How To Cut Drywall

If you are making significant repairs or doing some home remodeling, you will need to know how to cut drywall and how to use it to cover studded walls. While the materials are handy, it comes in large sheets that can be cumbersome and too large for the task in hand.

Luckily, how to deal with drywall and how to cut sheetrock isn’t much of a challenge.

After going through our guide, you can quickly see how home remodeling can easily be achieved and how you can cut a piece of drywall for precise framing around your home.

Guide in cutting a piece of drywall

What is Drywall?

Drywall is a gypsum panel used to construct interior walls and ceilings and is available in a variety of thicknesses ranging from 1/4” to 3/4”, with 1/2” being the most popular. (Learn How to Remove Tiles From Wall)

4′ x 8′ and 4′ x 12′ are the most common sizes, while 54″ widths are available to use on 9-foot ceilings.

You will find longer sheets heavier and challenging to work with, yet the payback is they have fewer joints and are easier to finish later in your home improvement task.

When hanging ceilings, it’s advisable to rent a drywall lift unless you have extra hands to help you lift the sheets into position.

When fitting drywall to the ceiling, do this before you line your walls. Also, keep any long sides at right angles to the framing and the ends centered on your stud.

While these sheets can be hard to work with on your own, it isn’t impossible, especially when you need to cut them to size. In addition, you’ll find the best way to cut drywall is much easier than you imagine.

What Is the Best Tool To Use To Cut Drywall?

Here and further on are all the tips and techniques you need to cut drywall for any project you may undertake around your home.

Any of these will enable you to learn how to cut drywall in the easiest way possible and with the minimum of tools.

Tools in cutting drywall

Drywall Tools

Only a few simple tools are required to cut drywall:

  • A reliable utility knife
  • Drywall saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge
  • Drywall keyhole saw
  • Drywall rasp or sanding block

Cutting Drywall

Scoring or sawing can be used to cut drywall. Scoring is the optimum method for cutting sheets to length or width, whereas sawing is preferred for cutting holes and openings for windows and doors. (Learn How To Use Paper Drywall Tape)

Scoring a Sheet of Drywall

Cutting drywall by scoring is the simplest and least messy method. Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Score the Front of Your Drywall Panel: Use a straight edge or chalk line as your guide. On the face side of your drywall sheet using your sharp utility knife. Cut through the paper into the gypsum core.
Step 2: Break Drywall Sheet Along Scored Line: While supporting the drywall sheet from the back, apply gentle pressure to the face, and the sheet should break cleanly along the joint where you cut with your blade.
Step 3: Cut the Drywall Sheet’s Paper: To finish the cut, use a utility knife to score the paper on the back of the drywall sheet.
Step 4: Smooth Drywall Cut Edge with Rasp: If necessary, smooth the cut edge with a drywall rasp or sanding block.

Sawing a Hole in Sheet of Drywall

A drywall saw is cut around electrical boxes and other small openings, while a smaller keyhole saw is ideal for cutting around windows and doors.

To avoid roughing up the paper on the face, cut the paper from the front side wherever possible. Observe the classic carpenter’s adage of measuring twice and cutting once while marking the places for cuts to minimize costly mistakes.

How to Cut Drywall and Hang It

Here are a few ways you’ll come across when cutting drywall.

Door and Window Cutouts

A perfect fit isn’t required because drywall is cut around doors and windows before the casings are installed. Professional drywall hangers frequently use a high-speed rotary cutter to cut around openings while the sheet is still in place. Still, most do-it-yourself jobs will need measuring and cutting the sheet before installation. (Learn How To Clean Mold Off Walls)

  1. Begin by measuring a horizontal measurement from the room’s corner to the jamb’s edge, then transferring the measurement to the drywall.
  2. To avoid unintentionally cutting the wrong piece, mark the waste side with an “X.” Next, take a vertical measurement down from the ceiling or up from the floor and transfer it to the sheet.
  3. With your drywall square or straight edge, mark the drywall on the face and use the drywall saw to make the shorter of the two cuts.
  4. Score the other line and snap the cut piece off.

Tips in Electrical Box Cutouts for Drywall

Electrical Box Cutouts

The holes for electrical boxes should be a closer fit than those on doors and windows. The most common method is to measure and mark the location of the cutouts, then outline on the sheet using an extra electrical box as a guide and your pencil.

Another method is to rub lipstick or other material that can stick to the rim of the electrical box and then the piece of drywall. Cover the rim of the box, and push firmly against the face of the drywall, so the pattern transfers onto the paper.

Step 1: Using an electrical box as a guide, mark the drywall for cutout with your utility knife: Use an extra box as a pattern for the cutout after finding the electrical box on the drywall sheet.
Step 2: Use a Drywall Keyhole Saw to Cut Out the Electrical Box Opening:
After identifying the location of the electrical box, cut out the opening with a course tooth drywall keyhole saw.

After marking the location, use a keyhole saw to cut around it by sinking the sharp point into the sheet. Hold the blade at an angle so that the back of the cutout is slightly larger than the front.

Place the sheet in position and adjust the fit around the box using your utility knife while keeping a gap of 1/8″ or less.

Hanging Drywall

Nails or drywall screws can attach drywall to your project. While nailing is quicker, nails eventually wear out and leave unattractive bulges in the final wall. Drywall screws not only stay in position, but they hold better, so fewer are required.

  • When nailing 1/2” drywall, use ring-shank drywall nails with a 114” shank.
  • A crown-head hammer is used to drive the nails below the surface and damage the drywall without breaking the paper.
  • Nails should be placed 1/2 inch from the edge and every 7 inches for ceilings and 8 inches for walls.
  • Use 1 1/4” bungle head drywall screws when fastening drywall with screws. A drill with an adjustable clutch is used to drive the screws just below the surface without shattering the paper.
  • Screws should be placed 12″ in from the edges and every 12″ for ceilings, and every 16″ for walls. To give an even stronger bond while decreasing the number of screws or nails, apply construction glue to the studs first.

Quick Steps to Hang Drywall

Here are a few steps for cutting drywall and hanging drywall across an entire wall, or multiple walls, by yourself. (Read Spackle Vs Joint Compound)

  • Use a Drywall Setter Bit to set drywall screws at the exact depth effortlessly. Use a Drywall Screw Setter Bit.
  • To hold the drywall in place as you screw it in, use partially set frame nails or something similar.
  • Begin by horizontally hanging drywall from the ceiling. Hanging drywall horizontally has been found to save time and money by reducing the number of seams that need to be taped and patched.
  • Before moving on to the next row beneath it, hang the drywall all the way across the wall.
  • For fewer apparent joints, stagger the joints in that row.
  • Most of the seams are within easy reach for patching if you start at the ceiling and work your way down a wall. It will also keep the seam below eye level in most settings, making any defects less noticeable.
  • When hanging drywall, you’ll need 7 screws spaced 8 inches apart on the left and right sides. In the center, 4 screws spaced 16′′ apart go along with each stud.
  • To make it easier to place the screws, use your 4′ level to mark the studs with a pencil.
  • To avoid harming the drywall, keep all screws around the edges 3/8′′ away from the edge.
  • At each end of your drywall board, you’ll need studs; the drywall should be supported by at least 1/2 (3/4′′) of the length of a stud on each end. When you don’t have support, you can screw a new stud into place.

How To Cut Drywall

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