Installing new wood flooring is a super exciting process, but also a long and stressful one. You have so many decisions to make and tools to buy or rent and it all adds up quickly. A big decision you will have to make involves the type of saw you will be using for installing the wood flooring. This raises the question, which saw is best for installing wood flooring, a table saw or a miter saw?
Table saws are best when cutting long pieces of wood at straight angles as the blade can not move. Miter saws are great for when only needing to make smaller cuts or you want to have different angled cuts.
Ultimately, the choice of saw will depend on the project and the materials that you will be using for the floors. For normal, straight hardwood floors that will need to be cut length-wise, a table saw is best. For smaller cuts along the width or to get different angles, a miter saw will your best choice. The saw that you will want to pick really depends on the planks of wood and what you need to do with them. Keep reading to find out more information on both saws to ensure you pick the right one!
A table saw is a saw that is literally built into a table. The blade will jut out from the table, usually towards the middle of it, but the placement of it will depend on the brand you choose to use. Having that table makes it so much easier to get rip-cuts because the wood is supported as you feed it, or move it, through the saw. A rip-cut is a cut that is along the entire length of the plank of wood.
Unless you buy extra tools, it is very hard to get angled cuts and smaller cuts along the width of the wood, with a table saw. Even with extras, mainly only advanced carpenters can cut very precise angles.
It can still be hard to get a perfect cut with a table saw though, even if you are only using it to cut along the length of the wood. A person has to slowly move the wood the whole time, and if the force of that movement changes at all it can cause parts of the wood to have a jagged edge. Especially when installing floors, the jagged edges can make it all look very amateurish, which is the last thing anybody wants for their house.
A miter saw is smaller and much easier to move around than a table saw. Instead of feeding wood through the blade, you lower the blade to the wood. This saw is great when you really only have to deal with cross-cuts. A cross-cut is when you cut across the grain, in other words, it means you are cutting the plank of wood shorter.
A miter saw is great to use when you need to make cutouts for a doorframe as well because it can do those small, precise cuts that you would need. This type of saw can also make a beveled edge. This means that the edge of the cut wood will be sloped instead of flat.
One thing to keep in mind when using a miter saw is that it can not make cuts that are longer than the width of the blade. The miter saw does have differently sized blades, ranging in the width. If the material you are working with is wide, you will want to be sure to get a wider blade to be able to properly work with the material.
Miter saws are also very portable. They are easy to move around and easy to store because they are relatively small. They should be able to fit into any kind of trunk and be somewhat easy to get out of that trunk if you are renting it.
For more information on both types of saws and different ways to use them, check out this blog.
Picking the saw that you need is tricky because they both do well, but at very different jobs. Another important thing to think about is safety. For both types of saws, be sure to follow all safety precautions to ensure that you don’t get hurt and that the people around you don’t get hurt. Wear safety goggles, follow the directions, and always be aware of where the blade is in relation to your body. With that being said, which type of saw is safer overall?
With table saws, you are cutting with the top of the blade. This means that wood chips can be flying into your face while you are cutting. It also means that the blade is moving towards you, so you will want to be sure to stay back from it. Most table saws should come with metal poles that you can use to feed the wood through the blade instead of having your hands directly on the wood.
With miter saws, you are using the bottom of the blade. This means that the blade is moving away from, and has a covering to keep you safe. Wood chips also move away from you instead of towards you, so they shouldn’t get into your eyes. You also don’t have to worry about your fingers as much because you can hold the wood further away from the blade since you lower the blade to the wood.
Both saws are safe when they are used properly. However, with the features that both saws offer, a miter saw is safer, especially for those that may not have used a saw before. It really just comes down to the person using it though. Because of how a miter saw is designed, with the blade moving away from you and being lowered to the wood, it is safer than a table saw.
But if you wear safety glasses and are aware of where your hands and fingers are in relation to the blade, the table saw is also very safe to use.
Which saw should you use for installing your wood flooring? Ultimately, it depends on the project. If you have to cut with the grain, meaning the length of the plank of wood, a table saw is what you should go with. The wood is fed through the blade so you don’t have to repetition it under the blade over and over again. Although trickier to do, it can also cut the wood shorter, so you wouldn’t necessarily need to rent another saw later into the project.
If you only need to cut the wood shorter or want to get different angles for unique flooring, the miter saw is the way to go. It can only cut wood that is the width of the blade, so it is not great for cutting along the entire length of wood. But it can get different angles that a table saw just can not get, and has very precise cuts.
Before renting or buying the saw, be sure to figure out what you need the saw to do so that you can get the best one for your project.