How to Cut a Solid Surface Countertop
Cutting a solid surface countertop is a straightforward task that can be carried out by DIY enthusiasts of all skill levels. Solid surface countertops provide an attractive and versatile alternative to conventional laminate materials and can be shaped or formed using the same tools that are normally associated with woodworking projects.
Step 1 - Prepare
Spread lengths of plastic sheeting across the entire floor surface of the area you'll be working in. Cutting solid surface countertops creates large amounts of dust and the plastic sheeting will help to catch the majority of it. This will make the clean-up operation much easier when you're done.
Step 2 - Set the Countertop
Take two sawhorses and set them on the plastic sheeting so that the solid surface countertop can be laid evenly on top of them. Allow for a slight area of overhang on either end to stop the countertop from falling while cutting takes place. If the countertop is excessively heavy, have a helper lift it onto the sawhorses with you.
Step 3 - Measure
Use a tape measure to establish the dimensions of your solid surface countertop and mark off the required size using a pencil and a piece of wood with a long, straight edge. This will give you a good line to cut to. Be sure to put on your dust mask and safety gloves before attempting to cut the countertop.
The straight edge should be left in place and lined up just beyond the pencil mark before being clamped into place to make it secure. This will provide a perfect cutting guide when using the circular saw, and this method is especially useful for making accurate cuts that are going to be seen when the countertop is installed. If the cut is hidden away into the butt of a wall or is covered by any other cosmetic installations, you can simply cut along the line drawn in pencil instead of using a guide.
Step 4 - Cut
The solid surface countertop can now be cut using the circular saw. It's highly recommended that the cutting tool is made from carbide and has a minimum of 40 teeth, to ensure a smooth and accurate edge. The saw should be slowly run along the straight edge to help avoid the build-up of heat. Excessive heat will scorch the surface of the countertop and ultimately ruin the appearance of it.
If the levels of dust become unbearable, have a helper follow the direction of the blade while holding a hand-held vacuum cleaner to help minimize the amount of waste flying into the air.
WARNING: Be sure to wear safety glasses and respirator masks while cutting the countertop to avoid getting any dust into your eyes or lunges.
Step 5 - Repeat the Process
Once the first cut is complete, mark off the next edge of the solid surface countertop in the same manner and repeat the process until the correct overall size is achieved. Clean up immediately after using the circular saw to keep dust at a minimum.