Measuring for drywall cutouts


Old 05-12-10, 07:30 PM
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Measuring for drywall cutouts

When putting up a new sheet of drywall what is the best way to make any cutouts for electric boxes, vents, windows, etc? Do people just measure where everything is going to line up on the wallboard and then cut or do they put the piece up and gently pound on it to try to get an imprint where to make the cut?
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Old 05-12-10, 07:59 PM
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For outlets, push all the wires in the box as far back as you can get them.

The best way is to measure where the center of the box will be... mark it on the front of the sheet of drywall with an "X" install the sheet loosely with a few screws or nails... then router out the inside of the box with a rotozip (and straight spiral router bit- the bit should only be sticking out about 1 1/2" or so. When you router the box, remember you are trying not to knick the wires in the box. That can really make an electrician mad. Once you've done the inside and can clearly see the perimeter of the box, hop to the outside of the box and router around the outside.

Once you get the hang of it, routering the inside of the box becomes pointless. You poke the bit into the center of the box, run it out until you hit the edge, hop over the edge of the box, and router the outside of the box only.

You can do the same thing with a drywall keyhole saw, but it's not as easy. Messing up outlets can make a lot of needless taping for the drywall finisher.

On windows, you can usually do it in a similar manner, just run the router around the window jamb after the drywall has been tacked up. Once everything is cut out, you finish screwing/nailing it down.
Old 05-13-10, 03:39 PM
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If you are measuring, measure from the ceiling down, not the floor up. You will be placing the drywall tight to the ceiling and may leave a small gap at the bottom which will throw your measurements off. XSleeper's method of using a rotozip will make things go so fast and accurate after you get the hang of it.
Old 05-14-10, 12:42 PM
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Here is a third vote for the rotozip, if you have a lot of drywall to hang and the outlets are not installed int the box. If they are there is a small tool that will actually plug into the outlet, and you then apply chaulk to the protuding edge. You then fit the sheet to the wall and press against the outlet to leave an outline where the box will be.
Old 05-15-10, 03:43 AM
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IMO the cost of a Rotozip <$75 will be paid for after the second receptacle. Don't forget, you have light fixture boxes or can lights, switches, too. You will find other uses for it as time goes by, believe me.
Old 05-15-10, 12:39 PM
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I also like the Rotozip method. Be certain to mark the location of all boxes, otherwise you may end up with a concealed box.

With some practice, you will find that following the shape of the box works best in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction depending on the direction of rotation of the bit. You want the cutting action to push the bit against the box. Just my 2 cents.

And make sure the wires are deep inside the box well away from the bit when you do the initial plunge cut.

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