What is the best way to cut vinyl flooring?
Vinyl plank flooring usually comes in pre-cut sections, but you’ll likely need to cut some of it yourself to match it to the specific dimensions of your room. There are two basic methods, and you’ll choose your method based on the part of the vinyl plank that you want to cut. Scoring and snapping is the preferred method for smaller pieces, while a jigsaw will come in handy when it comes time to cut lengthwise. Remember, always wear protective eyewear when cutting materials, and make sure that you handle power tools carefully.
Measuring Your Cut
Use a tape measure to calculate your cut. You can use a cloth measuring tape if you want, but it’s easier to use a self-retracting tape measure, since they have a metal lip on the end to attach it to one end of your flooring. To do this, press the metal lip on the right angle where your vinyl plank ends and pull on your tape measure. Pull it towards the location where you want to make your cut and measure the necessary length by checking the measurements printed on the tape.
You can use a foldable ruler instead of a measuring tape if you’d like. Foldable rulers are good for measuring cuts because they snap into place to create a straight edge.
Calculate short 90-degree cuts with a framing square. A framing square is a triangular metal tool used to make perfect 90-degree measurements. To use one, hold your framing square flat against the plank that you wish to cut. Press the flared base against the bottom of the plank and hold it in place by applying a little pressure. To change the location of your angle, simply slide it across the bottom of your vinyl plank.
A framing square is sometimes called a carpenter square.
Mark the section that you need to cut with a grease marker or carpentry pencil. With your ruler or framing square firmly in place, mark the section where you want to cut with your marker or pencil. You can make small indicating marks or draw the entire line, based on your personal preferences.
If your vinyl plank is darker in color, you probably won’t be able to use a carpentry pencil. You could opt for some white chalk though.
Remeasure your marks to ensure accuracy. The phrase “measure twice, cut once” exists for a reason. You can’t reattach material that you’ve cut too short, so double-check your measurements before cutting.
If you can, remeasure the location that you plan on putting your plank as well. This will give you two independent measurements to confirm your calculations.
Making the First Cut
Now that all of your measurements are down and your floor is clean, except for the chalk lines of course, it’s time to cut.
We will take you through the process step by step. Useful tips on preferred methods and tools should help you understand the best way to cut vinyl plank flooring.
Determine How Wide the Last Row Is
This should be the first cut you make. Determine the width of the last row of vinyl plank flooring. If the width is less than ⅓ of a plank, cut roughly ⅓ of the plank in the first row. This will ensure an even start and finish of the rows and reduce the number of rejects.
For this step you will need a T-square and a utility knife or a handsaw. Whether you use a handsaw or a utility knife may depend of the type of vinyl plank flooring you purchased. Some brands may be thicker than others.
To avoid fatigue and chipping, it is advisable to use an electric handsaw. The Black & Decker 3.4 Amp Navigator Combo Set is an excellent option. It has a 4600 SPM motor and can cut wood, metal and plastic. It comes with 3 additional blades: a curve-cutting blade, a metal-cutting blade and a general-purpose blade. These may allow you to cut grooves under doorjambs and snugly place the planks underneath.
Getting the First Row Down
You need to remove the tongue from the plank. The easiest way to do this is by using a utility knife. The Milwaukee Fastback Flip Open Utility Knife is one of the best sellers. With almost 500 positive customer reviews and the included wire stripper, it is definitely worth checking out.
Once you’ve cut the tongues, you should lay the first row with the cut side facing the wall. Also, carefully place the vinyl planks to keep an even expansion gap between them and the wall.
Putting the Planks in Place
Your first plank is down. Take the second one, put it at a slight angle against the first, and fold gently until they click into place. You should note, the final piece should be bigger than 6 inches. If not, you can take a bit from the first plank.
Finishing Off the Rows
To fit the last piece you can score it using a utility knife and break off the excess piece. Use a T-square to ensure an even cut. It is useful to use the extra piece to begin new rows, as long as they are 6 or more inches long. This ensures a uniform layout and reduces the number of excess pieces in the end.
