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How to Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring

When installing vinyl plank flooring, cutting the planks is an important yet straightforward process that is suitable for beginner DIYers.

In this article, we will cover the process for how to cut vinyl plank flooring in both a straight line and in irregular shapes.

For a more complete guide on the entire installation process, see our guide How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring.

Tools You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Straight edge or T-square
  • Utility knife or jigsaw
  • Fine toothed jigsaw blade (or multi-floor cutter)
  • Work surface
  • Clamps

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Acclimate the Vinyl Planks

When cutting vinyl plank flooring, even a tenth of an inch can make a big difference. To ensure your measurements and cuts are as precise as possible, allow the vinyl planks to acclimate to the room where they will be installed for 48 hours. This will prevent excessive shrinking or expanding caused by changing environments.

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Mark the Plank

For Straight Cuts

Using a tape measure, measure where the plank will be cut and make a small mark on the edge of the plank using chalk or a pencil. Next, take your straight edge or T-square and line it up with the small mark. With the straight edge or T-square flush against one side, draw a line across the plank. Always use a sharp blade to ensure a clean cut and reduce the effort needed.


For Irregular Cuts

If you need to cut around pipes, cabinets, or other obstacles, you will need to mark the exact shape on your vinyl plank. The easiest way to do this is to create a template with a piece of cardboard or sturdy construction paper and use that to trace the shape onto the plank.

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Score the Plank

(Note: If you are cutting the plank with a jigsaw or cutter, you will not need to score the plank. Proceed to the next step.)

Set your plank on the floor or on a table. If you are setting it on the floor, be sure to put it on top of a protective layer such as a spare piece of vinyl plank to avoid accidentally cutting through the plank into the floor. If you are setting it on a table, move the section to be scored just off the edge of the table.

Using the straight edge or T-square as a guide, score along the marked line with your utility knife. Apply firm pressure to make a deep score about halfway through the plank. You may need to make multiple passes with your blade to get a sufficiently deep score.

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Make the Cut

However you plan to cut your vinyl planks, it's important to have the right safety gear. Always wear work gloves and safety glasses when making cuts. When using a jigsaw, wear a dust mask.


For Straight Cuts

Place the vinyl plank on a table with the section to be removed hanging over the edge. Position the plank with the table's edge near the cutting line to avoid any bending or snapping in the wrong place. Firmly hold the side on the table in place and apply gentle pressure to the other side to snap the plank along the scored line.

You can also make a straight cut by placing the plank directly on the floor. For this method, put one knee on the larger side of the plank to hold it in place and pull up on the smaller side to snap the plank in half.

For either method, the plank should break cleanly. If there are any uneven edges, lightly run the utility knife along the edge to smooth it out.


For Irregular Cuts

There are a few ways to make irregular cuts in your vinyl plank flooring. No matter which method you use, you should start by securing the plank to a table or other work surface using clamps. This will keep it from slipping as you work.

  • Utility knife. Use masking tape to secure the template to your vinyl plank. Slowly run the blade along the marked line. If you go too quickly you risk cutting outside the demarcated cutting line and marring your plank. Once you have made a few passes and have a sufficiently scored cutting line, apply more and more pressure until you have cut all the way through the plank.
  • Jigsaw. Drill a pilot hole or cut a notch at the edge of the plank where you will start cutting. Using a fine tooth blade, insert the jigsaw into the hole or notch and carefully guide it along the cutting line. Keep steady pressure on the jigsaw as you trace the cutting line until you reach the other side of the plank. To ensure an accurate cut, keep the jigsaw flat against the plank.

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Check Your Work

Measure the cut plank again to be sure that it has been cut to the appropriate length. For irregular cuts, set the plank in place to confirm that it fits snugly in place. If there are any problems with the length or shape of the plank, make additional small cuts with the utility knife as needed.

Once you have confirmed that the plank has been cut to the right length and shape, it is ready to be installed.

Cutting Vinyl Plank Flooring FAQs

  • Is it difficult to cut vinyl plank flooring?

    Cutting vinyl plank flooring is not difficult and can be done by most DIY enthusiasts with the right tools and a bit of patience. The ease of cutting can depend on the thickness of the vinyl plank you are working with and the complexity of the cuts required for your project. Even so, cutting thicker planks and making more complicated cuts can be done without any specialized knowledge; they just take some additional patience.

    If it's your first time cutting a vinyl plank, it is a good idea to practice on a spare piece to get the hang of it. This will help you feel more confident when it comes time to cut the planks you will install.


  • What is the best tool to cut vinyl plank flooring?

    For straight lines, nothing beats the simplicity of a utility knife for cutting vinyl plank flooring. Another recommended tool is a vinyl plank cutter. This specialized tool makes the cutting process faster, but can only be used to create straight cuts.

    Curved and other irregular shapes can also be cut with a utility knife; it just takes a little more time to separate the two halves. Some DIYers find using a jigsaw to be a more efficient way to make irregular cuts.

  • Do you need a special blade to cut vinyl plank flooring?

    Cutting vinyl plank flooring with a utility knife does not require a special blade. The only consideration with this method is to be sure your blade is sharp. Since installing vinyl plank flooring generally means you'll be cutting multiple planks, it is a good idea to have a few replacement blades on hand to keep your cutting clean and efficient.

    When cutting planks with a jigsaw, use a fine-toothed blade. The jigsaw blade's packaging will generally indicate what sorts of materials it is suitable for, so look for a blade that is designated for cutting vinyl planks.

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