Are you planning to install a laminate countertop in your kitchen? You might have bought the material but it turned out to be too big for your modest needs. While you’ll need to cut the countertop, there’s a high chance you don’t know how to, and might end up ruining the factory finish. Therefore, in this guide, we will give you a few tips and tricks on how to cut laminate countertop with a table saw.
Laminate is a flexible material and with a large enough surface area, it easily flexes. But it is quite brittle when it reaches a point where it can no longer flex. When cutting with ordinary saws, you might cause the countertop to chip or splinter and consequently ruin the finish of your countertop.
Using a table saw is the easiest method to cut a laminate countertop. Moreover, there are a few things you should keep in mind to maintain the factory finish.
Circular Saw vs Table Saw
There are many people who will use a circular saw in place of a table saw for different tasks. Although the circular saw is the better option in terms of portability, a table saw is more powerful, accurate, and generally achieves the best results. Nevertheless, you can use both tools to cutting a laminate countertop.
A table saw costs more money when compared to a circular saw. Also, it takes up more space and you’ll struggle to move it around. On the other hand, the circular saw is cheaper and it can work without the added power cord. Therefore, the circular saw is quite handy during a power outage. Once the battery runs out you’ll need to pause, and charge them before resuming.
How to Cut Laminate Countertop with a Table Saw
For this job, you will need masking tape and a high tooth count carbide blade; a 102 teeth carbide blade will do just fine for the task. The carbide blade and high teeth count will cut cleanly and avoid splintering so that you can get a factory finish. A normal table saw blade won’t deliver the desired results and you might need to replace the cutting implement.
First off, unplug the table saw by disconnecting the power cord from the power source before replacing your normal table saw blade with the carbide one. Whenever you are handling the blade or conducting regular saw maintenance, you should always disconnect the cord.
Replace the normal table saw blade with the carbide blade. The high teeth count on the new blade creates a cleaner finished cut.
Apply masking tape where you want to make the cut. Even though this is unnecessary when using a high teeth count carbide blade, you should always take precautions and mark your intended trajectory to ensure a smooth job. The masking tape is usually used to keep the laminate from splintering.
Place the countertop laminate facing upward on the table saw. Connect the power cord to an outlet and power switch it on. Slowly guide the countertop forward letting the blade cut it from the bottom as it moves up.
Guide the countertop all the way to the end. If you are working with a narrow piece, use the pushing sticks to push the narrow end. Once it is cut, you can peel off the tape to check the finish quality.
After cutting, you are now ready to install the laminate countertop wherever you want to.
Things to Be Careful of When Cutting a Laminate Countertop with a Table Saw
- A table saw is a dangerous tool especially if you don’t know how it works. Therefore, get some practice using pieces of scrap wood. Additionally, you should always use push sticks and always wear protective gear at all times when using a table saw.
- You can cut a laminate countertop with a normal table saw blade as well. However, you will not get a fine finish as opposed to using a high tooth count carbide blade. You’ll need to sand off the end product if you use a regular table saw blade to get perfect edges.
- If the countertop is too big, you will need to take the fence off the table saw. It will ensure that the whole piece fits and sits flat on the table.
- If you are unsure of how to replace a table saw blade, check the user’s manual or an online tutorial.
- Always make sure you work with clear measurements. If you use approximate units, you’ll end up cutting more or less than you need to, ruin the piece of wood, and waste a lot of money getting a replacement.
DEWALT 10-Inch Table Saw
Blade Length: 22 Inches
Dimensions: 31 x 24.5 x 31 Inches
Power Source: Corded Electric
Motor: 15.0A High Torque
Includes: Dewalt Table Saw, 10 Inch 24-Tooth Carbide Blade, Rolling Stand, Push Stick, Miter Gauge, Rip Fence, 2x Blade Wrenches, Blade Guard Assembly Manual