Tips for slicing counter tops in the kitchen

Kitchen installation If you're confident and experienced with DIY, you might want to cut your own worktops to size. We'll show you the best way to approach this in this guide.

We strongly advise hiring an experienced and recommended tradesperson to install any kitchen worktops before we begin. They will ensure that your worktops are cut and fitted correctly using their years of experience. However, if you believe this is a task you can handle on your own, we'll go over the tools you'll need, how to measure, and, finally, how to cut kitchen worktops to size.

You'll need the following tools:

  • Dust mask
  • Using masking tape
  • Measurement tape
  • Pencil and paper
  • Goggles for safety
  • Circular or router saw (recommended)

Kitchen worktops at Victoria Plum

What is the best method for cutting a kitchen worktop?

As previously stated, hiring an experienced professional is the best way to cut a kitchen worktop. However, if you want to do it yourself, follow the steps below.

Measurement is the first step.

Assuming you purchased uncut lengths of laminate worktop, the first step is to take measurements so you know how big each section of worktop needs to be.

"Measure twice, cut once," as the old adage goes, but we'd recommend measuring, re-measuring, and measuring a third time to ensure your kitchen worktops fit perfectly.

Mark out the necessary cuts with a pencil, including any sections that will need to be cut out, such as those for sinks or hobs. Allow for any uneven walls, especially in older homes.

Handy hint: There will almost certainly be "off cuts" (small sections of worktop that will go to waste). After you've marked them, you can use them to practice your cuts before attempting the real thing.

Step 2: Choose your saw.

There are several tools available for making the actual cuts. Some prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, with a handsaw. Many people swear by it because it helps prevent chipping. However, it is time-consuming and does not always produce the straight lines that other tools can. Furthermore, if you aren't used to heavy manual labor, you may end up with a very sore arm.

A circular saw (which can be purchased for upwards of £50 from any good DIY store) is probably the most commonly used tool for cutting worktops. This handheld tool's rotating blade will make quick work of any cuts.

A router saw may be more appropriate if you want to make more precise, cleaner cuts. Again, this can be purchased for anywhere between £50 and £100. A plunge saw is another option, though it may be better suited to those with professional worktop cutting experience.

It might be a good idea to have access to both a circular saw and a router saw for initial cuts. In the FAQ section below, we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of such saws.

Of course, at this point, it is critical to emphasize that such saws can be extremely dangerous in inexperienced hands, and you should always use recommended safety equipment when using them.

Beautiful kitchen worktops from Victoria Plum

Step 3: Set up the work surface

One important thing to remember when cutting your worktop is to find a suitable location. If the weather permits, you could set up a workbench in a garden or other outdoor space. If the Great British weather strikes, however, a garage or other indoor space with plenty of clearance space may be preferable. Make sure both ends of your worktop are fully supported, or it may snap rather than divide cleanly when cutting.

Turn your worktop upside down so the laminate surface is facing the floor and the front edge (the visible edge) is facing you if you're using a circular saw. Circular saws cut in an upward motion, so they should produce a clean cut straight through the surface and rougher exit cuts through the chipboard surface—the bit that will be hidden once installed. Another straight edge can be used as a guide.

Clamp the worktop (and straight edge guide) to your workbench to prevent it from moving.

4th—Make the cut

Set the blade depth to 0, position the saw against your straight edge guide, and move the saw from front to back in a clean motion. Repeat this process, cutting deeper each time, until you have completely cut through the worktop.

Many of the same principles apply when using a router to make more precise cuts. Make sure your blade is set to the proper depth, then move smoothly along the cut line. The router saw should cut through the worktop material easily.

Step 5: Arrange your worktops

The worktops can now be placed on top of the cabinets below and moved into place—this usually requires two people to ensure the job is done safely and without causing any damage. Check to make sure no more cuts are required. Why not read our guide to joining worktops for more information?

Measurement of a Kitchen Worktop

Before purchasing your new kitchen worktops, you must determine the exact size and quantity required. If you're replacing like for like, measuring all of your kitchen's existing worktop surfaces should be a simple process. Here's how to do it in three simple steps:

  1. Measure the full length of each worktop side in millimetres, then add them together to get a single total (for example, if you have three worktops around the perimeter of your kitchen, measure the length of each against the wall and add the total).

  2. Take note of the distance between the wall and the worktop edges that hang over the cabinets below.

  3. Remember to include any "cut outs" in your existing worktop where sinks or hobs are typically located. These will need to be removed from your new worktops.

