A laminate cutter is a device used for cutting laminate flooring planks. Rather than use a standard saw, installers rely on a laminate cutter to trim floor planks more quickly, which can greatly reduce the duration of the project. Laminate cutting tools are available for rent or purchase at most major home improvement and hardware stores.
There are two basic types of laminate cutters, and they are categorized by the technology used for cutting the laminate. Pneumatic models apply high pressure to the laminate at a specific point, causing the laminate to break without the use of a blade. Bladed models resemble a giant paper cutter, and use a carbide-tipped blade. These blades must be replaced often to maintain their sharp cutting edge. Either of these two types may be electric or manual depending on the thickness and strength of the material being cut.
When choosing a laminate cutter, it's important for installers to choose the best unit for the job. The cutter should be matched to the thickness of the laminate planks, as well as the type of material used to create the plank. Some cutting devices can only cut short sections of laminate, while others can rip a plank along its entire length. Built-in guides and measurements help users make more accurate cuts, while special attachments can be used for making angle cuts or notches.
Laminate cutting tools offer a number of advantages over traditional circular or table saws. They create very little dust, which means they can be used in the room where the laminate is being installed. This saves installers from going back and forth to cut laminate outdoors and install it inside. Cleanup is easier, as there is less sawdust and splintering. A laminate cutter is also capable of more precise, even cuts than most saws. There are fewer jagged edges to deal with and less damage to the finished surface of the board.
At the same time, buyers must understand the limitations of a laminate cutter. These tools are not typically designed to cut curves, which can make it difficult to fit laminate flooring around pipes and other rounded objects. They are also fairly heavy, and can be difficult to move. Many manual cutting machines require significant strength from the user in order to apply sufficient cutting pressure. This often means that users with less physical strength should choose electric or pneumatic models rather than difficult-to-operate manual cutters.