Plasterboard known as gypsum board is a well liked, easily accessible and affordable building material, naturally resistant to flames, traditionally made from white sandy occuring mineral called gypsum. The drywall sheet is very soft and durable, it’s also fairly easy to cut. To produce a professional finish, it’s essential that you make clean cuts in the plasterboard. Lack of knowledge on how to cut neatly plasterboard stops many people using it in the first place. If you are reading this, you are probably wondering how to cut plasterboard to size or straight. Or perhaps you are looking to just cut in situ plasterboard around sockets or at an angle. In this article we will explain how to measure and cut plasterboard using the quickest methods.
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The absolutely smartest and most efficient way to cut plasterboard is by using scoring and snapping technique. It means marking, then scoring a line on the face side of the board with a straight edge and cutting with a Stanley knife. Next step would be lifting the sheet and snapping the board along the score line. As a final step you run the knife down the other side of the board, cutting the back of the plasterboard. The big advantage of this technique is that no electricity is needed.
You only have to mark the board once when cutting to length. By doing so, you will get perfectly square cuts every time. Use a quick, sharp movement back and up to snap it off. Drywall rasp will also help improve the finish of the cut.
Advantages: speed, no electricity involved.
Disadvantages: finish planing is required.
Time of cutting: 1min-1.5min.
SCORING PLASTERBOARD WITH A TAPE MEASURE
If you are familiar with the tools, you don’t need a guideline to make a straight cut. Just pull your tape measure to the length or width of the piece you need. Then pinch the tape between thumb and forefinger. Then at the end of the tape pinch the hook of the tape between your knife blade and thumb. Starting at the edge, hold both hands across plasterboard, scoring the paper face of the drywall as you move.
After scoring, grab the edge of the sheet and firmly snap it and break the gypsum core. It will break on that cut line.
Now run the knife along the brake cutting paper on the back of drywall and separate the two pieces.
Scoring and cutting plasterboard with tape measure is known as the fastest method ever developed. Average cutting time using this method should take no longer than 45sec.
Second most effective way of cutting plasterboard is by using a Jigsaw. You draw a line where you want to cut with a pencil. Then, you position the tool so that the blade is aligned with the markings but not touching it. Lastly, you turn on the saw and run it at high speed. Push the blade gently into the material until it breaks through.
You will want to look for a medium tooth count blade. It will help to prevent the paper from tearing. When you use a jigsaw, you are able to use one tool to complete many different pieces of work. You can make curved cuts with a jigsaw very easily and cleanly, which is not possible with an ordinary hand saw or circular saw blade.
Advantages: efficient, jigsaw can cut a variety of holes in drywall including standard, rectangular, and plunge cuts, precise holes for your light switches or power outlets.
Disadvantages: results in imprecise cuts, creates an extreme amount of dust.
Time of cutting: 2-3min.
The plasterboard can be also cut easily using a plunge-cut saw, a guide rail and a dust extractor. This method involves setting the circular saw onto the guide rail, setting circular saw to a depth of 15mm on the cutting depth scale then cutting plasterboard along the entire length of the rail at maximum speed level.
For the best quality cuts it is crucial to make sure the blade does not protrude more than 1-2mm out of the base of application.
Advantages: clean, accurate cuts, straight cut.
Disadvantages: requires a lot of effort, expensive diamond saw blade must be used, messy job if no dust extractor installed, too powerful of a tool to use on such a lightweight material,
Time of cutting: 2-2.5min
Cutting plasterboard with electric tools is one way of doing it, but what about if you don't have any of that? Well, plasterboard can simply be sawn using an ordinary timber saw. It is a must have tool to any tradesman or DIY enthusiast. Handsaw is often used for either plastic or wood. They cut using both the push and pull stroke. Selecting the wrong blade for plasterboards may result in a raw finish, while selecting the right blade will result in a finer finish.
Handsaws with fewer teeth are not recommended to cut plasterboards as they are best for fast, coarse cuts only. While cutting plasterboard with a hand saw may sound like a simple operation, however, it is the slowest method, often involving unnecessary dust around your working place.
Measure twice, cut once. The finer the teeth, the better and a cleaner edge is obtained with a fine toothed saw.
Advantages: great for complex shapes, much more control.
Disadvantages: messy job, slow operation.
Time of cutting: 4-5 min
Invariably, the best way of cutting a drywall to size is to cut it from the front side and then hit it in the middle from the back side. The board should break at the cut line. All you have to do is cut the back paper and split the sheets.
One of the most frustrating and time-consuming parts of fixing plasterboard is cutting holes for electrical outlets and light fittings. Common reasons for this would be the integration of spotlights into ceiling cavities. To cut holes in plasterboard you can either use a cutting kit with varieties of sizes or pad saw (drywall saw). If you don't want to buy a drywall saw, Stanley makes a blade the same as a drywall saw 1275B that fits a Stanley knife. They are great for carving pumpkins too:)
Cutting square holes in drywall is a lot easier than you might imagine. There isn't a better alternative than cutting square holes in plasterboard with a pad saw. All it needs is to transfer the measurements, drill starting holes with the drill bit and cut drywall according to lines you marked earlier. You can use either a jigsaw or a drywall saw to make the cuts along the marked lines.
You can cut openings for recessed lights with a variety of circle-cutters. Circle-cutters can be adjusted from 40mm up to 270mm. Standard diameter size is 68mm. When cutting plasterboard, they’re best operated at low speed. Using a power saw will create a lot of dust, as compared to using a regular pad saw.
The same principles can apply to any size hole you need to cut in your plasterboard wall. Whenever cut in wallboard keep an eye out for whatever might be behind it. Check for existing electrical cables, pipe work or any stud work that may be holding them all together.
Plasterboard is very abrasive and dulls ordinary blades very quickly. While the blade works well at first, after a few cuts you will notice that the blade dulled quickly! The best tool to cut any type of plasterboard is a sharp tool. Sharp tools make things easier and quicker. It gives us a nice, crisp edge of plasterboard. Remember! Dull blades make projects take longer.
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4. youtube.com, Deco Bliss, ‘How To Cut Square Hole In Drywall’, mpeg, May, 09 2012, accessed September 13, 2022.
5. semiglossdesign.com, ‘BEGINNERS GUIDE TO INSTALLING BASEMENT DRYWALL’, jpg, February 12, 2020, accessed September 14, 2022.
6. youtube.com, seejanedrill, ’How to Cut Drywall Like a Pro’, mpg, accessed September 14, 2022.
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