I'm going to be laying in some fairly heavy-duty vinyl bathroom flooring tiles (similar to the Armstrong Caliber product, although I'm not sure it's actually that brand). The bathroom has some tough corners to match, which I will cover with molding, but also has some places where the doorway trim goes through the floor, and so I have to try to trim to the profile of the trim.

Are there any good ways to do this (short of removing the trim and sing it as a template)? With lighter-weight linoleum I would probably just use a box-cutter to try to make the cuts - is there a better tool to use for this material?

4 Answers 4


I would cut the bottom of the trim so the tile can slide underneath. Then you only need to approximate the shape of the tile, but you don't have to worry about perfect edges.

I've used the Dremel Multi-Max with the 3/4" flush cut blade to cut base trim and door jambs so I could slide hardwood flooring underneath. I borrowed a friend's and decided I needed to buy my own as soon as my next project came up.

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  • that looks like a great tool, but more than I need for this project. However your initial answer is the one I should have thought of myself, having used the cut-away method elsewhere in the house. Thanks for the reminder!
    – cori
    Sep 21, 2010 at 12:38

I'd agree with @aphoria about just cutting back the trim (unless this is a temporary job, as you're not going to be able to extend it later if the floor gets lowered).

... but I wouldn't use a dovetail saw. Yes, the fine teeth will minimize tearing, but the handle placement and rigid spine make it much more difficult to get a horizontal cut. Instead, try a "ryoba" (japanese pull saw) ... the flexible blade means you get it right against where you're trying to cut.

  • +1 for the pull saw reference - as soon as I read aphoria's answer my pull-saw came straight to mind.
    – cori
    Sep 21, 2010 at 12:39

I agree with aphoria about cutting under the trim. The best tool for this is a dovetail saw. Lay your vinyl next to the door, place the saw flat on top, create yourself a nice snug pocket to slide the flooring under. As far as cutting the vinyl, you can use a heat gun to soften the material first to make an easier/cleaner cut with your utility knife.


You could use a profile gauge. They are also known as contour gauges.

You push this against your architrave (the doorway trim) and you get the profile you need to cut. You then transfer this to what ever you are cutting (the vinyl in this case) by drawing round the shape. You then use a sharp knife to cut along the line.

The Wikipedia entry has a couple of nice pictures to show how it can be used.

I've also found this clip from MichaelHoligan.com which shows one in use.

  • +1 used a profile gauge many times back in my set constriction days, but don't have one on hand, so I forgot about that possibility. I'll have to pick one up for other projects, even though the cut-away is the most direct solution for this particular problem.
    – cori
    Sep 21, 2010 at 12:41

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