Sunday, March 3, 2024

Cutting Drywall: What Cutting Tools Do You Need?

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Cut drywall It is a simple task, but like all manual tasks, it has its secrets. It is necessary to avoid cutting the plates with power tools (we will see why later) and always use personal protection elements such as chinstrap and goggles.

Drywall, being a dry construction element, gives off many particles that, if not careful, will end up in the bearings and moving parts of our tools, and in our lungs and eyes. For this reason it is necessary to use manual tools and take the necessary precautions.

Drywall cutting tools

1. Cutter

The cutter, blade or knife is used to cut drywall as long as the panel has not been placed and the cut to be made begins and ends at an edge; To make more complex openings or cuts it will be necessary to use a point saw.

The technique is very simple: cut the paper or cardboard from the visible side, taking care to do it with a metal ruler. You only need to cut the cardboard, not the plaster.


Once the cardboard or paper is cut, it will be possible to split the plaster, which will break following the cut line made. Then, it only remains to cut the cardboard on the non-visible side. To do this, the smallest part is rotated about 90º with respect to the largest part, and the cardboard is cut following the fold line.

In the video below you can see a demonstration of how cut drywall using this technique put into practice.

2. Point saw

The point saw is used to cut drywall when the panel is already installed on the wall or ceiling, or when it is necessary to create openings.

First the cut is marked with the cutter. Then, using the tip of the saw, it is inserted into the plaster, taking care not to break it. Once the plaster and the back cardboard have gone through, it will be possible to start the cut following the drawn lines.

When reaching a corner it will be necessary to remove the saw and insert it again using the tip.

Point saw

Point saw

3. Hand hole punch

Hand drills or drills should be avoided to cut drywall (or pierce it) unless its use is absolutely essential, since, as we said before, being the drywall a dry material, the use of medium and high speed power tools generates a dust cloud that will penetrate all moving parts, and possibly your lungs.

If for any reason you must use this tool For this task, try to use the lowest speed and not use the hammer, which will fracture the plate.

Remember that the screws suitable for this material are self-drilling and do not require any type of pre-drilling. Its screwing, on the other hand, must be done by hand, since it is important that the head is exactly flush.

Instead, you can use the drill to drill the holes needed to house the screws that will hold the drywall boards. To do this, select the bit diameter that matches the core of the screw – or the one that is closest to it. For example, if the T2 screw has a 6 × 1 ″ thread, we should choose a 2.5 mm bit, since the core of that screw will measure approximately 2.4 mm.



4. Sheet metal cutting scissors

Also calls tin snips, allow to easily cut metal elements such as guides and posts (aluminum U profiles) used after cut drywall, to install these panels definitively with the use of self-drilling screws.

Gloves are required for this task, as sharp edges or burrs form when cutting the sheet, which can be killed using sandpaper or emery cloth.

Sheet metal scissors

Sheet metal scissors

5. Sandpaper

It is used to eliminate roughness after cutting the plasterboard, and also to kill the sharp edges of the sheet, once cut.

It is essential to use a chinstrap and goggles to carry out this task, since plaster is a very volatile fine particle, which can be aspirated or can enter the eye, causing severe problems.



Tips and mistakes to prevent

  • Always cut the plates by resting them on a solid surface.
  • If you are going to cut the plates by resting them on trestles, or in a similar arrangement, avoid applying excessive pressure on it; otherwise it might break. Remember that the cast supports compressions very well, but not push-ups.
  • Always wear gloves, goggles and a mask.
  • When using the cutter, always keep the least amount of sharpness outside the handle. Remember that you only need to cut the paper, not the plaster.
  • When splitting the plaster after scoring with the cutter, do so from the back of the plate. If you can, move the cutting line closer to the edge of the artboard to simplify operation.
  • Use the self-tapping screws without bit to fix the plates to the posts already drilled, and the self-tapping with bit to screw the plates to structural elements such as wooden posts or aluminum profiles.

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