How to Cut Preformed Laminate Countertops

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Preformed laminate countertops make installation easy.These countertops are available in a number of typical widths and shapes. You don't have to worry about learning how to finish the edges of the countertop or add back splashes. You still need to know how to cut preformed laminate countertops in order to install a sink or adjust the length to your needs. Learning how to prepare the laminate for cutting and what tools to use will make this job go smoothly.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Drill
  • 1/4" wood drill bit
  • Jigsaw
  • Fine tooth down stroke jigsaw blade (for metal or a carbide blade)
  • Measure and mark where you will cut your laminate countertop, using a tape measure and a pencil, with the laminate side face up.

  • Place masking tape on the center of the cutting marks on the countertop (not the exposed substrate underneath). Mark the tape clearly so you can follow the cutting line. The masking tape also helps to prevent the laminate from chipping as you work.

  • Hold your drill so the bit is on the tape and inside your cut mark (in the area that will be cut out and discarded) and then drill through the countertop. Drill through the tape; it will help keep the drill bit on course and prevent it from sliding off the mark on the slick laminate surface. This hole is where you will insert the blade of the jigsaw to begin cutting.

  • Follow the instructions for your jigsaw to install your metal or carbide blade into the saw. Turn the speed setting to between '0' and '1.'

  • Place the blade into the hole you just drilled and begin cutting the laminate. Cut from the drilled hole to the cut mark and then follow the cut mark. Keep a firm steady pressure on the jigsaw and do not start and stop the saw as you cut, as this increases the chances of the laminate catching on the blade and chipping.

Tips & Warnings

  • Turn off the orbital action on your jigsaw (see your owner's manual), this will help prevent chipping on the laminate as the blade will be restricted to an up and down movement. You will have to maintain a firm downward pressure on the jigsaw while using it without the orbital motion to cut easily.
  • Do not cut from the underside of the laminate countertop, as this can increase chipping on the laminate surface.

References

  • Photo Credit fret-saw image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com
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