How and how to cut drywall: cutting tools + briefing on the work

Alexey Dedyulin
Checked by a specialist: Alexey Dedyulin
Author: Karen molko
Last update: April 2020

Drywall today is a popular building material, with which you can create not only strong load-bearing structures, but also complex decorative elements. Depending on the complexity of the product being designed, you need to figure out how and how to cut drywall correctly to get the desired result.

Agree, buying a new sheet after each mistake made is an expensive pleasure, especially considering today's prices for building materials. That is why it is important to determine the tool in advance, as well as to analyze the features of cutting in each individual case.

After familiarizing yourself with the tools and cutting methods, the article will present instructions with step-by-step steps. The briefing will guide you in working with drywall, allowing you to make an error-free cut of the material the first time.

Drywall Cutting Tools

Many construction publications recommend that their readers use a specialized tool for drywall, the cost of which is often too high. Yes, and only a qualified master can cope with it.

Cutting tool kit
Among the huge number of drywall cutting tools, it is best to use budget tools such as an assembly knife, a planer, a hacksaw or a jigsaw

If the tool is necessary for a single use, for example, for wall sheathing or suspended ceiling structuresthen it’s best to choose an inexpensive option.

For those who are not involved in the professional installation of drywall, there is a short list of tools:

  1. Pencil, tape measure and ruler.. In this case, you need to arm yourself with a simple pencil, which will help fix all the necessary marks. Roulette or ruler will allow you to make the most accurate measurements.
  2. Construction knife. Externally, the tool is very similar to a simple clerical knife, but more durable. Such a knife will easily cut a sheet of drywall, and it is enough to once draw a blade along the sheet.
  3. Hacksaw. Such a tool is good in that it has a thinner blade, which means that with its help you can get the most accurate cut. It is best to choose a hacksaw blade for metal.
  4. Jigsaw. To use such a tool, you need to purchase high-quality files, it is desirable that they are designed for cutting metal. They have smaller teeth, which means that they leave a minimum of notches at the edges of the sheet.
  5. Plane. It may be needed in the final stages of cutting drywall construction. With this tool, you can give the trimmed edges a more accurate look.

If you want to create more “sophisticated” elements of figured cutting, for example, a circular or semicircular shape, you can use an electric drill or a mill.

And you can cut a perfectly smooth circle with a special electric drill with a crown.

Wide web cutting
A large sheet should be cut gradually, without pressing on it with a ruler, because otherwise it may accidentally break off

It will be very difficult for a person who is first working with cutting gypsum plasterboard sheets to make a straight even incision, not to mention the circular forms.

That is why the most simple tools were chosen that allow you to slowly but surely make an even cut along the marked lines.

Cutting methods with detailed instructions

Before you start cutting gypsum plasterboard, you need to get a little better acquainted with the features of this material. This material is made of gypsum with fillers, which for extra strength is equipped on both sides with sheets of building cardboard.

Due to the cardboard sheets, the material acquires the correct shape and perfectly even surface, which makes it more convenient in future use.

The material is intended for the construction of small architectural forms: partitions, suspended ceilings and decorative elements. In practice, plasterboard furniture is often found, which has no less strength than any other wood substitute.

Next, we will consider several types of cutting, each of which has its own characteristics.

Layout on a sheet with a tape measure
Regardless of the method used for cutting drywall, in the first stage, pencil marking of the necessary shape is always carried out, which the master will follow in the process of cutting the material

The degree of strength of the material is determined by its type, which should be considered when carrying out work. So, there is a gypsum fiber sheet of increased strength, the cut of which may require a more effective tool.

Option number 1 - cutting in a straight line

In this case, the cutting of the material is carried out on a flat line, pre-drawn with a pencil or chalk. It is recommended to start cutting the sheet from the back - this is the strongest part of the cardboard. As for the front side, its structure is slightly different, since it is adapted for the primer and other types of finishes.

Gypsum plasterboard is laid on a hard surface so that there is not even the slightest deflection. Next, a ruler is applied to the marking line, which is firmly fixed by hand. If you try to make a cut without a ruler, then there is a high risk of spoiling the sheet.

