The right saw blade for cutting laminate flooring like Pergo is not the one that came on your saw, or any other miter or table saw that’s sold. One common misconception is that an original equipment blade is good for just about anything. Another is that laminate flooring is wood: it’s not.
Let me relate a true story to illustrate the results of these mistaken ideas.
The flooring contractor working at the house I was renting was using a nice DeWalt bench-top table saw, with a standard DeWalt blade on it. It might have been the original, an exact replacement or maybe a step up in tooth count, but apparently he thought a DeWalt saw needs a DeWalt blade. A crazy idea, when there are so many other aftermarket brands that are a lot better.
Anyway, I watched in horror as he tried to cut a piece of laminate flooring, lengthwise. I could smell the smoke and hear the scream of the blade from a distance, and from closer I could see the sparks flying. And the saw was straining just to cut through that thin board.
Why? That blade was shot, duller than a butter knife. And I’d guess it was that way from about the third or fourth cut on laminate flooring he made with it. Keep in mind, this was a professional contractor, using a blade that was ready for the dumpster.
Different Materials Call For Different Blades
You see, laminate flooring will destroy a wood cutting blade with alternating top bevel (ATB) teeth in no time at all. The sharp points on this type of blade can’t handle anything that hard – they dull quickly and those tips are what the blade uses to cut cleanly through wood.
Another thing that happens is, when the glue that holds the flooring together gets hot from using a dull blade, it sticks to the sides of the carbide tips and gums them up. Obviously, that makes the cutting even harder for the saw.
There are many different types of saw blades, designed for cutting different materials. If you just make sure you’re using the right type before starting your project, you’ll get much better performance out of your saw and make the job go much better.
Now, what kind of blade should be used for cutting laminate flooring? I’ll give you a hint: most laminate flooring brands have aluminum oxide in their makeup. And the material itself is about as hard as metal.