If you intend to extend your worktop, include the measurements for this as well.

Stylish laminate kitchen worktops from Victoria Plum

FAQs about cutting worktops

Answers to some of your most frequently asked questions about cutting kitchen worktops can be found below.

How can I cut my kitchen counter without damaging it?

Using masking tape on the surface of your kitchen worktop while cutting helps to keep it from chipping. Another suggested method is to saw from the underside of the counter, as the saw's teeth only cut into the material as it moves upwards. If you use either of these methods, you will have a much better chance of avoiding chips as you cut through.

What is the most effective tool for cutting a laminate worktop?

A circular saw is frequently the best tool for cutting laminate worktops. Check that the blade is sharp (replace it if you haven't used it in a while) and suitable for fine cuts—it should easily cut through the worktop. This is due to the fact that laminate worktops have a composite wooden particle chipboard core beneath the decorative wrapping.

If you don't have a circular saw, there are some other tools you can use to cut the worktop. Some people prefer plunge saws, which can be costly to purchase. A plunge saw will easily cut through the surface, making quick work of the job—however, using a plunge saw may be better suited to experienced DIYers.

The router saw is another useful power tool. When using a router, you must include markings for the clamp guide, overhang cut (if being placed over cabinets), and where the unit's edges will be. Router saws are a common type of power tool used for worktop cutting, but like plunge saws, they may need to be guided by a more experienced hand. If you don't have any power tools, you can cut your countertop with a handsaw, though it will take a lot more precision and effort to cut than an electric saw.

What is the tool you use to cut countertops?

A countertop can be cut in the same way that a laminate worktop can. However, some people prefer to cut through the material with other power tools, and a jigsaw can also be used if necessary. This may be more appropriate for solid wood worktops in oak kitchens, as a circular saw would require a lot more work, whereas a jigsaw can cut through much more accurately and quickly.

Worktops and countertops for kitchens at Victoria Plum

Advice on how to cut a kitchen worktop

To create a good cut on a countertop, good preparation and a steady hand are required. Here are some pointers to make sure your finished worktop looks great.

Obtaining a Straight Cut

After you've measured and marked out where the cuts will be, use clamps to secure a straight edge parallel to the cut line. This can be used as a guide rail as you cut through the material to keep the teeth straight.

What you can do to get a better haircut

Another way to improve the cut is to ensure that both sides and the entire length of the worktop are supported as you move through it. This also applies to cut-off sections that should be supported to avoid damaging the worktop. Using saw benches and/or having another person hold the worktop in place while you cut through is a simple way to accomplish this.

Use additional assistance.

To support the worktop, place an MDF sheet (at least an inch thick) beneath it and cut a few millimetres into it as you saw. This ensures that the entire surface area of the worktop is supported as you cut, reducing the possibility of damage due to snaps or strains before you finish.

Control the pressure levels

Start the circular saw before the saw blade makes contact with the work surface, and gradually apply forward pressure as it comes into contact. This allows the saw to do all of the work as it slices through the worktop at a controlled speed from one side to the other.

Prevent exit damage

To avoid damaging the worktop surface as you pull the saw back out, make sure to saw from the rounded edges at the front to the back. You will achieve a better finish if the blade exits the surface on the far edge of the worktop. It also means that any burrs (rough edges) visible on the other side of the worktop will be hidden by the wall.

For practice, use offcuts.

Making a good cut requires practice and experience, so take a section of your old worktop to practice on. This will allow you to gain confidence and avoid making mistakes on the actual kitchen worktop you are installing. The more you practice, the better your chances of getting a nice, clean cut when it comes time to work on the real thing.

One more thing

The most important thing to remember is that even if you don't get the perfect cut, you can still make your finished worktop look nice, even if it means using a metal strip or filler. There's also the option of hiring a professional installer, who will ensure that your worktops are properly cut and installed.

More do-it-yourself kitchen advice

If you're attempting to install a kitchen yourself, you should read our guide to joining kitchen worktops for a neat and seamless finish. Perhaps you've decided to leave it to the experts. If that's the case, we'll show you the most recent kitchen installation costs and explain how to plan and design your kitchen in 10 simple steps]( com/blog/posts/how-to-design-a-kitchen) All of our articles can be found in our kitchen advice section.

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While we are best known for our beautiful bathrooms, we have used our years of experience to create a comprehensive kitchen collection that includes quality kitchen worktops, cabinet ranges, stylish sinks, taps, heating, and much more. Why not browse our entire collection by clicking on the image below?

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