How to Cut Plastic Molding Without Melting It

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Plastic molding is typically made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and is installed on both the interior and exterior of buildings. It is less challenging to install than wood molding because of its lighter weight and greater flexibility. When traditional cutting blades are used to cut plastic molding, they dull quickly and become clogged with dust, which causes them to overheat. The excessive heat buildup sometimes melts the edges of the molding. When cutting plastic molding, choose a sharper blade that does not dull.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Table clamps
  • Carbide-tipped cutting blade
  • Circular saw, table saw, band saw, reciprocating saw, multiple blade gang rip saw
  • Miter box and miter saw(optional)

Measure the area where you are installing the plastic molding to determine the proper length.

Lay the plastic molding on a flat work table and measure to determine where it must be cut. Draw a line in the location using a pencil. Clamp the molding to the work surface using table clamps so that it hangs off the edge by 2 to 3 inches and the pencil line does not touch the table

Put on safety glasses and install a carbide-tipped cutting blade into a circular saw, band saw, reciprocating saw, multiple blade gang rip saw or other woodworking saw.

Turn the saw on and move the blade toward the pencil line on the plastic molding. Cut all the way through the length of the pencil line at a steady pace, allowing the saw blade to pull its way through with little additional effort. Turn the saw off.

Loosen the table clamps to remove the plastic molding and proceed with installation.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you need to create a corner miter or coped cut, insert the plastic molding into a miter box and use the angle marks on the box to draw the proper cut angle with the pencil. You can cut the molding in the miter box by inserting a miter saw through the angled slit in the box, or you can remove it and cut along the line with the circular saw at the needed angle.

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