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How Do You Cut Interlocking Deck Tiles?

By Kyle Schurman Created: February, 2021 - Modified: June, 2023

  1. What Tools Are Needed to Cut Interlocking Deck Tiles?

  2. What Is the Best Way to Cut PVC Plastic Tiles?

  3. What Is the Best Way to Cut Thick Rubber Tiles?

  4. What Is the Best Way to Cut Hard Plastic Tiles?

Interlocking deck tiles provide many benefits, including ease of layout. However, when going up against a wall, cutting the tile to fit becomes necessary. Fortunately, this is a relatively easy process, as cutting the majority of these tiles only requires a straight edge and a sharp utility knife blade. Occasionally, the person doing the install may use a jigsaw or another type of power saw.

The use of interlocking deck tiles involves connecting tiles of PVC plastic, rubber, or polypropylene plastic over the top of an existing wood deck or cement patio. Some of these tiles even work over grass or a mixed outdoor space to create a usable floor.

Review the expected plans for the outdoor space. This will help customers determine the best composition of interlocking deck tiles to purchase. Hard plastic delivers a firm footing when the underlying ground is a little soft. Flexible materials like PVC plastic and rubber work best over a firm subsurface like wood or concrete.

What Tools Are Needed to Cut Interlocking Deck Tiles?

The majority of installers, even when working over a big space, only need a few basic tools to handle the cutting of interlocking deck tiles, including:

  • Tape measure
  • Writing instrument
  • Straight edge
  • Utility knife with extra blades
  • 2x4 chunk of wood (optional)

For advanced cutting needs or for spaces that involve laying these interlocking deck tiles over a big lot, the installer may want power tools, including:

  • Handheld circular saw
  • Table saw
  • Jigsaw or Bandsaw for curved cuts

Certainly, installers can try to make these cuts without the proper tools. However, the chances of making a mistake will increase significantly. Failing to use the right tools will create waste, meaning customers end up spending more on materials.

Always check the instructions for the product for specific cutting tips.

What Is the Best Way to Cut PVC Plastic Tiles?

When installing a PVC plastic tile like the StayLock Tile Perforated Black product, installers can use a sharp utility knife to cut through the material, which measures 9/16 inches in thickness.

Staylock Interlocking PVC Deck Tiles

Use the tape measure to determine the size of the partial piece of tile that’s required to fill the remaining space in a wall to wall installation. Mark the measurement on the tile with a pen or marker. Because this is a black tile, a white or silver marker may work better.

If possible, mark the line to cut on the back side so none of the marks will be visible upon installation. Using a tool like a t-square as the straight edge works well to create a straight line for the cut.

Use the knife to make a series of shallow scores on the PVC plastic until cutting all the way through the material. (Place protective material under the tile to prevent cutting the underlying surface.)

Because the StayLock tile has tabs on two sides and loops on the other two sides, it is important to position the tile properly for cutting. Cut the tile in the proper direction to keep the tabs or loops required to connect to the cut piece to the section of the floor already installed.

What Is the Best Way to Cut Thick Rubber Tiles?

The Sterling Roof Top Tile 2-Inch Brown interlocking deck tiles are extremely thick, which complicates cutting them a little bit. Mark the cut line, taking care to cut in the proper direction to protect the interlocking edges.

Sterling Roof Top Tile 2-Inch Brown

Use a sharp utility knife to make shallow scores in the tile, using a straight edge to keep the blade on the proper line. Rubber may expand or contract in variable temperatures, so give the cut an extra 1/8 inch to compensate.

To simplify cutting through the thick rubber material, we recommend laying a 2x4 piece of wood underneath the tile, with the cut line centered over the flat side of the 2x4. As the installer cuts the rubber, the rubber tile will fall open along the cut line. This makes it easier to cut deeply through the rubber thick rubber.

Although it may be tempting to use a power saw on this Sterling tile, it will not work as well as the utility knife, due to increased friction.

What Is the Best Way to Cut Hard Plastic Tiles?

Although it is possible to cut hard polypropylene plastic tiles with a utility knife blade, such as the Portable Outdoor Tile 12x12 Inch product, the process usually goes faster and easier with a handheld circular saw or a table saw.
Portable Outdoor Tile 12x12 Inch

Wear eye protection when using a power saw with this style of tile, as the saw may kick up some tiny particles as it goes through the plastic.

Mark the cut line on the 12x12 tile, taking care to cut in the proper direction to protect the interlocking tabs needed to connect to the existing layout. A black marker or grease pencil should make an easily visible line on the tile. Mark the back side of the tile, if possible, to avoid seeing any stray marks after cutting. If you must mark on the surface, make sure to test your marking device in an inconspicuous part of the tile first to see if the marks can be removed - which you may have to do after cutting.