How to get perfect miter joints on laminate countertops

Written by kevin mcdermott
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If you're installing two laminate countertop sections that have to meet with a mitre joint in a corner, the cuts have to be absolutely straight and the laminate has to be cut cleanly -- any variation will be visible in the joint. Laminate tends to split and crack when cut, a problem you can minimise with proper preparation. Don't attempt to make the mitre cuts freehand. Instead, set up your own saw guide to ensure it's straight.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Try square
  • Thick masking tape
  • 1-by-4-inch board, as wide as the countertop
  • Circular saw
  • Two heavy clamps

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  1. 1

    Mark out the line you want for your cut on the first section of countertop, using a level, try square and pencil. For a standard mitre, make the line at a 45-degree angle from the front of the counter to the back. Make sure the long point of the angle will fit into the corner.

  2. 2

    Press thick masking tape over the whole length of the line to prevent the laminate from chipping while you cut it. Redraw the line over the top of the tape.

  3. 3

    Sit the circular saw on the countertop section, with the blade hanging over the edge and aligned with the front end of the cutting line. Put a mark on the counter at the outer edge of the saw plate.

  4. 4

    Draw a line on the counter that starts at the mark for the saw plate, and runs parallel to the taped line, using your level and pencil.

  5. 5

    Set your 1-by-4-inch board on the outside of the second line, the one parallel to the taped line. Clamp the board to the countertop, along the line, with your two heavy clamps. This will serve as your saw guide.

  6. 6

    Cut along the line with your circular saw. Let the outer edge of the saw plate run alongside the board, so the board guides the saw. Cut slowly, but don't stop once you start -- cut all the way across the line.

  7. 7

    Repeat the process for the second section of countertop, but set the 45-degree angle in the opposite direction so the two mitred cuts will line up to form the 90-degree corner.

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