How to Cut Vinyl Flooring
So you've decided vinyl flooring is the best flooring option for you. Good choice! Now you just have to figure out how to install it, including the proper way to cut vinyl flooring. Unlike tile or hardwood, vinyl flooring is pretty easy for a DIYer to install. Even installing sheet vinyl, which can be intimidating for first-time installers, is easy once you learn a few tricks of the trade. By taking some time to learn how to cut vinyl flooring beforehand, you can increase your odds of a high-quality installation that makes the most of your investment.
So, what are you waiting for? Read ahead to learn how to cut vinyl flooring, from vinyl planks to tiles to sheet vinyl, like a pro.
Before You Begin
When initially cutting your sheet vinyl for your space, be sure to thoroughly measure the space's dimensions and add a full three inches to each side. If you cut the vinyl sheet too small, it's virtually impossible to install it successfully.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Utility knife
- Utility knife contour blade (optional)
- Carpenter's speed square
- Straightedge cutting guide
- Chalk snap line
- Measuring tape
- Safety glasses
- Vinyl flooring
How to Cut Sheet Vinyl Flooring
With a little prep work, cutting sheet vinyl is a quick and easy process.
Prep the Vinyl Sheet
Before laying the sheet in the room, use a measuring tape, a chalk snap line, and a utility knife to cut it to the dimensions of the room plus 3 inches on each side.
Using dull utility knife blades is much more dangerous than using sharp blades.
Acclimate the Vinyl Sheet
Spread the vinyl sheet out in the room and let it sit to acclimate for 24 to 72 hours, or whatever time is specified by the manufacturer. If the room has floor heat, turn it off ahead of time and leave it off until after installation.
Relief the Corners
The first cuts will be in each corner. This allows the vinyl to rest closer to the walls by preventing bunching in the corner. To do so, follow these steps:
- Grab the corner and press each side as close to the wall as possible until their meeting point rests in the corner of the room.
- Use a sharp utility knife to make one cut from the corner of the room upward toward the corner of the vinyl. Each side should now rest against the corresponding walls without any material bunching in the corner.
Cut Around Objects
If your room has protruding objects such as pipes, follow this process for cutting the vinyl sheet around them:
- Press the vinyl tightly against the object and the surrounding floor.
- Make one cut upward from the floor directly in the middle of the vinyl where it meets the object, allowing the vinyl to fall on each side of the object.
- Make small V-shaped cuts around the object, starting at the middle line and working around to the back of the object.
- Once the sheet sits tightly around the object, cut around the perimeter to remove the excess material.
Cut the Perimeter
Once the vinyl sheet is sitting as tightly against the floor and walls as possible, it's time to remove the material around the perimeter. Working one wall at a time, follow this process:
- Slide a 2x4 flat against the wall to tightly press the material into the crevice.
- Remove the 2x4 and cut the sheet at the fold in the material at the wall with a vinyl flooring knife or a sharp utility knife.
- If by chance the cut leaves the material closer than 1/4 inch to the wall, use a straight edge to cut it back until you have a 1/4-inch gap between the flooring and the wall.
Cut Out the Floor Vents
After the vinyl has been bonded to the floor and had time to dry, reenter the room to cut out the floor vents. Locate each vent and press down on the vinyl to confirm its location. Starting in the middle of the vent, use a utility knife to cut toward each corner. Next, simply cut the excess material along the edges of the vent.
How to Cut Vinyl Planks and Vinyl Tiles
Most vinyl planks and vinyl tiles can be cut using a utility knife, just like sheet vinyl. For thin vinyl tiles, a sharp utility knife will cut directly through the material. For vinyl plank flooring, a utility knife will score the material, allowing you to snap it at the score.
For those that aren't confident using a utility knife, vinyl flooring cutters are available. There are many different iterations of this tool, but they all have a similar design featuring a fixed blade that's forced into the material with a long handle. You can cut directly through thin vinyl or use it to score thicker vinyl planks. If you can't justify purchasing a vinyl cutter, simply rent one at your nearby hardware store.
Can you cut vinyl flooring with a laminate flooring cutter?
You can easily cut vinyl flooring with most laminate flooring cutters, as the design of the tool is nearly identical to a vinyl flooring cutter and many models are intended for both uses.
Do you need a special knife blade for cutting vinyl flooring?
A standard utility knife blade will cut vinyl flooring easier, though some people prefer to swap it out for a contour blade, which can be helpful for cutting curves.
Will a saw chip vinyl flooring?
To avoid chipping your vinyl flooring when cutting it with a saw, always use a blade with a high TPI (teeth per inch) count and swap out the blade once it gets too dull.