve made a clean cut. If the excess bits don’t separate smoothly, try cutting the Formica sheet again with your tools.