What’s the Best Saw for Cutting Wood Flooring?
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If you’re about to embark on a journey of installing a wood floor for the first time, make sure you have the right wood floor saw for the job. Why spend good money on flooring only to ruin the boards cutting with the wrong blade or saw? The wrong type of blade can take your beautiful new wood planks and turn them into jagged splinters.
Don’t worry. This article will cover the best saw for cutting wood floors and the best saw blade for cutting hardwood flooring or any other type of floor you plan to install.
What Do You Use to Cut Hardwood Floors?
There are six types of wood floor saws you can use. They are:
- A Miter Saw –
A miter saw is your best choice if you can only purchase or rent one type of saw. It has a level surface to support the board or molding. You can make straight, or angled cuts for corners or chevron patterned floors.
Although you can buy a handsaw for straight cuts or miters, it will be a long and tedious job if you must make hundreds of cuts.
A higher-end option is to use a double beveled sliding compound miter saw. You can cut any intricate angles in boards or molding with a few adjustments. Before choosing a saw, be sure it will cut the width of planks you plan to install.
- A Table Saw -
Table saws are best at ripping long planks or large pieces of wood. With a table saw, the saw blade protrudes through the center of the table. The blade adjusts to a 45° angle for corner joints.
When using a table saw, you push the material through the blade while the table supports it. A table saw is not portable, so that you will need a designated area for it.
- A Reciprocating Saw –
This is the saw you need if you are cutting up and taking out the old flooring, damaged floor stringers, and wall joists. It’s not for smooth cutting. It’s a demolition tool that will get the job done.
You can buy blades for wood or metal. A reciprocating saw is excellent for cutting any hidden nails or staples in the subfloor.
- A Circular Saw –
This saw is like a table saw, except there is no table. It’s completely portable. It’s a suitable wood flooring saw for basic cuts. The downside is that you hold the saw in one hand and control the board with the other. There is more room for error when making fine cuts.
A circular saw works well for cutting the wood planks lengthwise, also known as a rip cut. Depending on the location and number of rip cuts you need, the circular saw’s portability can make it an excellent choice.
- A Jig Saw –
A jigsaw is best for cutting intricate corners and rounded areas, especially in tight spaces. Although you can make accurate straight cuts, the blade is thin and small. It can bend and break when cutting a lot of thick oak floorboards.
Because the blade goes up and down, place a small amount of masking or painters’ tape along the cut line before you cut. The tape helps to reduce splintering. It’s also a good practice for any saw when cutting finished wood flooring.
- A Jamb Saw –
A jamb saw is a specialized saw used only to cut through the door jamb or floor moldings at floor level. It’s the right tool for some flooring projects when you have a tight fit, and there is no other way. You can always rent one.
In most cases, the miter or table saw will be the best saw for cutting wood flooring. Here are few options to look at before buying or renting a saw.
What Is the Best Tool to Cut Wood Flooring?
The two best types of saws for cutting wood flooring are a miter saw and a circular saw. To help you decide, we choose three models that contractors rated 4.5-stars or better on Amazon.
Let’s start with...
DeWalt 12-Inch Miter Saw –
Most miter saws come with a 10-inch blade. The DeWalt DWS715 comes with a 12” blade. It has a cross-cut capacity of up to 2x8 inch dimensional lumber at 90° and a 2x6 inch lumber at 45°. This model comes with a 15 amp, 4,000 RPM motor. It has a 5-star rating with over 10,343 ratings.
Bosch CM10GD –
This compact dual-bevel sliding glide miter saw has a 15 amp motor and comes with a 10-inch, 60-tooth carbide saw blade. It has a built-in attachment for a shop-vac to minimize dust. The patented glide-action allows you to push the saw right up against the wall for tight working conditions.
SKIL 3821-01 –
The Skil 3821-01 is a 12” miter saw with a laser cutline guide that works in bright light or shadows. The 15 amp motor delivers 4,500 RPM. It has table extensions on both sides for long or large wood pieces and nine stops for setting standard miter angles.
Miter saws are portable but are a bit bulky and take up space. If you want more portability with your saw, try one of these brands of circular saws.
DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw –
The saw weighs just 8.8 pounds. The DeWalt DWE575 compact circular saw has an electric brake, a 15-amp motor, and a 57° beveling capacity. It also features two stops at 45 and 22.5 degrees. It cuts an entire 2 9/16 inch thick board
SKIL 5280-01 Circular Saw –
The powerful 15-amp motor delivers 5,300-RPM for greater speed and smoother cuts. It features a spindle lock for quick blade changes and comes with a 7 ¼ inch carbide-tipped blade. It only weighs 6.95 pounds and has a 51° bevel capacity. One handy feature is a dust blower that keeps the cut line clear.
Bosch CCS180B Cordless 6-1/2-Inch Circular Saw –
Although the blade is ¾ inch smaller, this saw offers cordless convenience. It also features a unique blade-left, handle-right design allowing for better visibility of the cut line. It will cut 2-inch thick material at 90 degrees and 1 9/16 inch thick material at 50 degrees. The 18-volt motor puts out 3,900RPM with no load.
One or two of these saws will handle all the cutting you need for DIY flooring projects and beyond.
What is the Best Saw Blade for Cutting Hardwood Flooring?
Modern saws can change blades quickly to handle different materials. But there are specific blades you want specifically for hardwood, engineered wood, or laminate flooring.
General Purpose Blade - Combination or general-purpose blades can handle ripping and cross-cuts or cuts made against the grain. They have both alternately beveled teeth (ATB) like cross-cut blades and Flat teeth (FT) like rip blades. If you only buy one blade, a combination blade with 80 to 100 teeth will make different cuts and there is no need to switch out the blade.
Rip Blade - This blade is the one to use for ripping through hardwood and leaving a clean edge. Rip blades usually have fewer teeth, around 10 to 40 teeth. The space between the teeth, called the gullet, is larger than other blades allowing it to displace more material required in rip cuts.
Plywood Blade - Usually made from High-Speed Steel (HSS) with 100 or more fine teeth. It’s best for cutting moldings and engineered flooring. The finer teeth make cleaner cuts.
To see the variety of blades and how they work, check out this video, “Selecting Table Saw Blades - Types, Uses and Buying Advice.”
Do More Teeth on a Circular Saw Blade Make It Better?
Ripping, or cutting with the wood grain, requires a blade with fewer teeth than cross-cutting. Typically, the more teeth, the cleaner the cut. For example, the teeth count for a 10-inch table saw are:
- Combination blade - 50 teeth
- Ripping blade - 24 to 30 teeth
- Cross-cutting blade - 60 teeth.
No matter what blade you choose, invest in carbide-tipped blades. They stay sharper longer.
Now that you have the right saw and blade, how do you use them?
How Do You Cut a Wooden Floor Plank?
It’s best to use a table saw for ripping or making a cut down the length of a board. However, if you only have a circular saw, here’s what you need to do:
- Install the appropriate blade for ripping hardwood.
- Install an edge guide to your saw. It slides down the edge of the wood as you work, creating a uniform cut.
- Set the blade depth so that it barely goes all the way through the board.
- Put scrap pieces of wood on the sawhorses so that you can cut straight through.
- Mark your board with a straight edge and cut from one end to the other.
This video, “How to Make Rip Cuts with a Circular Saw,” shows you this technique.
Here are some other videos to help you get the most out of your saws safely.
How to make an “L” cut using a table saw while working on your hardwood floors
Two beginner table saw mistakes to avoid
Pro Tricks for Cutting Laminate Flooring
Removing & replacing a damaged hardwood flooring board
Some Tips to Finding the Right Hardwood Flooring Saw
If you plan to buy a saw specifically to install hardwood floors, then a table saw would be the best bet. You may need to rip planks lengthwise to make them fit, and a table saw is the best tool for the job.
If you are a DIYer who needs a saw to help build additions and treehouses, a portable circular saw would be a more versatile choice.
Miter saws are best for cutting cross-grain, making short bevel cuts, and diagonal cuts.
Once you determine the functions and features you need, shop for the best price. There is no need to invest in top-of-the-line if you don’t plan to use it often. Instead, put your money into quality saw blades for the best results.
Don't Get Ripped Off At the Flooring Store!
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- All flooring is 3/4” thick solid white oak (not laminate or engineered)
- Suitable to install over concrete slab
- In-stock items are delivered to your curbside in 7-14 days (continental USA only)
- Easily install yourself, or hire an expert
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