An incision is made clearly along the edge of the ruler, while it is important to ensure that it does not come off. After completion of the cut, the sheet must be turned over and folded along the cut line in the direction of the uncut side.

So, a sheet cut through to the end breaks in a straight line, and cardboard on the outside is cut already by bending.

Trying to break drywall
The cut should be made with a depression in the gypsum “filling”, because otherwise you will not be able to break the gypsum evenly

In this case, the back side for cutting was not chosen by chance. Thanks to its denser structure, cutting cardboard will be much easier, which means that the line will be perfectly straight.By the way, it is recommended to use a special metal ruler for measurements during construction.

Option number 2 - curly cutting

This method is used if necessary to create a non-standard form of a specific structural element. In this case, the procedure is somewhat complicated, so it is advisable to have at least a little experience with drywall and a high-quality working tool for cutting.

At the initial stage, markup is also carried out, in this case curly. To get the most even circle you will need a special template or compass. You can create an unusual shape with circular elements with the help of a pattern. You can cut the perfect circle in any of four ways.

In the first case, the figured cutting of drywall is carried out using an electric drill with a crown. This method is suitable for cutting a circle of small diameter, for example, for outletbut no markup is required here. It is enough to make a barely noticeable mark, which will serve as a guide for the master.

Cutting a smooth circle on a sheet
You can create markings for perfectly even circles with a thread, a needle and a pencil, which will serve as an excellent alternative to a conventional compass

The second method involves the use of a jigsaw. Before starting work, precise marking of the form along which the cut will take place is carried out. The main advantage of the jigsaw is that the diameter of the circumcision in this case does not depend on the diameter of the crown, as in the case of an electric drill.

In the third method, a special hacksaw is used as a cutting tool. By the principle of its work, it resembles a knife with teeth, but with a reinforced handle. Such a hacksaw is especially convenient when working with drywall, because it can be used not only in classical but also in curly cutting. Such a tool is ideal for cutting any non-standard shapes, for example, flowers or butterfly wings.

The latter method does not involve the use of a special tool. In this case, you can do with an ordinary knife and hammer. The material is cut along the contour of the marking, while it is better to try to insert the knife as deep as possible. Upon completion of the cut, it is necessary to lay the sheet on a flat surface with a recess so that the area with the cut-out element is just in this recess.

Hammering out a cut circle
You can put two stools at a short distance, put a drywall sheet on them, and strike with a hammer in the center of the cut shape

If a really deep cut was made, then the drywall should break in the necessary direction. The bottom layer is trimmed, and the edges are ground if necessary with sandpaper.

This method is perfect for people who have previously worked with cutting drywall sheets, and know how the material will behave in this case.

Option number 3 - cutting an installed sheet

Of course, it is most convenient to cut a sheet that has not yet been fixed. However, in practice, there are often situations in which cutting of the material is required after it is mounted on the frame.

This is due to the fact that the sheathed surfaces must be “adjusted” to the window slopes or corners. A sheet with a small margin is fixed to the wall, while excess centimeters are removed after installation.

It is important to make sure that the drywall sheet is firmly fixed to the frame. After the first cut, several more cutting movements are carried out so that the cut-out area can simply be “squeezed out”. If necessary, you can cut the sheet on the other hand.

Raw edges of cut element
Uneven edges along the cut line can be sanded with sandpaper or cut with a hacksaw, which allows you to get a perfectly even cut

The presented methods for cutting drywall are effective only if you need to do a small amount of work.

If it is necessary to make cutting of drywall sheets in large quantities, the best solution will be to contact professional craftsmen.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

You can learn about how to cut drywall quickly and smoothly from this video:

An overview of the best GKL cutting tool is presented in this video:

The article presented the best ways of cutting gypsum plasterboard with the help of improvised tools that everyone can find at home.

Following the consistent instructions, you will be able to cut drywall yourself while maintaining all proportions. So, you no longer have to spend money on the services of a wizard, which will obviously cost you more than replacing a damaged plasterboard.

If you have experience in cutting such a solid building material as drywall, then you can always share it with our readers. You may be aware of simpler methods of cutting material that you previously had to use. If you wish, you can leave your comment in a special field under the article.

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