Saw Blades for Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring will eat up any saw blade. Most installers use cheap blades and expect to wear them out. August 13, 2007

A contractor friend of mine asked me what blade to use for cutting laminate flooring. He said he usually uses a standard carbide tipped blade, but by the end of the job, the blade was shot from cutting the hard laminate. He asked me if a hardi board blade might fair better and I didn't have an answer for him. What type of blades do you use to cut laminate flooring, and does it really wear out a carbide blade within a single (250-400 sq ft) job? What blade do you recommend for a good cut and long life?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor F:
The simple answer is a 60 tooth carbide blade, and plan on a re-grind after every job... or sooner. Expensive blades or melamine blades are no better and no longer lasting. It's not the hardness that causes the wear. The board and the melamine layers are abrasive and wear away the edges. The top layer of laminate flooring is aluminum oxide impregnated melamine. Finer grain, but yes, aluminum oxide is the same stuff used to make sandpaper.

The real deal is that most cut edges are hidden with moldings when the job is complete, so clean cuts are secondary. The sharp blades cut faster and are safer to use. Because of this you may find a 40 tooth blade is satisfactory and less expensive to buy. The blade should pass through the top wear layer and into the core, so blade rotation and plank orientation are important.

From contributor M:
I've gotten to the point that I simply use my circular saw and jig saw to cut laminate flooring. The main reason is that the blades are much cheaper. If you cut it with the good side down, that also minimizes chipping. Also, as contributor F said, since the ends are hidden under moldings, most of us ought to be able to cut straight enough to not have a problem.

From contributor R:
I buy the $7 Dewalt yellow thin kerf blades. You only get a couple of average jobs out of them. I cut free hand (no fence, like an upside circular saw) on a cheap table saw. If you're installing correctly, every cut gets covered by some sort of moulding, so you're not doing any critical cuts here. These floors seem to trash a triple chip just as fast as a cheap blade. I've tried a lot of different types. I'm an endorsed Pergo installer and have about 500 laminate installations jobs under my belt. One thing I can't seem to figure out is what to do with 100 used blades!