Vinyl tiles are beautiful, stylish, and affordable, which makes them one of the most popular types of flooring today. However, since they often come in specific sizes, sometimes you may need to cut them so they can fit properly to the wall edges or around appliances.
Although the whole idea of having to trim tiles may seem a little daunting, the process itself is quite simple. In this post, we show you how to cut vinyl floor tiles using the two most common vinyl tile cutting tools – a vinyl cutter and utility knife. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Materials Needed to Cut Vinyl Floor Tiles
Before you start, it is important that you gather everything you need for the job. Below are the tools and materials you will require to cut vinyl floor tiles.
- Vinyl floor tiles: Let these sit for at least 48 hours in the room they will be installed so they can adapt to the new environment’s temperature and humidity levels.
- Straight Edge: Use this to make a straight score on the tile.
- Vinyl tile cutter or utility knife: Either of these can be used to cut the tiles. You can rent a vinyl cutter from your local hardware store so you won’t have to purchase one every time you need to cut tiles. You could also use a utility knife or any other knife with a concave edge; just make sure it is sharp.
- Pencil: A pencil or washable marker will be used to mark where the tile needs to be cut.
- Tape measure: This will be used to measure the space into which the tile will be fitted as well as the tile that needs to be cut.
How to Properly Cut Vinyl Floor Tiles
Depending on the tool you choose to cut your vinyl floor tiles, follow any of the following two methods to do the job.
Using a Vinyl Tile Cutter
Step 1: Place the Tile on The Cutter
Set the tile you need to cut on the vinyl cutter. Then, run a tape measure down the cutter’s edge so you can line up the tile at the point where you need to cut.
Step 2: Adjust the Blade’s Depth (Optional)
Turn the screws located on top of the cutter to increase or decrease the size of the blade. The blade should be raised or lowered such that the tile fits nicely under it. You don’t need to have the blade touching the tile. The blade will move down as soon as you start pressing the handle.
Step 3: Cut the Tile
Press down the handle all the way to the base of the cutter to cut the tile. Don’t worry if you are doing it too slowly or too quickly; what you should be more concerned about is pushing the handle down to the bottom so the blade is able to cut through the entire tile.
Step 4: Remove the Cut Tile
Once you have made the chop, remove the two pieces of the cut tile from the cutter. To cut another tile, raise the handle of the cutter, and repeat the process.
For more information on how to cut vinyl tiles using a vinyl cutter, watch this video.
Using a Utility Knife
Step 1: Mark Where You Want to Make the Cut
Marking helps you make clear cuts so the tiles fit nicely together during installation. To get started, grab your tape and measure the space of the floor on which the tile will be laid.
Next, use these measurements to mark the places of the tile you need to cut. If you are using a pencil, make sure the marks are visible, if they are too faint, try using a washable marker.
Step 2: Use Your Utility Knife to Score the Tile
Place your straight edge on top of the vinyl tile. Firmly run the utility knife along the edge of the straight edge to score the tile that needs cutting.
If the cut does not go all the way through the piece on your first attempt, run the knife again, making sure the second score aligns with the first. If the tile is too stiff, use a heat gun to soften it before making the cut.
Step 3: Snap the Tile
Simply bend the vinyl tile along the score mark to break it. Do not get rid of the excess just yet; you may need it for those areas that don’t need normal-sized pieces like near wall edges or around appliances.
Other Tools Used to Cut Vinyl Floor Tiles
A vinyl tile cutter and utility knife are the most commonly used tools when it comes to cutting vinyl floor tiles. But there are many other alternatives that you could use to achieve a decent cut. Examples include:
While handsaw is an excellent tool for cutting through vinyl tiles, to get a clean cut, you will want to look for a saw with fine teeth so you don’t damage the tile. A good example is a hacksaw or finish cut saw. These will have relatively fine teeth that will cut through the tile and leave clean, smooth edges.
The only downside? Using a handsaw to cut vinyl floor tiles can be more labor-intensive than other methods and can significantly increase the amount of time you will take to install the floor.
A handsaw is, therefore, not an efficient tool for cutting these tiles, but if no other tools are available, it will work; the process will just take much longer.
A table saw can be a very useful tool for cutting vinyl floor tiles, especially when making a rip cut. Basically, a rip cut is performed where the tiles come into contact with the edge of the wall.
But making rip cuts is not the only way a table saw can be used to cut vinyl tiles; you could also use it to make crosscuts on the tiles.
When using this type of saw to cut vinyl floor tiles, however, it is important that you change the blade to one with fine teeth. Generally, blades with high Teeth Per Inch (TPI) count will produce cleaner cuts than those with a low TPI count.
This one works pretty much like a table saw. However, unlike with a table saw where the tile is pushed into the blade, in a miter saw, the blade is pushed down toward the tile.
A miter saw is a great tool for vinyl floor tile cutting, but because of the way it is designed, you can only perform a crosscut; you cannot do a rip cut.
Also, just like when using a table saw, you will need to use a blade with a high TPI to obtain cleaner, smoother cuts.
If you are looking to cut your vinyl flooring tiles in different shapes, a jigsaw can be an excellent tool.
For the most part, jigsaws come installed with blades designed for cutting woods, so generally, they produce an aggressive cut. However, you can buy jigsaw blades designed to cut vinyl tiles and they are typically quite pocket-friendly.
To cut your tiles, you will need a blade with finer teeth that is less aggressive. The fine teeth will produce clear cuts and won’t damage the edges of the tile being cut. If you want to cut tight shapes and curves, install narrow blades.
Cutting vinyl tiles with a jigsaw, however, does leave the working area a little messy. To avoid this, place a bucket or dustbin under the equipment.
Additional Tips for Cutting Vinyl Floor Tiles
When cutting vinyl floor tiles, there are some things that you should keep in mind in order to make clean cuts. Here are the most important.
- If you are using a utility knife, make sure it is as sharp as possible. This will not only help speed up the process but also get you clear cuts. Do not use regular kitchen knives; these tend to be more dangerous and less practical.
- Place one end of the vinyl tile on a board while splitting the other. It will help stabilize the tile so the splitting end can leave a clean cut.
- When using a utility knife, ensure that it is placed as straight as possible to avoid rough edges.
Cutting vinyl floor tiles is a relatively easy process. However, how quickly you do it and how clean the cuts are will solely depend on the tool you use.
Most people prefer a vinyl tile cutter or utility knife for the job, but there are many different types of saws that you could use for the same. The only thing you need to pay attention to when working with saws is the TPI count of the blade; you want to go for the highest number possible to obtain smooth, clear cuts.