Cutting wall panels is simplicity itself but there some things that need to be taken into consideration. They are a great deal easier to cut than most other materials.
Always follow the old carpentry rule: measure twice cut once.
PVC panels can be easily trimmed either with a saw or even a Stanley knife if slightly too large. Laminate panels are not quite as easy to work with and require a few more carpentry skills.
Err on the side of caution when cutting. Is it is very easy to cut a little bit more off but impossible to add a bit more back on!
Make sure you cut on a stable, flat surface. Ensure the section being cut off is supported to prevent it bending during the cutting process. Get someone to help you if you are cutting long sections to ensure they do not crease.
Bring the panels indoors and store them horizontally on a flat surface. The colder the panels are the more brittle the PVC becomes. So keep them warm.
What Tools Are Needed?
PVC panels are easily cut with any fine toothed saw. You can use a tenon saw, handsaw or jigsaw.
A tenon saw will give an accurate cut and a neat finish. The panels cut very easily cut so a cheap tenon saw will do the job perfectly. There is no need to buy an expensive saw if you do not have one already in your tool box.
A handsaw can also be used for cutting wall panels providing the teeth are reasonably fine. Coarse saw blades will tend to give a rougher finish and can chip the panels during the cut.
Jigsaws can be used but it is not easy to cut straight lines with these. Cover the metal plate with some masking tape to ensure it does not scratch the surface of the panels. Choose a fine toothed blade and turn the pendulum motion off (if you have the option). Jigsaws are ideal for cutting curved or detailed areas. . The panels are more liable to chip using a jigsaw so for most cuts we would recommend a tenon saw.
Circular saws and chop saws are not ideal for PVC panels. The blades tend to be too coarse and result in chipped, rough edges. If you have one of these try several test cuts first to see if it is compatible. They are more effective with laminate panels but test the saw on a piece of scrap panel to be sure.
Hole saws, attached to a drill, can be used for cutting circular apertures for light fittings, pipes etc. (see the photo below)
used with an electric drill can also be used for creating smaller holes. Take your time and do not press too hard.
Make sure you have a large enough work area available. A workbench is ideal if you have the space but any flat surface can be used if pushed.
Large shower panels are very bulky and can be cumbersome to manoeuvre inside. They are too large for most workbenches so they need to be cut outside. Find a level area and support the panels underneath with wooden blocks to raise them off the ground.
See the following blog posts for extra tips on installing bathroom cladding and instruction on how to scribe panels for a perfect close fit: