How To Cut Drywall

Drywall can be the greatest material when it comes to DIY projects if you know how to use it correctly. Everyone is scared of the dust that they believe comes hand-in-hand with drywall.

But that mess can easily be avoided. 

How To Cut Drywall

To keep things simple, there are 5 tools you need and some simple steps to follow when using drywall. 

Below you will find everything you need about drywall and how to cut it. With this awesome guide, even the most inexperienced DIYers can get the job done. And if you do make a mistake, it is easily fixed!

What You Need 

So, you’re in the middle of a DIY project and you have decided that drywall is the best material for the job. But it needs to be cut to size.

Well, while you are at Home Depot, there are a few extra things you are going to need:

  • Utility Knife with extra blades 
  • 4 ft Square 
  • Surform Rasp 

Now, we can get into the steps for cutting drywall!

Cut Drywall In 6 Steps 

Cutting drywall is a rather simple process that anyone can do. You just need to pay attention to detail and the area around you. 

Let’s get into it!

Step 1: Store The Drywall 

Drywall must be stored at an angle before they are covered. Flip the front sheet over so that all of the finished faces are facing the room after tearing off the paper strip. 

Make sure the top edge is evenly supported against the framing to avoid warping.

Step 2: Cut The Face 

Begin by marking the length you need on the drywall along the top edge. Then align the right side of the tongue with your mark, hold the bottom of the tongue with your foot, and score the paper around two-thirds of the way down. 

Lefties may find it easier to align the right side of the tongue!

Now, move to the bottom of the paper and score up to meet the other score. This is the best way to protect yourself if you accidentally drop the knife or it slips while in motion. 

Step 3: Snap The Drywall 

Lift the sheet’s end away from the stack and place it on the ground. The sheet can be folded open by giving the gypsum core a light knock with your knee.

The drywall is rather soft so be gentle when handling it or knocking it with your knee. Especially after you scored it. 

Step 4: Cut The Back 

Using the crease you made a guide, cut halfway down the backside. Finish by coming up from the bottom and meeting in the middle. 

Holding the top steady with your free hand, catch the two halves.

Step 5: Smooth The Edges 

Using the Surform Rasp, smooth the rough edges of the drywall until they are smooth and square. Keep your foot underneath the edge of the drywall for balancing. 

Make sure every edge is smooth before moving on to the next step. 

Step 6:Cut Thin Strips 

If you require small strips of drywall for your project then you are going to need to follow this step. 

Score strips of around 3 inches thick on each side. This ensures the entire strip comes off in one piece and makes it much easier to smooth with the Surform rasp. 

If you do not score both sides, your strips are going to break off in chunks and be practically unusable. It may take longer but scoring both sides will save you a lot of dollars and drywall. 

Cutting drywall is a simple job and when it is done right, it causes little to no mess!

How To Cut Drywall (1)

Tips For Cutting Drywall 

Actually, drywall is just a piece of mined gypsum rock wrapped in recycled paper (hence the name of one brand, Sheetrock).

Although neither element has a lot of inherent strength, when combined, they create a wall sheathing that is remarkably strong and highly fire-resistant.

Yet, when you score it with a utility knife the drywall will give you a clean break exactly where you need it. 

1. Change Your Blade 

Use a utility knife to score the paper, applying just enough pressure to make the paper just tear. Sharp knives and a sore wrist are the only results of cutting deeply into the gypsum core.

As you score, you’ll notice that the paper starts to tear behind the knife edge when the blade stops cutting cleanly. It is then necessary to switch out the blades.

2. Take Your Time

This probably goes without saying but many mistakes are made when you rush.

Drywall is strong but once you begin scoring, it becomes fragile and if you are not careful you could score wrong or worse, the knife slips and you injure yourself. 

So, take a deep breath, relax, and score your drywall with certainty. 

3. Store The Drywall 

As mentioned above, drywall should be stored at a slight angle before being covered. Drywall can fall over easily and can cause real harm if you find yourself trapped underneath it. 

Make sure children do not have access to the area where you are storing your drywall. 

4. Go Big 

If you can manage the pieces and wrestle them into the room, use 12-foot-long sheets rather than 8-foot ones. There will be fewer joints to tape because the leftover pieces will be longer and therefore more likely to be helpful.

This could even save you cash in the long wrong if you have a rather large project. 

Final Thoughts

Drywall is an extremely versatile material that anyone can use. From contractors to the household DIYers, drywall can be just the thing to complete your project.

However, knowing how to cut it properly is not something we all know. 

We have awesome tips and tricks to make your life easier when dealing with drywall. Unless you are working on an extremely large project that requires large sheets of drywall, forget the saw. 

Keep things clean and precise with a handy utility knife. Remember, take a breath and take your time to avoid mistakes!

Luke Powell
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