Whether you’re a builder or looking to do some renovation work in your home, you’ve likely heard of drywall.
Drywall is an important component in most homes and choosing the right one is key.
When looking at internal walls, drywall and sheetrock are two terms used interchangeably. However, just remember that sheetrock is a brand that specializes in manufacturing drywall.
In fact, it is a registered trademark belonging to the US Gypsum Company. Whereby, drywall is used as an umbrella term to describe Gypsum ceilings and walls.
Now you know what sheetrock is, the next step would be to determine how to cut it.
With this in mind, this article will explore everything you need to know about cutting sheetrock like a pro.
Let’s get straight into it!
Tools Of The Trade
The first step to using sheetrock is preparation. As opposed to cutting other materials, sheetrock can be slightly tricky.
It’s made using a layer of gypsum which is then sandwiched between two layers of paper. So, when cutting, it’s important to have all the necessary techniques and tools.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to cut sheetrock.
What You’ll Need
- A utility knife – This helps to make precise, clean cuts through the sheetrock.
- A T-square – This is needed for accurate cuts, also helpful for cuts that aren’t perpendicular to the edge.
- A straight edge – Whether you’re using a level or a rule, this aids in neater results.
- A keyhole saw – While this is optional, it’s an ideal tool for making cuts fit in tight spaces or creating decorative shapes.
Optional, but recommended:
- A dust mask – Avoids breathing in any sheetrock particles.
- Hearing protection – Loud cutting.
- Safety goggles – Protects your eyes from dust.
Measuring And Marking
Put down the utility knife… Before you make any cuts, it’s important to measure your required area and mark it with a pencil. Here, accuracy is essential for even and straight cuts.
To measure, grab a ruler or tape measure(also check: How To Read A Tape Measure ) to determine the necessary length and width for the area you’re trying to cut.
Then, using a pencil, transfer these measurements onto the sheetrock. Make sure to use a straight edge or a level for straight lines.
Once you have transferred your measurements, take your knife and score along the lines. This helps during the cutting process, preventing your sheetrock from crumbling or chipping.
Take A Straight Edge Or T-Square To Draw A Line Across The Sheetrock
Use a straight edge or T-square to draw a line over the face of the sheetrock – making sure it’s perpendicular to the edge.
If you’re using a 4×8-foot sheet, use a level or chalk line to ensure it is straight.
After this, you’ll want to measure and mark your required length of cut on the sheetrock. For instance, if you’re looking to cut a 2-foot section, measure and mark 2 feet away from the line.
Once done, connect these marks with a straight line.
Cutting The Sheetrock
Regardless of whether you’re a professional builder or a DIYer, you’ll likely encounter the task of cutting sheetrock.
While this may seem like a straightforward process, there are a few tips and tricks to cut your sheets like a professional.
Below, you’ll find a step-by-step process on how to achieve this.
Place The Utility Knife On The Line And Score The Sheetrock
Once you’re ready to cut your sheetrock, place the tip of your utility knife onto the marked-out line and score your sheetrock.
To ensure a clean, straight cut, you’ll want to score the sheetrock several times. After, take a straight edge to snap the piece of sheetrock along the previously scored line.
Lastly, you’ll need a drywall saw to cut along the cured line – providing you with a professional and smooth finish.
Cut Along The Scored Line Using The Keyhole Saw
Using the keyhole saw, cut along the previously scored line. Place the saw at one end of the line and gently move the blade of the saw along the line.
Make sure to keep a gentle hand to prevent any cracking or chipping of the sheetrock.
If required, take a piece of scrap wood to help support the sheetrock while you’re cutting.
Cutting Outlet Boxes
For already installed pieces of sheetrock, you’ll want to make allowances for outlets and circuit boxes.
Here, take a drill to create a hole inside the intended outlet box cutout. This should be outlined with a pencil and measured accurately to determine where the outlet will be installed.
Use a pinhole drywall saw to cut the sheetrock into the shape of the box.
Once done, a piece of sandpaper or a sanding box may be used to even out the box and finish the cut so the box can fit snugly inside.
Tips & Warnings
- Most of the time, people struggle with breaking the edges of sheetrock. Although, to solve this problem, consider leaving a small gap – keeping the gap in between the sheets. From the length you measured, cut your sheetrock slightly shorter to adjust the edge.
- Make sure to wear hand gloves and goggles. When cutting sheetrock, dust is a common factor, especially when cutting with a router. To avoid any accidents, it’s highly recommended to use goggles.
Sheetrock is a common material found in most homes in the United States. Not only is it incredibly versatile, but it is also relatively inexpensive, making it the perfect addition to your home.
Although, anyone who has worked with sheetrock before can vouch that it is sometimes difficult to cut. Since it is made from paper, it has the dependency to chip and crack, therefore, using the right techniques and tools is important.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with everything you need to cut your sheetrock – so you can go back to your DIY projects.