Due to its affordable price point, low maintenance, and ease of installation, laminate floors have rapidly become one of the most popular flooring options on the market. A type of floating floor, laminate flooring does not require nails, screws, or glue and is a great project for a motivated do-it-yourselfer. One of the most common questions during this process is how to cut laminate flooring. Luckily, with a few basic power tools, anyone can make the cuts they need for a quality flooring installation.

how to cut laminate flooring
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych

An Overview of How to Cut Laminate Flooring

The best way to cut laminate flooring is with power tools, the same way you would cut wood. The side of the flooring you cut should always be installed against the wall. Always leave a ⅛”-¼” gap between your flooring and your wall. This makes it easier to install and allows for the expansion of your walls. Your baseboard will typically cover a ½”- ¾” gap between your flooring and your wall, depending on your baseboard.

how to cut laminate flooring
Photo by James Kovin

Tools For Cutting Laminate Flooring

  • Mitre saw
    • Use this to cut your flooring to length.
      • Example: Your piece of flooring is 3″ wide and 12″ long. You need it to be 3″ wide and 10 inches long. Use a miter saw to cut your piece to 10″.
  • Table saw
    • Use this to cut your flooring to width for straight, even cuts.
      • Cutting something to width is referred to as “ripping” or a “rip” cut.
        • Example: Your piece of flooring is 3″ wide and 12″ long. You need it to be 2″ wide by 12″ long. Set the fence on your table saw 2″ away from the blade and cut off the side that will be against the wall.
  • Circular saw
    • Use this to cut your flooring to width for straight, angled, and tapered cuts.
      • Example: Your piece of flooring is 3″ wide and 12″ long. You need to cut it so that it is 2″ wide on the left side and 2 ½” on the right side. Mark each measurement and draw a line connecting them with the straight edge. Cut along this line with a circular saw.
  • Jig Saw
    • Use this to cut notches out of your flooring.
  • Utility Knife
    • This can be useful to clean up notch cuts or shave small amounts of material off of your flooring.
  • Tape Measure
    • A tape measure will be essential to measure your cuts.
  • Washable Marker
    • Pencil marks can be hard to see on dark laminate flooring. Using a washable marker allows you to make distinctive marks while still being able to wipe off any lines that may be visible after installation. 
  • Square
    • Use this to make straight, ninety-degree lines on your flooring.
  • Straight edge
    • A straight edge can be a level, a framing square, or a long, straight board. You will use this if you need to mark a tapered rip.
      • Example: Your piece of flooring is 3″ wide and 12″ long. You need to cut it so that it is 2″ wide on the left side and 2 ½” on the right side. Mark each measurement and draw a line connecting them with the straight edge. Cut along this line with a circular saw.
how to cut laminate flooring
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych

How to Cut Laminate Flooring to Length

With your measuring tape, measure the distance between your last piece of flooring and the wall. Subtract an extra ⅛”-¼” from your measurement so that you have a small gap between your flooring and your wall. This ensures that your walls have room for expansion and makes installation easier by giving yourself a little wiggle room. Mark your measurement on your piece of flooring and cut it on your miter saw. 

  • Example: You are laying your flooring left to right. 
  1. You measure the distance between your last piece of flooring on your left and the wall on your right. Let’s say this measurement is 10″. 
  2. Subtract an extra ⅛”-¼” from your measurement for your wall gap. Your new measurement would be between 9 ⅞” and 9 ¾”. 
  3. Hook your measuring tape on the left side of your flooring and pull the tape right—mark your measurement. 
  4. Cut your marked piece of flooring on your miter saw.

Note: Check your baseboard’s thickness to ensure it will cover your wall gap.

how to cut laminate flooring
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych

How to Cut Laminate Flooring to Width

Cutting something to width is called “ripping” or making a “rip” cut. 

  • Example: You have a piece of flooring that is 3″ wide and 12″ long. Cutting this piece of flooring so that it is 2″ wide and 12″ long would be cutting it to width or “ripping” it.

With your measuring tape, measure the distance between your last piece of flooring and the wall. Subtract an extra ⅛”-¼” from your measurement so that you have a small gap between your flooring and your wall. This ensures that your walls have room for expansion and makes installation easier by giving yourself a little wiggle room. Mark your measurement on your piece of flooring and cut it on your table saw. 

  • Example: You are kneeling on your last row of flooring, looking at a gap between your flooring and the wall.
  1. You measure the distance between your flooring and the wall. Let’s call this measurement 2 ½”.
  2. Subtract an extra ⅛”-¼” from your measurement for your wall gap. Your new measurement would be between 2 ⅜” and 2 ¼”. 
  3. Set the fence on your table saw so that the distance between the fence and the blade equals your new measurement.
  4. Cut your piece of flooring on the table saw.
how to cut laminate flooring
Photo by Jurre Houtkamp

How to Cut Laminate Flooring to Uneven Width

Sometimes the space between your flooring and the wall is uneven—for example, 2″ on the left and 3″ on the right. A table saw can only safely cut a straight, even line. However, using a straight edge and a circular saw, you can cut this uneven piece of flooring.

  • Example: You are kneeling on your last row of flooring, looking at a gap between your flooring and the wall.
  1. You measure the distance between your flooring and the wall. Let’s call this measurement 2″ on the left and 3″ on the right.
  2. Subtract an extra ⅛”-¼” from your measurement for your wall gap. Your new measurements would be between 1 ⅞” and 1 ¾” on the left side and 2 ⅞” and 2 ¾” on the right side.
  3. Hook your tape on the left side of the front edge of the flooring and pull towards the back—mark your measurement.
  4. Hook your tape on the right side of the front edge of the flooring and pull towards the back—mark your measurement. 
  5. With a straight edge, connect these two marks and draw a line.
  6. Cut along this line with your circular saw.

Note: When you have a piece of flooring that needs to be cut to length and width, always cut it to length first.

how to cut laminate flooring
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych

Tips on How to Cut Laminate Flooring

  • Put new finish blades on all of your tools at the beginning of the project. This will help prevent chipping on the face of your flooring.
  • Always make your cuts with the finished side of the flooring facing up. This will help prevent chipping on the face of your flooring.
  • Use a washable marker when marking your cuts. 
  • Always leave a ⅛”-¼” gap between your flooring and your wall. This makes it easier to install and allows for the expansion of your walls. Your baseboard will cover between a ½”-¾” gap, depending on what type of baseboard you use.
  • If a piece of flooring needs to be cut to length and width, always cut to length first.
how to cut laminate flooring
Photo by Jill Burrow

How to Cut Laminate Flooring- In Conclusion

How to cut laminate flooring is a common question when taking on a home improvement project, but don’t be intimidated. With the knowledge from this article and a little elbow grease, you can install your own professional-looking floor.

how to cut laminate flooring
Photo by Mo Freeman
Editorial Contributors
Andrew Arena

Andrew Arena

Andrew Arena is an accomplished writer specializing in a wide range of home improvement topics, including flooring, plumbing, and other essential aspects of home maintenance. With a passion for empowering homeowners with practical knowledge, Andrew's writing is known for its clarity and ability to break down complex concepts into easily digestible information. His expertise spans various flooring materials, plumbing systems, and maintenance techniques, making him a reliable source for readers seeking guidance on enhancing their living spaces. Andrew's articles provide valuable insights, tips, and step-by-step instructions, helping readers make informed decisions about flooring options, troubleshoot plumbing issues, and undertake DIY projects with confidence. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a homeowner in need of professional guidance, Andrew's writing is sure to equip you with the necessary knowledge to transform your home into a functional and aesthetically pleasing haven.

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