How to Cut Drywall

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Whether you're cutting a long straight piece of drywall, or taking out a piece to make room for a fixture such as an electrical outlet, make sure your measurements are correct and your hand is steady.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring Tapes
  • Utility Knives
  • Sheetrock Square
  • Chalk Line
  • Keyhole Saw

Cutting Holes in Drywall

  • Measure the exposed area from where the edge of your drywall will start to the close and far edge of the fixture you are accommodating. Measure from top to bottom of the area and side to side.

  • Transfer your measurements to the sheet of drywall and cut with a keyhole saw (push saw).

  • Cut a circular hole by measuring to the center of the target area from the edges of the drywall. Measure the radius (from the center of the circle to the circumference, or outer edge) of the fixture and transfer this measurement to a compass.

  • Draw a circle on the drywall, using the compass, and cut out with keyhole saw.

Cutting Straight Edges

  • Measure the exposed area of wall to determine what size piece of drywall you'll need to cut. Make sure the end measurements line up with the center of a ceiling joist or wall stud.

  • Set the drywall on sawhorses, finished side up.

  • Mark measurements on finished side of drywall, on both edges of the sheet.

  • Chalk a line between top and bottom marks. (See "How to Snap a Chalk Line" in Related eHows.)

  • Cut or score along the chalk line using a utility knife. (A cut 1/16 inch deep is sufficient. Once the paper is cut you'll get a pretty clean break.) You may want to use a Sheetrock square (an oversized T-square) as your guide.

  • Snap the drywall back away from your scored line.

  • Fold the drywall slightly and cut through the paper backing, along the fold, using a utility knife. You'll get the cleanest cut from the back side instead of sticking your knife through the cut/break.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you start measuring the exposed wall space in a corner, go against the intersecting wall and measure out to the stud that is closest to the overall length of your drywall. (Eight-foot drywall is the easiest to handle but sheets can be purchased in lengths up to 16 feet.)
  • Make sure that you keep a sharp blade in your utility knife. It makes for easier and cleaner cutting.

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