Cutting Post-Form Countertops on Site

Installers discuss how to cut out an existing countertop on site for a new cooktop. April 20, 2007

I have a client who is purchasing a new stove and needs to change the current cutout in her postform laminate countertops. This will require cutting through about an inch wide strip of countertop and the backsplash. I want to cut as cleanly and as closely to the finished wall behind the backsplash as possible and am not sure how to best go about this. Jig saw? Circular saw held vertically?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor J:
Use a sawzall or jig saw. If using a jig saw, remove the base plate. Take your time, hold the saw so that it will cut through the sheetrock. When you are done you can put a bead of caulk on the sheet rock to seal.

From contributor L:
If the section of countertop can be removed, clamp a straightedge to the bottom and run a circular saw against the straight edge. The laminate end cap can be removed by heating with a clothes iron and peeling off, but be careful not to overheat the laminate or it will bubble.

I don't think you will be able to make the corner from the countertop to the backsplash with a jig saw cutting from the top. If you do cut from the top, Bosch makes a reverse tooth jig saw blade that won't chip out the laminate like a standard jig saw blade will. I think a sawzall will leave too rough a cut for a countertop.

From contributor D:
A jig saw would give you more control. Any time you cut laminate, be sure to put masking tape along the line you are cutting. It makes the line easier to see and will minimize chipping to give you a cleaner cut.

From contributor M:
I've used many jig saws and I can attest to the Festool jig saw leaving a glass smooth finish on thick surfaces.

From contributor H:
Use a Fein Multimaster. Best investment I ever made.

From contributor V:
I agree - the Fein Multimaster is the tool to use in this application. You'll get a fine cut and won't have a lot of cleanup to do on the edge after it's cut.

From contributor K:
Would a rotozip work?

From contributor V:
Probably would. But not to any degree of acceptability. As I'm sure you know, a rotozip is great for doing cut outs in drywall for outlets and such.

From contributor K:
For altering Formica/laminate countertops, I usually use a wide roll of tape and a cordless circular (with fine blade) for straight cuts. For sink bowl cuts, we drill four holes in the corners and rip the straights with a jig/circular.

Reason I asked about the roto is, recently I noticed a tile crew using the cordless model to cut 12/12 quarry floor tile (the hard stuff) and it worked quickly, eating the tile up like butter. He just held the saw at 45, plunge cut into the material and in minutes the circular toilet flange was cut.