Trimming Laminate

How to Trim Laminate Countertops

The final step in completing a laminate countertop — trimming its edges flush — can be nerve-wracking. After all, you have a lot of time and money invested in your project, and the last thing you want to do is ruin everything while trimming. Relax! These pointers ensure clean results every time.

Use a router with the right laminate bit.Flush-trim Router Bit

Although you can use a wood file to trim off laminate overhanging substrate edges, doing so takes a lot of time, and the results will likely not look professionally done. The solution: Use a router fitted with a high-quality flush-trim bit designed especially for this task. You’ll get perfect edges in no time.

Check for clean and smooth surfaces.

Clean the countertop with a whiskbroom. Brush off the router’s base as well. To ensure a straight cut, the router’s base must move smoothly across the top of the laminate—unimpeded by sawdust, misplaced glue globs, or other obstructions.

Also, place a single layer of masking tape on the surface of the laminate along the router’s path to prevent its base from scratching the laminate as you trim the edge.

Calmly make the cut

You have to remain confident and relaxed during the cut. Using the right tools and practicing your technique on scrap will build your self-assurance. Move the router at a slow and consistent feed rate without stopping. If you rush things, the router may jump around and accidentally cut into the countertop. Stopping during the cut can result in an uneven or jagged edge, so do a “dry run” with the router off to ensure your power cord is long enough and won’t snag during the cut.

Hold the router level and firmly against the workpiece as you make the cut. Move it counterclockwise when cutting outside edges. Feed the router clockwise to trim inside edges, like those for a sink cut-out.

Step back and admire your work!

Run your fingers over the laminate’s smooth new edges. You’ll get the same super results every time using the right bit, appropriate router, and proper technique.

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