What Blade to Use When Cutting Vinyl Railing

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The railing on a vinyl fence supports the vertical pickets.
The railing on a vinyl fence supports the vertical pickets. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Vinyl is a popular material choice for homeowners and builders for a variety of projects. These include fences, deck rails and porch or stairway railings, all of which are exposed to the elements and receive heavy use. Vinyl won't warp or rot like wood. It is also lightweight and inexpensive. Cutting vinyl railing may require special blades to deliver the desired outcome.

Best Blades

Vinyl railing is generally soft enough to cut with most general purpose blades. The best blades for cutting vinyl railing are carbide tip blades. These can be found in several forms including hacksaws for manual cutting and circular saws. Fine-tooth blades deliver the cleanest cuts, which is important because vinyl is difficult to smooth down through sanding.

Specialty Blades

Some saw manufacturers produce specialty blades specifically designed for cutting vinyl. They are appropriate for cutting all types of vinyl railing. They are usually carbide tip blades, and they can also cut wood and other materials. Some manufacturers refer to these blades as vinyl blades, which refers to the material they are designed to cut, not the material their teeth are made of. Vinyl blades are also known as PVC blades, which refers to a specific type of vinyl plastic.

Mitre Cuts

Cutting vinyl railing may require you to cut angled corners at the point where railing changes directions or abuts a fence post at an angle. You can do this using a mitre box and saw. Carbide tip mitre saws allow for manual angle cutting. Power mitre boxes with the same fine-tooth carbide tip blades that are appropriate for circular saws can cut vinyl cleanly at any angle your railing requires.

Cutting Techniques

Cutting vinyl relies on technique as much as having the right type of blade. Vinyl railings become brittle in cold weather. This means that they can shatter if you cut them outside during cool weather or as soon as you bring them indoors. Allow the vinyl to warm up before cutting, especially if you use a general purpose saw blade. Cut slowly with even strokes or by allowing your circular saw to cut into the vinyl gradually, rather than attempting to chop it quickly. This will deliver the cleanest edges and reduce the risk of shattered or chipped railing.

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