How To Cut Formica: The Challenges And Uses Of Cutting Formica – 2024 Guide

Just like every other brand name that is quite synonymous with a product irrespective of who the manufacturer is or not, Fomica is a common name which covers the category of laminate materials. Speaking about materials, these materials can be joined to a substrate such as an MDF, particle board or plywood. Formica is made up of several layers of paper which also carries phenolic resins and guess what, they are also heated under pressure. The way formica is constructed is similar to that of a plywood and you would learn how to cut formica from this article today.

Formica was developed for the first time in 1912 and it was designed to be an electrical insulator. It got its name from its initial purpose as MICA was being used for electrical insulation purposes. Being used as an insulator for Mica was the initial purpose for developing formica and from that moment onwards, lots of materials got to get their own name from their initial purpose of development. Consisting of about seven layers of resin and paper shows you how thick formica products are and guess what, formica products are always hard and smooth.

Another thing about formica that you should also be aware of is the fact that they are acidic and they are formed to resist scratches, dings, heat, dents, basic spills, abrasions and so much more. When used in an industrial setting, lets say like a kitchen for example, its layers always has a thin metal strip inserted in it and the main aim for doing this is to try to boost the resistance of heat. In the past, most formica products never had variety in appearance, color or type of finish whether it could be matte, glossy or a combination of the two.

Once phenolic resins which were also used in the production of melanin were inserted in the binding medium, it gave formica the ability to change its texture, color and finish combined with a decorative pattern or color as its top layer. A craft paper was basically being used as this top decorative layer and it could be used for so many limitless patterns. Any material which is just few millimeters thick is considered to be a strong material and this is why formica products require strong substrate in order to obtain extra strength for industrial and home uses.

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Nowadays, you can make use of formica products for the exterior layers of melanin sheets, countertops and also for laminated wood products like pergo. Despite the limitless opportunity of uses for any formica product, there still tends to be some challenges when it comes to some do it yourself works at home. However, one of the biggest problems that comes with making use of formica product is how to cut formica topped materials.

How To Cut Formica

how to cut formica

The tendency for formica to chip when it is being cut is one of the biggest problems that comes with cutting formica. If you try cutting formica using a dull saw or blade or cutting formica to move away from you without making use of adequate support will cause formica to chip greatly. This would cause the top layer to have a ragged and ugly edge which contractors and home owners hate to see. The main question that you might be faced with is how to prevent such undesirable results.

The answer lies in how you cut formica and also the instrument or tool used in cutting formica. However, the good part of all this is you do not necessarily need to spend heavily in getting yourself a fancy tool that you can make use of in cutting formica properly but you should be able to cut formica properly using the tools that you have readily available. Cutting formica or laminate products with the use of a jigsaw is very possible and today, that proves to be like the least expensive option on the market but the cost is the only benefit of using a jigsaw for cutting formica.

You are likely to witness chipping even if you use a fine blade to provide support on both sides for the laminate but if there is a router that can be made use of together with the jigsaw then you are likely to obtain smooth finishes between the substrate and the laminate. Jigsaws are capable of cutting formica without the help of a cleanup pass through a router but it is capable of aiding the router in making a cleanup pass. If there isn’t any router to obtain clean edges then there are certain steps taken before cutting formica to help obtain a smooth edge. They include;

Taping Or Scoring Your Cut

Just like in the case of cutting plywood, trying to avoid chipping is always a major concern when it comes to cutting laminates and there are quite some techniques that can be adopted which would help in obtaining the best cutting results. Scoring the surface of the laminate material using a hobby or utility knife is one of the most effective techniques ever used and it prevents chipping by cutting proactively before using a jigsaw or any other cutting tool.

Laminates might still chip even after scoring based on their thin nature and its depended on the nature of laminate layers. So what we advice is scoring using a tool that isn’t surgically sharp or using a dull tool which provides a cut that isn’t deep and this helps in preventing chipping. Furthermore, taping the line you want to cut and also combining it with scoring also prevents chipping. Placing a taping piece on the laminate prevents chipping by providing the laminate with extra backing.

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Properly Scoring A Laminate Line

How precise you score a line is quite important if you want to score a line and even if it tends not to go deep, placing some tapes on the line offers a second line of defense and also enables you to get the result that you want. With that being said, you need to make sure that you score the line perfectly and making use of this medium also guarantees making several passes along the laminate not only to make sure that you score deep enough but also to make sure it is positioned precisely along the line that you desire to cut.

Making use of a backerboard is also another way you can try out in ensuring you obtain a line that isn’t chipped but straight. Placing a plywood sheet or sacrificial board right on the laminate material that you desire to cut would offer you adequate support required for cutting. No matter how you decide to make your cut, you still need to make sure that the blade you are cutting with is sharp but providing support at the bottom and at the top of your laminate material can act as a cover when cutting with a blade that isn’t sharp.

Joining A Formica And Substrate Using Glue

This is a process that is difficult to mess up but straightforward. What you need to do is to cut out the laminate to match the substrate you would be adding it to then you should add contact cement to both the substrate and the laminate surfaces. This cement should be applied all round the entire surface and then, you might need to wait for up to an hour before attaching both surfaces together. However, cutting the laminate to be a bit larger than the substrate is advisable so that minor deviations and corrections can be made with ease.

The next thing you need to do is to eliminate air bubbles that might be coming out from the substrate or laminate and after they are both dried, you can go on to get rid of excess laminate material with the substrate. You do not need to make use of a jigsaw this time but a trim router would be the best tool to make use of. A perfect flush trimming guarantees that a smooth and perfect finish is obtainable.

Painting Countertops

I guess you might be wondering if it is possible to paint a countertop instead of reskinning and refinishing. Well the answer is yes After sanding your formica countertop, going ahead to paint it is actually a bad idea and this is because it causes the surface to lose all of the properties that makes it attractive and these properties include being smooth, resistant to acid, cold, heat and also cleaning up easily. Painting a countertop would make it vulnerable to scruffs and abrasions.


Formica products are widely used in homes all over the world for centuries now and this is because they help in boosting the function and value and looks of homes. However, this article proves that cutting formica materials isn’t obtainable but the only challenge comes with cutting them perfectly. One thing you should have at the back of your mind is painting laminate products can be achieved but it isn’t a good idea. This is because when you end up painting a laminate product, the negatives tends to outweigh the positives.

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