How To Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring: Expert Step-By-Step Guide

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Because of its low cost, durability, and simplicity of installation, vinyl plank flooring has gained popularity among homeowners and DIY enthusiasts. To achieve a perfect fit, you’ll need to know how to cut vinyl plank flooring if you’re thinking about installing it in your home. I’ll walk you through the entire process in this comprehensive guide, going over the tools you’ll need and giving detailed instructions for each cutting technique. You can cut and install vinyl plank flooring like a pro with just a little practice.

Tools And Preparation

You’ll need to gather the required tools and make some preparations before you start cutting your vinyl plank flooring. The following is a list of the necessary tools for this project:

Utility Knife

The primary tool for cutting vinyl planks is a sharp utility knife. During the installation process, you’ll use it frequently to make precise straight or notch cuts. You can score the vinyl planks with a utility knife and then snap them along the scored line to produce crisp, smooth edges that fit together perfectly. A dull blade can result in uneven cuts and possible damage to the planks, so make sure to always have extra sharp blades on hand.

👉 Internet’s Best Premium Utility Knife – Set of 2 has a comfortable and heavy duty handle and includes 5 extra sharp replacement blades.

Straight Edge Or T-Square

When cutting vinyl plank flooring, using a straight edge or T-square can help produce results with smooth, straight edges that fit together seamlessly and have a professional appearance. This crucial tool enhances your cuts’ precision and effectiveness, simplifying the installation process.

👉 Mr. Pen T Square is marked along all edges of the ruler on both sides in an easy to read font. 

Tape Measure

For precise measurements and to mark your cutting lines on the vinyl planks, you’ll need a trustworthy tape measure. To achieve a polished, seamless appearance and avoid material waste from improper cuts, precise measurements are a must.

👉 Stanley 33-735 Fatmax Tape Rule is the classic tape measure, known for its durable, grippy case  and large font numbers for easy readability. 

Pencil Or Marker

You’ll need a pencil or marker to mark your cutting lines and measurements on the planks. Precise markings ensure a perfect fit around obstacles, maintain your installation pattern, and guide your cutting tools.

Select a tool that will draw lines on the flooring that are easy to see, but won’t leave any lasting stains.

Safety Glasses

When working with cutting tools or other potentially hazardous materials, always remember to put on the appropriate personal protective equipment, including safety goggles to ensure your safety and lower the risk of eye injuries.

👉 3M Safety Glasses are strong, comfortable, and have an anti-fog coating.


Gloves shield your hands from potential risks like cuts, splinters, friction, and chemicals. Never forget to put them on! 

👉 Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves are very comfortable, yet strong. They’re machine washable and feature a sweat wipe on the back of the thumb. 

Heavy-Duty Scissors or Tin Snips (optional)

Cutting vinyl plank flooring can be made simpler and more accurate by using heavy-duty scissors or tin snips. For smaller cuts, curved shapes, trimming extra material, and cutting notches, they’re an efficient substitute for utility knives or saws. You can use these tools to make precise, clean cuts so your installation looks like a professional did it.

👉 Hurricane 3 pc Aviation Tin Snips Set are durable and cut smoothly and precisely. 

Carpenter’s Square or Speed Square (optional)

When cutting and installing vinyl plank flooring, using a carpenter’s square or speed square will help you get an  accurate, precise, and polished appearance. These tools allow you to make straight cuts, measure and mark angles, check plank alignment, and maintain uniform spacing.

👉 SWANSON Tool Co S0101 includes a try square, miter square, saw guide, line scriber, and protractor, all in one.

When You’re Ready to Cut

After putting your tools together, clean up any clutter in your workspace. To prevent material waste, carefully plan your cuts and arrange your vinyl planks.

Cut Types

The installation process will go more smoothly and the finished product will look polished and professional if you know when and how to use the various cutting styles. Straight, curved, and notched cuts will all be covered in detail in this section, along with the situations in which you should use each type of cut. 

Straight Cuts

To make a vinyl plank’s length fit within the confines of your room or along the edges of walls, you must make a straight cut. You can also use a straight cut when you need to stagger the planks in a pattern or for structure, like a running bond or staggered pattern.

The following situations call for a straight cut:

  • Making length adjustments: When installing vinyl plank flooring, you’ll frequently need to cut the planks to fit the dimensions of the room. The plank is shortened to the required length using a straight cut, making sure it fits perfectly against the wall or other edge.
  • Staggering planks: The seams between adjacent planks should be spaced out to create a more stable and aesthetically pleasing flooring installation. The first plank in each row is typically cut to a different length, which calls for straight cuts.
  • Finishing rows: You’ll probably need to cut the last plank to fit the available space when you reach the end of a row. You can customize the plank to the exact dimensions required by making a straight cut.
  • Transitioning between rooms: If your vinyl plank flooring installation extends through doorways or makes a transition between various rooms or areas, you might need to make a straight cut to ensure a clean, precise edge where the flooring changes.
  • Fitting around obstacles: A plank can occasionally be trimmed with a straight cut to make it fit around an obstruction, such as a wall vent or the straight edge of a door frame. To achieve the desired fit, you might need  to combine a straight cut with a notched cut.

