How To Cut Vinyl Flooring?

Laying a vinyl floor isn’t an overly complicated process, but it does take some planning if you want to do it correctly. You will definitely have to cut your vinyl flooring multiple times, no matter the size or shape of your room. 

Cutting this type of flooring is easier than most people would think, and if done correctly, it will ensure that you end up with beautiful vinyl plank floors. Let’s take a look at some of the finer points surrounding this project so that you can get it right the first time.

What You Need To Know About Cutting Vinyl Flooring?

The particular set of tools you will need for this project is going to depend on your budget and the shape of the room you are working in. You can get away without using any power tools when cutting vinyl flooring, but for the sake of time, we recommend you spend a little extra on some special tools to make this project go quicker.

The toughest part of this process will be cutting your planks to the correct shape and length. For straight cuts, you can use a utility knife with a new blade that is sharp, but we recommend using a floor cutter or vinyl plank cutter. They will cost you upward of $100, but they are worth it. They always cut a perfectly straight line, saving you tons of time.

For staggered, shaped, or angled cuts, we recommend using a jigsaw, circular saw, or miter saw. Once again, you can use a utility knife here, but it is much faster to bring in the big guns. A circular saw or miter saw works great for angled cuts, and a jigsaw is perfect for making shaped cuts around corners.

Feel free to take a look at this video that further highlights the pros and cons of using a knife versus specialized tools…

As you probably already know vinyl plank flooring comes in different varieties, floating and glue-down. Regardless of which you choose, you need to make sure you leave space between the flooring and the walls. This is because it will expand and contract due to changes in temperature. Check with the manufacturer to find out how much space you need to leave, but it is usually ⅛” to ¼.”

Supplies You’ll Need For Cutting Vinyl Flooring

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • Speed-square or T-square
  • Utility knife or vinyl plank cutter
  • Circular saw or miter saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Ear protection
  • Chalk line

How To Cut Vinyl Flooring? (5 Steps)

Step 1: Plan Ahead

If you have already started to lay your vinyl plank flooring, take a minute to stop and plan ahead. Will you need to cut a piece into a special shape? Will you need to rip down the final row to get the correct width? Anticipating your cuts will help you to avoid any mistakes. 

Before you begin, you need to decide on what type of baseboard trim you will be using. This will let you know exactly how big the gaps between the flooring and the wall can be. You definitely don’t want the gaps to be any bigger than the width of the baseboard.

Step 2: Cutting To Length

The last plank in each row will have to be cut to length in order to fit properly. You may have to cut the first piece in certain rows so that the break doesn’t line up with the previous row. Measure the length of the space and subtract ⅛’-¼” to account for expanding and shrinking if it is the final piece in a row. If you are laying the first piece in a row, you can use the excess plank that you cut off of the previous piece as long as it isn’t the same length as the first piece of the previous row.

Cut using the correct tool that we mentioned earlier, a utility knife, vinyl floor cutter, or saw. Remember to use a jigsaw for oddly shaped ends that require more intricate cuts. If you are using a utility knife, it may be a good idea to wear gloves to prevent cutting yourself on more difficult cuts. If you use power tools, be sure to always wear eye protection.

Step 3: Ripping The Width

When you finally get to your last row, you will most likely have to cut the pieces longways, also known as ripping, to fit. Measure the gap and then use a T-square or chalk line to mark the pieces. A vinyl floor cutter won’t work here. You will have to use a utility knife, jigsaw, or circular saw for this. Remember to leave a small gap to account for movement.

Step 4: Check Your Work As You Go

Make sure you check your gaps in between the walls and your cuts as you go. If you miss a mistake, it’s going to cost you more time as you progress because you will have to pull up more pieces to fix it. The gaps between the flooring and the wall should be smaller than the width of your baseboard trim, but still large enough to allow some movement. 

Step 5: Enjoy Your Floors!

Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back and enjoy your brand new floors! If you take the time to follow this guide, then you can be sure that the final product is something you can be proud of.

Final Thoughts

Cutting vinyl plank flooring correctly will be the deciding factor over whether your floors look like they were done professionally or by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing. Cuts don’t have to be perfect but taking the time to measure correctly and consider expansion/shrinkage will ensure that you have a beautiful finished product every time.

Meet your Flooring Expert

Travis McCullough

Travis McCullough

Travis is a lifelong jack-of-all-trades in the construction industry with 20 years of experience in a variety of fields. He’s tackled flooring, carpentry, and everything in between on residential and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes.
Working independently and as part of a crew has equipped him with the know-how to not only complete a project but also teach others the finer points within most building professions. When he isn’t out hanging off of a ladder or crawling around on a roof, Travis spends his time educating people about the construction industry.

About Pro Flooring Zone

Pro Flooring Zone provides you with experts to answer your questions and reveal their insider secrets.

Recently Published Posts