6 Ways to Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring | Beginners Guide

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if you're installing vinyl plank flooring for the first time knowing how

to make the right cuts is a key to a successful install

i'm going to show you how to make all the cuts that you'll need to get it

right and the tools that you need to do it

from diy to pro so the product that i'm going to be

using today is a luxury vinyl plank flooring

if you have a peel and stick vinyl flooring you can make all the cuts that

you need using just a razor blade because you can follow the curves

it's very thin material the luxury vinyl plank flooring

has a backer on the back that helps for insulation

and sound proofing and it's quite a bit thicker i have a couple different pieces

here that i'm going to be using today a darker one and a lighter one

they are lifeproof vinyl flooring i will link down below to

the pieces that i've used and i've used these exact ones in a couple installs

that i've done in my own house and also in my

brother-in-law's house so let's go ahead and jump into the cuts and the ones that

i'm going to show you are cutting to length cutting to width

doing notches on corners on sides cutting curves and cutting holes

and that's everything that you're going to need for your successful install

the cut that you're going to be making the most is cutting a plank to length

and that's because at the end of every row you're going to have a little spot

that is going to be smaller than a full length plank so an easy way to do that

is to go ahead and use a tape measure you can go and look there i've got 13

and three quarters here but remember look at the manufacturer's

recommendations for gap that you need for expansion

this one says a quarter inch so i would go 13 and a half

versus 13 and three quarters so i could easily measure that and mark that

but there's an easier way to do that i'm just going to take the plank put it in

the orientation that i'm going to have installed

and then flip it around in for end now what i can do is butt it up against

my wall then i'm going to back it off a quarter inch for that expansion joint

now all i have to do is mark right where the underlying plank is

and that's my cut mark now the most basic way to make the cut is just with a

utility knife or a box cutter so i've got this marked and now i can use a

straight edge i have carpenter square here a six inch

carpenter square is going to be too small for this specific piece because

it's 8 inches so i'm going to use a 12 inch one

and i can line the carpenter square up on my mark when you're holding this

you want to hold it at the top so that the carpenter square will not slip on

you but the other important thing is make

sure you're not cutting right on top of the flooring you just installed what i

like to do is take a little off cut and you can put

that underneath it and that way when you're scoring your

line the razor blade is going to come off and it's going to hit

the scrap and it's not going to hit your brand new floor and mess it up

and a tip don't go back over it because if you go back over it it could stray

and then you're going to have a cut that's not as nice

if you use a tapping block that is a great thing to get leverage with

so i can feel underneath i can feel the score line i'm going to put the tapping

block right across there and it just gives it support across that

brake line put some pressure on it now i can just pull up

and it breaks right along that line so it's a nice clean snap

sometimes you'll have this that'll stay attached and you just can score that

with the razor blade as well but now i can flip it back around

and it fits right in place that piece was about 13 inches so i had a nice

leverage to be able to pull up let's say that i had just a four inch

piece to make so if i had a little four inch line here

and the problem is as it gets smaller it gets harder to break

because now i've only got this if the piece is longer i've got a nice little

lever arm to pull up on it but on this

little piece i'm going to try to break this

i can't quite do it because i need a little bit longer there

the way that i've done this in the past i've used a miter saw miter saws work

great for this they are very messy though but you could use a circular saw

you could use a handsaw you could use a jigsaw

you can use a lot of different methods to do this but there is

one different technique that you can use a laminate tile cutter

now i'm going to show you one that i got i bought it off amazon for about a

hundred bucks i'll have a link down below in the

description to it as well as all the other tools that i'm using here all

right so this is a 13 inch siding and laminate cutter and basically

it has just got a big long lever arm that is attached to a blade you put the

piece in and you just chop it down just guillotine style and it will come right off