Curved Cuts

Curved cuts help shape a vinyl plank to fit around rounded or irregular obstacles or to create specific patterns for your flooring installation. Curved cuts have a more intricate contour than straight cuts, which produce neat, linear edges. The following situations call for a curved cut:

  • Fitting around pipes: You’ll need to make curved cuts to create a tight fit around irregular elements or plumbing fixtures like pipes, toilet flanges, or radiator legs.
  • Curved wall edges: If your room has curved walls, you’ll need to trim the vinyl planks with curved cuts to follow the wall’s contour.
  • Rounded door frames: In some cases, door frames may have decorative molding or rounded edges that call for a curved cut in order to precisely fit the vinyl plank flooring around the frame.
  • Creating custom patterns: Curved cuts can be used to shape vinyl planks into distinctive flooring patterns like medallions or inlays.
  • Built-in furniture: Some rooms may have built-in furniture, such as kitchen islands or curved cabinets, which require that the vinyl plank flooring be cut in a curved shape in order to properly fit around the fixture.

Notched Cuts

When a vinyl plank needs to be shaped to fit around objects or irregular shapes with protruding edges or corners, notched cuts are required. Notched cuts, in contrast to straight or curved cuts, entail removing a portion of the plank to account for these imperfections. The following situations call for a notched cut:

  • Door frames: To ensure a tight fit around the edges of the door frame, including the door jamb and casing, notched cuts are used. This guarantees a tidy, polished installation.
  • Wall vents or floor registers: When installing flooring, be mindful of any wall vents, floor registers, or other similar fixtures. Use notched cuts to shape the plank so it flows smoothly around these obstructions.
  • Built-in cabinetry or shelves: If your room has built-in cabinets, bookshelves, or other fixtures that extend to the floor, you might need to make notched cuts to fit the vinyl planks around the base of these protruding elements. 
  • Irregular wall corners: In some cases, walls may have protrusions or irregular corners that call for a notched cut in order to ensure that the vinyl plank flooring fits snugly and precisely against the wall.
  • Stair nosing or trim: If the installation of your vinyl plank flooring involves stairs, you might need to make notched cuts in the planks to fit them around the stair nosing or trim for a safe and attractive finish.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Cutting Vinyl Plank Flooring

Straight Cuts

To make straight cuts on your vinyl planks:

  1. Measure the plank: Use your tape measure to measure the plank and determine the length of the cut you need to make. Mark the cutting line with a pencil or marker after measuring from the plank’s edge.
  2. Align the straight edge: Place the T-square or straight edge along the plank’s marked line. In order to make a precise, clean cut, make sure the straight edge is properly aligned.
  3. Score the plank: Holding the straight edge firmly in place, carefully score the vinyl plank along the straight edge with your utility knife. Apply just enough force to make a line that’s visible without going too far into the plank.
  4. Snap the plank: Holding the plank in your hands on either side of the scored line, gently press down to snap it along the line. You should have a clean break in the plank and a smooth edge.

Curved Cuts

For curved cuts, follow these steps:

  1. Draw the curved line: On the vinyl plank, draw the curved line you want to cut using a pencil or marker. When navigating rounded obstacles or developing original design patterns, this might be necessary.
  2. Carefully cut: Cut the plank along the marked curved line using a pair of heavy-duty, sharp scissors or tin snips. Take your time to ensure a precise, clean cut.

Notched Cuts

You’ll need notched cuts  when fitting around obstructions like door frames or pipes. To create a notched cut, follow these steps:

  1. Measure and mark the lines: Measure and mark your notched cuts for fitting around obstacles like door frames, pipes, or other irregular shapes. Using a pencil or marker, mark the cutting lines on the vinyl plank according to the dimensions of the obstruction.
  2. Score the notch lines: Cut the plank along the notch lines with your utility knife. Hold the plank steadily to avoid slipping while scoring.
  3. Remove the notch: Carefully cut along the scored lines with your utility knife to take out the notched portion of the plank.
  4. Test fit the plank: Make sure the notched plank fits the obstruction snugly. If additional cuts or modifications are required, do so.

What Kind of Blade Do I Need to Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring?

A utility knife with a recently sharpened blade works best for cutting vinyl flooring. To ensure clear, accurate cuts, change the blade frequently.

How Do You Cut Vinyl Flooring Perfectly?

Use a straight edge or T-square to guide your utility knife as you score the plank in order to cut vinyl flooring precisely. This will guarantee a clean, straight cut. Make sure to accurately measure and mark your cuts, and use the right cutting method for the task.

Can You Cut Vinyl Plank Flooring With A Utility Knife?

Yes, the best tool for cutting vinyl plank flooring is a utility knife. It’s simple to control and enables clean, exact cuts. 

Can Vinyl Plank Flooring Be Cut With A Saw?

Although cutting vinyl plank flooring with a saw is technically possible, doing so isn’t recommended. The flooring material is less likely to be harmed by utility knives because they produce cleaner, more accurate cuts.

Cutting Vinyl Plank Flooring Made Easy

You’re one step closer to having a lovely and long-lasting floor for your home now that you understand how to cut vinyl plank flooring. Cutting vinyl planks is a simple task that any DIY enthusiast can master with the right equipment and methods. Always put safety first, take your time, and measure carefully. I hope you’ve found this guide to be useful and instructive. Share this article with people you think might find it useful if you liked it or if you have any questions or comments about it in the comments section below. Happy flooring!

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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