Formica is a brand that has steadily taken the lead in transforming mineral to decorative sheets for your home. Formica is one of the most famous products that homeowners buy for their stunning countertops at home.
If you’re looking to buy Formica and conduct a do-it-yourself project at home, the very first thing you’ll need to know is how to cut Formica. This is important since you might end up wasting Formica sheets if not cut correctly, so stay tuned!
Background of Formica
Before we go and discuss the steps, it’s important for you to be fully aware of what Formica is. For starters, Formica became famous after being an electrical insulation substitute to the mineral called “mica.” This is actually where the brand got its name. The origin of the name comes from the phrase “For Mica.”
The mica mineral group have several distinct characteristics. However, what stands out the most from this mineral is that it’s layered almost as if it’s a lasagna. Mica represents over 37 silicate minerals, all of which have their use in different industries.
What the brand did is to find an alternative to this mineral. The founders of Formica looked for cheaper and more accessible sources, which led to the brand’s reliance on plastic and resin. Now, Formica is known to produce sheets of textile (infused with melamine) or a laminate of paper. Some of the main features of this product are heat resistance and silkiness.
What You’ll Need
Cutting Formica can be related to cutting sheets of wood or aluminum. You’ll need the necessary materials such as measurement tools, cutting equipment, and markers. Here’s a list of the things you’ll need for further understanding:
- Formica sheets (The sizes and thickness of the sheets differ, and it’s up to your preference when buying)
- Measuring tape
- Masking tape
- Saw/Shears (ideally, you’d want to have a circular saw for an easier time)
- Polishing machine (Buffers and Belt sanders work well)Jigsaw power tool
Step-by-step Guide on How to Cut Formica
Step 1: Know the size that you’ll need
As previously said, Formica offers a broad range of sizes and thicknesses, all of which caters to different applications for home use and industrial use. To make your life easier in cutting, be sure to gauge the size of the furniture that you’re planning to use the Formica on.
A good way to do this is to take the measurements of the furniture. For example, if you’re planning to install Formica on a long table, measure its dimensions beforehand. Afterward, you can simply search online for the closest size of the Formica available.
Another important part of this is to know the thickness of the Formica that you’ll be using. Do you need a thicker sheet? Or a thinner one? Research more on the impacts of the Formica’s thickness. This will usually depend on how it will be used in your home.
To further help you with this step, here are some of the measurements of Formica:
- Thickness: 16 and 1/32 of an inch thick or 0.15 and 0.08 cm) thick.
- Width: 3-5 feet wide or 0.9-1.52 m wide
- Length: 8, 10, and 12 feet or 2.44, 3.05, 3.66 m long
As a side note, you should also be aware that some Formica stores offer smaller sizes. This works great if you’re only looking to use it for a small area at home.
Step 2: Marking your Formica sheet
Installing Formica on your countertop or furniture follows the same principles as putting a lid on a pot. Proportionality is key, so getting precise and accurate measurements on both the Formica and the countertop is where you’ll need to focus on.
Since we’ve already noted that you should measure your countertop beforehand, we’ll go right at marking your furniture. Once you’ve taken the measurements with a measuring tape, only use a pencil to draw the specific surface area of the countertop to the Formica sheet.
Since pencil will be difficult to follow in cutting, the next thing that you should do is get your masking tape. Simply follow the pencil lines that you did and apply the tape until you form the shape of the surface area on the Formica.
Step 3: Secure the Formica in place
Now your Formica is almost ready for cutting. Find a large flat surface where you can lay and secure your Formica. To obtain it, use a plank of wood that’s longer than the Formica sheet and lay it across the Formica until it extends out of the table.
Use a pair of C-clamps to clamp the wood firmly to the table. This acts as a bar that helps lock in the sheet in place.
Step 4: Use a circular saw to cut out the shape
With the Formica sheet locked in place, just simply operate a circular saw and run it slowly across the masking tape that you’ve set. Never use the saw to make any angular or rounded cuts because it won’t perform under those circumstances.
To avoid problems, only stick to the lines that you’ve made via the masking tape until you’ve removed the desired Formica shape from the excess sheets.
Step 5: Use a jigsaw power tool or a metal file for fine trimming
Lastly, trim the edges of the Formica sheets using either a file or a jigsaw. What’s the difference between the two? Well, for one, the jigsaw is more recommended if you want your Formica sheets to have a rounded edge.
But if you’re just sticking to its actual shape, just use a metal file. If you want to take its design to another level, you can opt to use a more advanced tool like the trim router. This usually has a laminating cutting bit that specializes in Formica’s material.
Wrapping it Up
Formica sheets are necessary to cut. All you need to do is to get the measurements right and to operate your hand tools accordingly. Once you’ve done that, then you can move on to the next steps which are installing it and polishing the Formica.