The Different Uses of a Circular Saw: What You Can and Can’t Cut

Circular saws are one of the most used power tools. Pros always have one handy in their toolbox. Even DIY enthusiasts take the circular saw for a ride almost exclusively.

Why do you think people prefer it more than other saws?

Well, for starters, it is the easiest to use, the learning curve is more manageable, and the risks are low compared to a table saw or a chainsaw. You will see that most people who are into sawing or carpentry use or have used a circular saw at least once in their career.

Apart from being easy to use, a circular saw can almost cut through anything. It can easily cut thin materials like PVC and even material as hard as stones or bricks.

I would be lying if I said it doesn’t have any limitations, but in the case of many materials, a circular saw is a handyman’s best bet.

So, without wasting any more of your time, let’s see what a circular saw can and can’t cut.

What Can be Cut with a Circular Saw

Down below is a list of things you can cut with a circular saw. Have a look to know which materials are the easiest and which are the hardest to cut.

Will a Circular Saw Cut a 4×4?

Circular saws are considered one of the best tools for cutting a 4×4. A standard circular saw with a 7-1/4 inches blade can cut 2-1/2 inches deep, which means if you want to cut a 4×4 piece, then it will require more than a single pass.

It becomes a little tricky as more than one pass can lead to unclean cuts. The easiest way to cut a 4×4 is to use a big miter saw; however, they will cost you more, and it’s tough to move them around as well. Hence, if you do want to cut a 4×4 piece with a circular saw, make sure you are following the correct methods.

It shouldn’t be too hard once you know how the cutting process goes.

Will a Circular Saw Cut Through Nails?

The answer is yes, but I wouldn’t recommend cutting nails with a circular saw. It is the best power tool for slicing down nails and not at all suitable if the blades aren’t made up of metal. You will get much better results if you use a jigsaw, hacksaw, reciprocating saw, or a keyhole saw for the task.

If you still insist on cutting nails with a circular saw, then make sure the circular saw blades are suited to cut through metal. It is not optimal as per my experience and will only be a means to end.

Will a Circular Saw Cut Plexiglass?

Among all the other tools, I believe the circular saw is the greatest when it comes to cutting plexiglass. It is true that you can use a jigsaw or something simple as a plexiglass knife for the cutting process.

However, in the case of the former, they aren’t available all the time, and for the latter, it will take up your precious time, and you can only cut thin plexiglass with the tool.

Circular saws, on the other hand, are one of the most used tools ever, and it won’t require much effort or time to cut thin or thick plexiglass with it. So, obviously, circular saws are the better choice here.

Will a Circular Saw Cut Asphalt?

The easy answer is yes. The not-so-easy one, it will, but there is a catch. If you wish to cut asphalt with a circular saw, then you’ll need a model that features diamond teeth.

You can already guess that it won’t come cheap, and you are right; it won’t. The cutting process is also tiring as it will take up a lot of your time. Hence, you need to be patient and, at the same time, skilled in the art of using saws to complete the job.

One more thing I should add—make sure the circular saw blade you are using has a top-notch ventilation system as the heat buildup will be immense.

Will a Circular Saw Cut PVC Pipe?

Yes, a circular saw can cut through PVC pipe like butter; however, there are a few conditions. If your circular saw doesn’t meet these conditions, it’s best to use some other tool for the job.

One of them is you need a particular type of blade material for the task. Usually, circular saws come with blades made up of carbon steel, but it won’t do you any good. If you want the best results without damaging your saw, then the material should be carbide steel.

The second condition is that your circular saw must feature a specific blade pattern. The blade edges should have a circular pattern. Only when your saw meets these conditions can/should you use it to cut PVC pipes.

There are better alternatives to cutting PVC material. A handsaw or a miter saw with precision guides is much better at cutting PVC pipes than circular saws.

Can I Use a Circular Saw to Cut Tile?

If you want the short answer, then yes. However, there is a catch to it. Remember, I talked about something called circular saws with diamond teeth. Well, if you want to cut tile with a circular saw, then it must feature a blade with diamond teeth.

Naturally, such saws only come at a high price. So, you’ll need to make sure you have the budget to afford it. It will be best if your circular saw comes with the ability to prevent heat or have a proper ventilation system because when you start slicing through porcelain or tile, it generates a significant amount of heat.

You will also need a water pump to go through the cutting process. You will need to pour water on the blade to prevent it from overheating. One last thing, make sure to cover your eyes and face with a protective mask or something.

Can I Use a Circular Saw to Cut Brick?

Although a circular saw is not ideal for cutting bricks, it is by all means possible. I would still recommend not cutting bricks with circular saws if you have other options available. The best would be to use a masonry saw as it reduces the risk or chance of irregular cuts and accidents by a ton.

In any case, if a circular saw is your only option, then make sure to follow a few things. First of all, you’ll need a saw with a diamond blade. This detail is unavoidable when it comes to cutting bricks.

The second is you’ll need a water pump for the job. The optimal situation would be to keep someone near you to control the water pump. His or her task would be to pour water just in front of the blade to ensure it doesn’t heat up too much. As you’ll be working with bricks, the diamond blade is sure to overheat due to the friction.

Remember, there will be a lot of dust coming out of the bricks when you are cutting them. The water, except for keeping the blade cool, also keeps the dust in check by dampening it. The guy who is controlling the saw should also wear a mask or glass to prevent the dust from going into his/her eyes.

Can I Use a Circular Saw to Cut Stone?

Yes, you can cut stones with a circular saw, but as you can guess, it’s not ideal. Usually, stones are cut with miter or concrete saws. But what can you do if you have no other choice?

As stones are pretty much similar to bricks, you’ll need a diamond blade for the job. You’ll have to re-adjust the cutting depth of the saw to ¼-inch. The process isn’t simple, and if you aren’t handy with a saw, then you better avoid cutting paver stones with a circular saw.

Only when you’re skilled with a saw and know the series of steps should you opt for cutting stones with a circular saw.

Can I Use a Circular Saw to Cut Laminate Flooring?

I wouldn’t say circular saws are the best when it comes to cutting laminate flooring, but it’s not a bad option either. It’s pretty easy to cut through laminate flooring with a circular saw; however, if you are not experienced, it may lead to uneven cuts.

In any case, a flooring saw is the most suitable for the task, but there is a very high chance of you not owning it. So, if you want to make the most out of your circular saw, then keep these things in mind: proper workbench and a marker.

You will need a suitable workbench asap for the job. As you won’t have a guide rail to help you cut straight, you’ll need to mark the board or flooring with a pen or marker. It will be a little tough to cut straight at first, but eventually, you’ll get the hang of it.

Time to Drop the Curtain

As you’ve seen, a circular saw can cut through almost everything. If you look into my article about how to use a circular saw, you’ll have the complete picture.

Maybe, it won’t give you an ideal performance with some materials, but it can get the job done with a little bit of extra effort and time.

I don’t recommend using a circular saw for cutting hard materials such as stones, bricks, asphalt, or tiles, but if you don’t have a better alternative, you can try it out.

I hope now you have a clear idea about what you can and can’t cut with a circular saw. Good luck and stay safe!

About Jose Wilson

Hi, I am Jose Wilson. I am an avid DIY woodworker. I love to try out new woodworking tools. In over 6 years I have tried several wood working tools including circular saws, table saws, chain saws, and jigsaw among the rest. My inspiration came from watching my dada work. I also learned that many people didn’t quite understand how to use these tools. Today, I have helped so many people to learn the use, benefits, and how these DIY woodworking tools operate. I have created a number of work-tools related posts, built websites, and developed social media pages. Follow me here to learn more.

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