cutting sink hole in countertop

homeboundNovember 25, 2009

What is the preferred method for cutting the sink hole into one of those laminate one-piece countertops? I used a saber saw last time I did one, but cutting adjacent to the backsplash is difficult. This time I'm think of turning the sink upside down and using a circular saw for that part, hoping for not too much chipping and tearout. Is that the way to go or is there a better method? Maybe a router with some sort of fence attached? Thanks much.

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worthy

I've never seen installers use anything other than a jig saw. I've done a number of cutouts myself for both sinks and stovetops using jig saws, as the plumbers didn't want to take responsibility for mistakes.

I'm surprised you would be so close to the backsplash to encounter interference.

Using a quality tool with enough power and infinitely adjustable speed gives you control to make the job go quickly and neatly.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 11:18PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Holesaw for the corners, then what-have-you for the sides. I have used jigsaw, skilsaw and sawzall for the cuts.
Casey

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 11:28PM
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kudzu9

If you use a fine enough blade for the jig saw and go slowly, you shouldn't have much chip-out that can't be hidden by the lip of the sink. If you're neurotic, like me, you could always cut it a little undersize (1/16"-1/8" in from the line), and then clean it up with a handheld trim router guided by a straight piece of wood: that gives a very clean edge to both the substrate and the formica.

What exactly is giving you problems along the back edge?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 2:09PM
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sierraeast

It helps to lay down tape such as blue painters tape, lay out your cut lines on that, and use a decent jig saw with variable speed settings and a medium or finer blade. Dont cut from the underside, it will tear out the surface material.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 5:34PM
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I've never seen installers use anything other than a jig saw.

O.K.! you've got to start the cut with something else. I use a drill.

Dont cut from the underside, it will tear out the surface material.

Wow! Have you actually seen someone attempt that? But I guess there's a reason the product safety tags on hairdryers warn, "Don't use in a bathtub."

Another tip I learned from a plumber. Don't trust the cardboard templates on the packing box that sinks come in. They can be off or leave much too much space around the sink. If your cut is too tight, you can always remove material. You can't add it.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 10:55AM
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paul21

re cutting adjacent to the backsplash== assuming that you aren't trying to use a vanity countertop on a kitchen base, or something silly like that, there should be a good 2 inches between your cutout and the backsplash. Get a piece of cardboard cut it out to fit the sink and use as a template . I use a washable fine line marker to draw it out on the countertop before cutting. I then drill a starter hole and cut with a jigsaw using a medium fine blade.. and take my time.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 2:03PM
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homebound

Hmmmm, I thought I replied a couple days ago but must have forgotten to confirm it. Sorry about that.

Anyway, there was nowhere near two inches to work with the last two times I did this, and that's pushing the sink toward the front edge as far as I could go. I ended up using my jigsaw (Skil) with the scroll feature, where I steer/turn the blade (only) sideways to give clearance for the saw near the basksplash. But that's still time-consuming for making the corner turns, so a large hole saw for the radius corners is a great idea. I'll use the one for cutting lock holes, and then might be able to cut the straight portion (near the backsplash) with a reciprocating saw if necessary.

Thanks for the replies.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 2:30PM
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homebound

BTW, If I happen to have one, I use a jigsaw blade with "upside-down teeth" to minimize the tear out.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 2:32PM
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brickeyee

"I've never seen installers use anything other than a jig saw."

"O.K.! you've got to start the cut with something else. I use a drill."

No, you can start a jigsaw blind in the area of the cutout, then cut over to the desired edge.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 4:20PM
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homebound

How do you start a jigsaw blind? Lean the blade into the surface? Wouldn't it skip on laminate?

Anyway, I just cut another countertop and found the hole saw method + circular saw worked just fine (since I could flip the countertop and cut after I cut the corners. Plenty of dust, but I was working in an empty condo (8 floors up) so it was ok.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 6:03PM
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brickeyee

"How do you start a jigsaw blind? Lean the blade into the surface? Wouldn't it skip on laminate?"

Stand it on the blade end so the blade is parallel to the surface and pivot the saw so the blade enters.

If you have a sharp blade and maintain a tight grip it will score in and start.

Start in the cutout area so that any surface damage is removed with the cutout.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2009 at 12:41PM
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