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How to cut vinyl tile around door jambs

Cutting vinyl tile to fit around obstacles can be tricky. It’s easy to end up with an unsightly gap. Here’s how to cut vinyl tile around door jambs and how to cut vinyl tile to fit around a toilet, around a corner, or other obstacles.

With a couple of tricks and a fair bit of patience, you can get nice results.

It’s easiest if you have your other tiles down. I always prefer to work out from the easiest part of the room into the most difficult areas, and make those most intricate cut tiles last.

The job is easy enough if you have a contour gauge. Just measure the contour and then trace. If you don’t have a contour gauge, keep reading.

Make a paper template

cut vinyl tile to fit around a corner

Here I’ve made a paper template out of paper and business cards to get around a tricky corner and I’m about ready to trace it. The lines are straight but the angles aren’t quite 90 degrees.

Next, make a template out of paper. Take pieces of paper or cardboard. Lay one down to close as much of the opening as you can. Then lay down another, then another. Tape each one into place. Build out the template with as many straight lines as possible. For any really tricky areas, cut pieces to fit.

Cutting vinyl tile to fit around a toilet is a bit trickier since there are curves involved. But the process is the same. Trace the curvature of the toilet onto a piece of paper. Build out the rest with straight pieces. Position the curved piece to fit, and tape it all down as you go.

Once you have a template that fits nicely, label the top to say “this side to underside of tile.” This way you don’t cut the opposite of what you need. Let’s not talk about how many times I’ve done that.

Cut vinyl tile to fit using the template

Flip a tile over, then trace the outline of the template onto the paper backing using the template you just made. Cut as closely to the line as you can using a pair of heavy-duty scissors. Scissors from the cooking section of most retail stores will do fine. Scissors intended for paper won’t do well on vinyl.

Test the fit

cut vinyl tile around door jambs

And here’s the cut vinyl tile, installed tightly around the door jamb.

Test the fit before you remove the paper backing. If it doesn’t quite fit, mark where you have problems, then come back and cut back to the line. Retry and repeat. Patience is key to getting a good fit. Remember, it’s good if it’s tight, and it’s much easier to take more off than to put some back.

Place and roll

Remove the paper backing from the tile. Press the tile into place, getting the corners first. If it buckles slightly, that’s OK. As long as you can force the corners in, it will fit after you roll it.

If it doesn’t fit quite perfectly and you get a gap, here’s how I deal with gaps in vinyl tile. If you’re putting vinyl down in a room that gets moisture, you want to fill those gaps.

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