Since vinyl tiles are available in specific, pre-cut sizes, homeowners are often left with no choice but to trim the material to their needed size. This allows them to fit the vinyl tile around furniture or along the wall edges.
Don't worry; vinyl plank floors are relatively easy to cut and install. For one, you don't need to rent heavy machinery to cut vinyl to size– as simple cutting tools can do the job well. (Related: Top Vinyl Floor Cutters to Make Your Install Go Smooth) Below, we'll discuss the most common tools you can use to trim tiles. Let's get started!
Materials Needed to Cut Vinyl Floor Tiles
There's no need to get intimidated by the process, as you'll find it can be a relatively simple task to accomplish. As you start, first gather everything you need for the task. Here are some of the most common tools and materials you can use to trim vinyl floor tiles.
Pro tip: Experts recommend that you let your vinyl floor tiles sit for 48 hours in the room they will be installed. This allows the material to adapt to the new temperature and humidity levels.
1. Utility Knife
Also known as a box cutter, a utility knife is the most common tool to cut vinyl plank floors. The knife is used to score the plank before bending the offcut piece to snap the plank across the scoreline using the score-and-snap method.
You'll find that this method works well if you're precise and careful. In any mishap, the break line after the snap may not appear clean.
What to keep in mind: Always use a good-quality knife to cut your vinyl planks. We recommend choosing a utility knife that has a stainless steel or wooden handle so you can firmly grip the tool to exert just the correct pressure.
2. Tile Cutter
A tile cutter is another tool you can consider in cutting your vinyl plank floors. But, this will depend on the specific type of tile cutter. Ceramic tile cutters are not ideal for the job, as they may score the floors' surface. Eventually, the fault-line may crack and break off.
The ideal tile cutter to use is a laminate and vinyl tile cutter, which has very sharp blades. It cuts through the plank cleanly. In some cases, the tile cutter may not get through the backing. You can use a utility knife to complete the job.
3. Hand Saw
Some homeowners use a handsaw to trim their vinyl planks down to size. However, avoid using a rip saw, specifically designed to cut through wood material.
The ideal hand saw is with fine teeth (finish cut) or a hacksaw– as it leaves a clean-cut and does not damage the vinyl's edges. You may also use a flush-cut pull saw to leave a smooth edge cut on the vinyl planks.
What to keep in mind: Using a handsaw to cut vinyl will take you more time as the process is laborious and extensive. Homeowners who want to get the job done swiftly may better choose other tools to cut the vinyl planks. But, if you are left with no other option, a handsaw will work just fine. Ensure you have the luxury of time to commit to the task at hand, though.
4. Table Saw
The following tool to cut your vinyl planks is a table saw, which helps do a rip cut (AKA cutting the planks along its length).
This is commonly done when there's not enough room between the second last plank and the wall to fit a full vinyl plank. A table saw can support the plank's length as you push through the saw blades.
Another cut you can make on vinyl planks with a table saw is a crosscut, where you can trim the length to make it shorter. This is commonly done if you want to emulate a staggered timber floor or cater to several obstacles in your path.
What to keep in mind: Using a table saw to cut the vinyl planks, it's best to change the blade to a fine-tooth edge. Blades with a higher tooth per inch (TPI) count produce a fine, smooth cut. This makes the installation much easier as it won't give you rough edges.
5. Miter Saw
A miter saw is another accessible tool that can help you cut vinyl planks. But, it will only work for certain cut types.
For your reference, a miter saw is similar to a table saw. But, the blade is moved toward the material instead of being pushed into the spinning blade. Its particular design limits the possible cut types. For one, you can't do a rip cut. However, it can give you perfect crosscuts.
What to keep in mind: The blade on the miter saw will also determine its cut. Like the table saw, it's better to use a blade with a higher TPI count to ensure clean and smooth trims.
Another tool to cut down vinyl planks to size is a jigsaw. Many homeowners prefer using a jigsaw as it offers versatile types and shapes of cuts.
In fact, you can do every cut you need with this tool. It is best suited for making more minor cuts and crosscuts, although it is a little slower when it comes to rip-cuts along the vinyl plank's length.
What to keep in mind: As we've mentioned, it is always ideal to use the correct blade for the specific saw you have on hand. Distinct blades to cut different materials are sold for jigsaws, which usually doesn't cost much. Opt for less aggressive blades with finer TPI count, giving a smoother cut. It also protects the edges of your vinyl planks.
7. Circular Saw
Some homeowners who have circular saws in their garage or woodshop can use this tool to cut vinyl plank flooring. It is efficient at making longitudinal rip cuts faster than a jigsaw.
What to keep in mind: Ensure that the vinyl planks are secured with clamps to a solid surface, such as a workbench, to trim the planks safely. Also, using a circular saw to trim your vinyl planks will release dust, and the process will be noisy. It's recommended to do the task inside your garage or workshop to keep the mess contained.
The good news is: there are different Dremel tools to cut vinyl planks well. After inventing the high-speed rotary tool in 1934, Dremel has been renowned worldwide for high-quality tools used on various applications.
The Dremel Trio is similar to a standard plunge router (although smaller). It is also excellent in making cutouts and shaping the planks around obstacles. However, it's not recommended to do rip cuts or cross cuts, which other tools can do quickly.
There's also the Dremel Saw Max, a mini circular saw. It can be more versatile in trimming your vinyl planks as it allows cross cuts and rip-cuts, provided you place a straight edge that can guide the tool.
We all love how easy it is to work with vinyl plank floors. Case in point: you can easily cut the material to the desired size using standard tools you have at home.
However, we strongly recommend professional help if you're not 100% confident enough to take on the job yourself. Aside from being a dangerous project to take on, it can also be costly if you make any mistakes.
Consider it an excellent investment, as it ensures correct and safe results!