How to Cut Curves and Notches on Vinyl Plank Flooring
Curves and notched cutouts aren’t quite as simple as straight crosscuts and rip cuts because you’re not breaking off the waste in one straight piece. To make a notch, you have to break the two end cuts (crosscuts) first, then break the single cut (rip cut) at the bottom of the notch.
To make curved cuts, you can use a utility knife and score the cutting line freehand, without a straightedge or square. You can also use aviation snips, which are all-purpose tin snips with pointed jaws that make detailed cuts better than the long, scissor-like jaws of traditional tin snips. The advantage to using aviation snips is that you don’t have to snap the material, which can be difficult with tight curves and holes. If you’re using the score-and-snap method for tight curves, it can help to snap the plank with a pair of pliers.
How To Cut Vinyl PVC Flooring?
Most vinyl floors can generally be cut with little effort – even without special tools. No matter whether it is a heterogeneous PVC tile or homogeneous vinyl floor sheet with a relatively low material thickness between 2 mm and 5 mm or a click vinyl floor plank on HDF supports with a thickness of approx. 6 mm to 10 mm.
Cut Vinyl Floor Rolls (PVC Sheets)
- A simple, sharp cutter knife, a pen, and a cutting rail or angle are enough to cut a vinyl floor from the vinyl sheet.
- To do this, simply mark the cut edge with a pen and cut the surface of the vinyl floor with the cutter.
- The rail ensures that both the marking and the cut are straight and at the correct angle.
- With a correspondingly low material thickness and a little force, one cut is usually sufficient to cut the vinyl floor exactly.
Cut Click Vinyl Floor Tiles (PVC Planks)
- Click vinyl floors can also be cut to size quickly and precisely using a commercially available cutter or carpet knife – even vinyl floors with HDF core boards or cork.
- After the interface has been marked with a pen and an angle or a rail, the surface of the vinyl floor is slightly scratched with the knife.
- If the ends of the vinyl floor tiles are pressed down – ideally on a table edge or above the knee – the click vinyl breaks at the predetermined breaking point and a clean edge is created.
- With short edge pieces that can no longer be broken easily by hand, it helps to bend the short side with pliers.
How to prepare the subfloor for your vinyl floor
The first thing to do when installing a vinyl floor is to thoroughly inspect the existing floor. Any bumps or irregularities in the subfloor will cause problems later on in the process. We therefore recommend taking plenty of time for a thorough preparation.
First of all, remove all existing soft floor covering such as carpeting, felt and vinyl. Hard floor covering, such as tiles and linoleum can stay in place, unless there are too many irregularities. We also recommend removing any laminate. Are you uncertain about what to do? Don’t hesitate to call your distributor. He will be able to give you professional advice.
Do you have a wooden floor? Check for any traces of mould or insect infestations and make sure that the moisture content of the wood does not exceed 10%. If there is a crawl space underneath your wooden subfloor, contact a professional installer. He will be able to give you more information.
The ideal moisture content for a subfloor must be less then 2.5% CM if the subfloor is cement screed, and 0.5% CM if it is an anhydrite subfloor. If you have underfloor heating, this should be 1.5% for cement screed and 0.3% for anhydrite subfloors. Use a moisture meter and keep track of the moisture content.
Underfloor heating incorporated into the subfloor will not create any problems as long as the contact temperature does not exceed 28°C. Remember to switch off your underfloor heating 24 hours before and after installing your flooring. We do not recommend installing a vinyl floor on top of a floating underfloor heating system.
It is absolutely essential that the subfloor is completely level. Cement joints measuring more than 1 mm in depth must be levelled out. The same applies to any differences in height exceeding 2 mm over a length of 1 m. Using a simple wooden plank, you can easily detect any differences in height.
Use a levelling compound to smooth out any minor irregularities. Using the right underlay will help you overcome many problems.
We’re almost ready for the next step now. As soon as the subfloor is completely level, make sure that it’s also perfectly dry and clean. Remove all traces of grease, chemical residue and glue. Make sure that there are no stray nails left anywhere and sweep and vacuum the floor. We recommend removing your old skirting boards. As soon as the new vinyl floor is in place, you can install new skirtings.