How to Cut Holes in Drywall How to Cut Holes in Drywall

What You'll Need
Measuring Tape
Push Saw
Circle Cutter
Joint Compound

Cutting holes in drywall is required in order to make space for electrical boxes and lights, and holes which are not clean and accurate become problematic during later stages of the installation. However, it is only a moderately challenging job, and if done with proper guidance and effective technique can spare you a lot of agony and frustration.

Step 1: Measure and Transfer the Dimensions

Take the dimensions before the cutting as accurately as possible to avoid problems later on. Position your drywall panel in the place it will be after the installation and examine the horizontal as well as vertical levels. For circular fixtures take the measurements from the center of the circle to the edges of the electrical box, whereas for rectangular switches or boxes, measure from where the sheet will penetrate to the respective right and left sides of the box. Use a pencil to clearly mark the top and bottom corners near the electrical box, with as steady a hand as achievable. Measure the distance of these marks from the box using a measuring tape and then transfer these to your drywall panel. Also, double check the specifications of the electrical box and mark out the remaining edges of the box on the drywall too.

Step 2: Cutting the Hole

Once you have an outline use a push saw to cut the boundary out from the center of the target area to the edges of the drywall. Begin by striking the butt of the drywall saw, driving it through the drywall. Also, cut along the outside of the lines so that fixture fits in but keep in mind that it might not be a perfect fit and some amendments or adjustments might have to be made. See to it that the opening in the back is bigger than the opening in the front so that you can insert the fixture appropriately. If you have more than one circular hole to cut (in case you are inserting more than one fixture) use a circle cutter, which is a compass like instrument, making larger cuts faster and more accurately.

Step 3: Careful Fitting around the Hole

Push the opening over the box until it rests flat beside the studs. Once this has been achieved, use drywall screws to secure the sheet against the wall, covering the box.  Careful fitting needs to be done around the hole, so that any possible damage to the edges of the drywall and/or fixture can be avoided.

Step 4: Busted Edges

While installing, you might get a few busted edges, which not only hurt the aesthetic appeal of the drywall but also cause further wear and tear. However, if you have some broken edges then the way to fix it is to cut away all loose paper/broken drywall and use joint compound to fill the gap. After the gap has been filled, cover it with a strip of drywall tape. Leave the compound for a few hours so it dries out properly and holds it position tightly.



Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!