the beauty of this is that you can go as small of a cut as you want

now what i've noticed is it does

leave the the backing attached most of the time but you look at that's

like a three quarter inch cut there and then all you have to do is separate that

backing with your razor blade and then you have

it so if we compare this cut that i just made right here you can see this

nice super crisp clean line versus this one that i made with the snapping

and especially on the back you can see it's kind of all tore up

here it's a little bit jagged not a huge big deal because most of this

is going to be covered but you definitely do get a cleaner

line when you're using the vinyl plank cutter another cool thing about this

cutter is that if you have angled cuts it makes those pretty easy as well

so it could be something to consider if you have a really big job to do or if

you're going to be doing a lot of jobs on your own

for friends and family or different rooms in your house and the next cut is

cutting planks to width now you're not going to have to do this very often

you probably have to do at the beginning of the install and the end and then if

you have any jets out in the room you might have to do that as well

so what we need to do is cut the board down

the length and so this one you can't really do that with a box cutter

and the reason is what i showed earlier is the leverage so we could score a line

but then snapping it would be very difficult

and i tried that and it didn't go so well

now you can use a handsaw something like this that comes with a miter box or any

other type of handsaw but i don't think that that's really

great option because the teeth are really fine

and if you can see what i'm doing here when you're cutting it's going to take a

really long time especially if you have a long wall that

you're doing this for and have to cut three or four planks

it's going to take you a while to do so if you have a really tight budget you

can use a handsaw but a much better option is to use a

circular saw or a jigsaw this is a cordless model here

this will work fine as well and really you can use any blade so you don't have

to worry about any of that one thing that i like to do is get it

out of the room you're installing in so you're not making all that dust

i like to come down to my workshop and do it or you can set it up outside

as well i also use a piece of one-inch rigid foam insulation as a backer

so that way i can put it on my bench here and not worry about cutting into

the bench now when you put this in place you do

want to clamp it down so it's not going to move

and also you want to make sure that the blade is set to

just a bit below the thickness of the actual piece there

so you don't need to have a lot of a blade exposed to do this now this is

going to make a mess like i said but it's going to be a really clean cut

so using a circular saw would be great you can get an inexpensive model of a

circular saw for about 50 bucks another great way to do it is to use a

jigsaw now this is what we used at my brother-in-law's house when we were

there because he didn't have a circular saw on hand

now you can get an inexpensive jigsaw for about 40 bucks and you can also use

that for some of the other cuts i'm going to tell you about in a minute

now the downside of a jigsaw is that if you're cutting the length of it

it is a lot slower especially if you do not have one

where you can adjust the orbital action on the jigsaw

but it does do a great job of making that cut so jigsaw is a great

alternative if you've already got one of those and you don't want to invest in a

circular saw now the next cut that we're going to

talk about is cutting notches on the corners of planks

and basically you'll have to do this anytime you have a bump out anywhere in

your room now i've had to do this around cabinetry

i've also had this on corner walls that stick out so unless your room's just a

complete rectangle you'll probably have to do this

okay so if we've laid a row we're up against our wall and we have a little

bump out here then all we're going to have to do is

we're going to cut our first piece to length

i'm going to flip it around and i'm going to go all the way to the wall

don't go up against the bump out or you'll cut it too short

so i'm going to go against the wall pull it back quarter of an inch

make my mark i pulled the vinyl cutter up here

i'm just going to line it up on my mark cut this to length

so now i can put it in place and you need to mark the length

of it as well as the width of the notch so i'm going to line it straight up with

the end where it's going to get installed

and now again i'm going to make a little mark about a quarter inch

off of this piece right now i'm going to bring it back and put it

in line with the piece that it's going to be installed up against over here

line it up and again give myself that quarter inch

now all i have to do is draw straight lines and connect them and then i know

what i need to notch out you can make these cuts with something

like a hand saw i like this little guy right here i'll make one side of the cut

with this one and then on the other side i will use a

jigsaw just to show you the difference

so linking those two cuts together now i can put it in place and it should fit

right around my notch

there we go it's ready to bang in and you're getting locked in

so my choice for sure on this one would be the jigsaw but again you can use the

handsaw if you don't want to invest in that the

next type of cut is going to be for a side notch so instead of it being in the

corner you might have it right in the middle of the board

and we ran into this in my brother-in-law's house on a closet

so let's assume this is a wall we're laying planks

in and this comes around and the wall comes in on the closet side

so if you have an opening in a closet and you're going around that this would

be an area where you would likely have this

situation happen so here's how we lay it out

i'm going to use this same plank as before and instead of having that bump

out down here we'll have the notch in the middle so i'm going to line this

one up it's obviously already cut to size

so we would have already done that i'm going to put it right where it's going

to be installed on the left hand side here and then i'm just going

to butt it right up against that notch now all i have to do is make my little

marks for the cutout so now i have the width of the notch and

all i have to do for the depth of the notch is

measure from that distance there so that's five and an eighth

eighth of an inch on both sides so i'm going to make that

about four and seven eighths or about five inches

make sure you're measuring from the edge of the top here where it's going to

connect and not from the edge of the tongue or

the groove now i can lay out my lines to establish where this cut goes

and make an easy cut and one tip that i like to use here is

cutting over a garbage can and this is especially useful if you're doing it in

the room where you're installing because all the dust will go down into

the garbage can so i'm going to do it with the jigsaw again you could do with

the hand saw that i just showed a moment ago

but i'll also show you a little trick that a handsaw won't let you do

let me cut the edges first

okay now that i've got my sides cut i have to cut on the inside

and this would be very difficult to do with a handsaw you basically have to

make some relief cuts and to get in there you're going to have

to do a lot of extra cutting with a jigsaw and i've got a small blade on it

i can put those relief cuts in very quickly and then get

a straight line check out how this works on the jigsaw

it's real quick

with a little bit of work on the jigsaw this should fit right around

my bump out now i moved that

did i move then oh

all right do as i say not as i do uh that is a mistake that you could easily

make which i have just made for you there you go mistakes were made that is

a theme on this channel so when i measured the five inches from

here guess what i measured it from the other side

i should have measured from the side that i took the measurements on i like

to sometimes put these mistakes in my video so i can share with you things

that might happen because you know i would never make

those mistakes so when you take that measurement make

sure you reference it from the right side so that little mistake

brings up a good subject as well when you're getting material make sure

you get about 10 extra and that is just for little things like

this that might happen and sometimes it's not as easy to move a

wall to make it fit get that extra material

and if you have a full box that you can return later no problem

but you don't want to get stuck not having the material on hand and having

to extend into another day of doing the work and the next one we're

going to talk about is cutting curves you're probably not going to run into

curves a lot unless you're doing like around a column in a basement

or if you're in a bathroom if you're in a bathroom you will definitely have to

cut around the toilet flange so i've got a gallon of paint here which

will be our stand in for the toilet flange now it's kind of

tricky to measure around that because you can't really get

in and take great measurements around it but there is a cool little gadget for

that if you're into gadgets this is a contour gauge and there's a

lot of these different ones in there i'll have this one linked down below

but it does a good job for what it is and if you mess around with it

you can get the exact measurement so i'm just going to push that out a little bit

i'm going to kind of mess with it just a little bit

because these like to flex out and so i'm going to account for that a

little bit here push everything in and that's a

pretty good representation i think of the size of the can so now i have this

exact curve that will fit around the can i can actually lock this in place

with these guys so it won't move if it gets bumped now i can mark it on my

plank where it needs to go starting at the right distance from the

can i can take this up against the can and see

right where it's going to hit so it's going to hit right here

so i know that's my center line now i can measure

from the can to the plank which is about five and a quarter so

we're going to make this five and we are going to make it from this

end so we don't make that same mistake twice

so we're going to measure about five here

and now i know that my curve is going to go right around that

so i can put the contour gauge right on top of that

center it up the best i can and again this is not long enough to go all the

way around so i'm going to have to eyeball it a bit

but i'm just going to follow that radius around

something like this now i can cut this with the jigsaw and we'll see how the

fit is but the jigsaw is going to be by far and away the easiest

to cut a curve with i did adjust my lines a little bit because i think i got

a little wide when i was tracing that but having a small blade here also is

going to help the more narrow the blade the tighter

the curve you can cut

so i can bring this back over and line it up and hopefully i didn't

move anything out of the way and apparently i did not overestimate that

so uh i do need to take a little bit more off on those corners

the nice thing is if you're doing something like this

undercutting is better than over cutting so if you're going to mark

it then go back and adjust it a little bit wider not a problem

and there we go it could be widened up a little bit more here on the sides

but that's just what you're going to do is just go trim trim a little bit more

until you get it so that you want to get that a little

bit better now the last cuts we're going to talk about are cutting holes

i've had to do holes in both of the installs that i've done

one was for a drain pipe that was in the laundry room and i had to measure for

that and i used a forstner bit to cut that

out the great thing is is that for this vinyl plank flooring you can just use

regular woodworking tools like drill bits you don't have to do anything

special like a masonry bit or anything like that

you can just use a regular drill bit like a spade bit or a

forstner bit to get that done and a more common thing that you might have to make

a hole for would be a air vent we also had to do

that at my brother-in-law's house sometimes the air vent is going to fall

right in the center of your plank sometimes it'll be on the side and you

can use the side notch approach that we've already looked at

but sometimes it's going to fall right in the middle now all you have to do to

do that is use the techniques that we've shown just

to get some measurements of exactly where that's going to fall

and let's just assume that our air vent is the size of this 2x4 here

so we can lay out the measurements get that i'm going to go ahead and mark it

so the last tool that i'm going to show you is a multi-tool and a multi-tool is

great for plunge cutting you can also do the curves and other

things with it you can actually even do straight line rips but i just want to

show you another option with a jigsaw you could also drill a hole here

and use that as a starter hole and then use your jigsaw the rest of the way

so you can absolutely do this with a jigsaw but let me show you the

multi-tool because it's another great option to have

i just have a wood and metal blade on here

i should have had my safety glasses on when i was using the jigsaw so make sure

you wear that also these things are pretty loud so i

went ahead and put ear protection on but you can just plunge right in there

you don't have to have any starter holes and you can just cut around just like


now the oscillating tool does tend to melt the vinyl a little bit so it's not

as much cutting as it is sometimes melting so you might have to

give it a little pop to get that little center out

and then there you go you've got your hole to go right around your vent

another great thing about these multi-tools is you can use them for

undercutting door jambs to slide it under so you can get multiple purposes

out of this that's why they call it a multi-tool so

if you're only going to invest in one tool my recommendation would be the

jigsaw i have a link down below for a cheap version as well as one that's

got a little more features on it but this will do everything you need it

to and can make all the cuts for your vinyl plank flooring

and then you pair that with just a utility knife for the end cuts

and you're good to go with a little investment if you've not checked out my

videos on how to install vinyl plank flooring i've got two of them queued up

for you right there over in the playlist and some mistakes to avoid

i want to give big thank you to all the people that have been joining the

builders club and i'll see you guys on the next video