At some point when working with drywall, you’ll likely need to make a hole or two. Whether it’s to cut a piece of plasterboard down to size or mark out a light switch, air vent, or electrical outlet, there’s just no getting around it. Figuring out how to do it easily, safely, and accurately is the key.
It’s possible to make a variety of holes in drywall using a jigsaw, such as standard, rectangular, and plunge cuts to name a few. Cutting drywall with a jigsaw is quite easy, provided you have the proper accompanying tools to do the job right! These include a utility knife, saw blade, drill with a drill bit, marking tools, and drywall rasp.
Now that you know it’s easy to cut drywall with a jigsaw, let’s take a closer look at this in more detail below.
I’ll discuss what tools you need (along with a jigsaw) to make clean, accurate cuts in sheetrock. I’ll also explain how to use a jigsaw to make standard, rectangular, and plunge cuts in drywall. I’ll even compare a jigsaw to other saws when it comes to cutting wallboard.
And so, if you’re ready to learn more about using a jigsaw to cut through drywall, then let’s begin!
What Do I Need to Cut Drywall with a Jigsaw?
Besides a jigsaw, there are a few other tools you need to safely and effectively cut drywall.
These include the following:
- Utility Knife – Most of the drywall cuts you’ll likely make will be done with a knife. The jigsaw will be used for the interior cuts outlining electrical outlets or light switches.
- Saw Blade – A blade designed for drywall cutting will need to be used with the jigsaw. A medium tooth count blade (such as a 14 TPI, for example) works well and keeps the paper from tearing through.
- Drill and Drill Bit – A drill and a drill bit can be used to make starter holes in the drywall. This will make it easier for the jigsaw blades to cut through. Or, simply begin with a plunge cut to get the blade started.
- Pencil and Speed Square – marking tools like a carpentry pencil and speed square will help you properly layout the cutting lines in order to make accurate, clean cuts. You don’t want to make a costly, time-consuming mistake by cutting incorrectly.
- Drywall Rasp – this tool is a type of serrated-wire grate that will help smooth out rough-cut edges of drywall and improve the overall finish of the cuts.
How Do I Cut Drywall with a Jigsaw?
There are 3 different cut styles you can make in drywall using a jigsaw. Each one refers to a different way of piercing the material.
These include the following:
1. Standard Cuts
To make standard cuts in drywall using a jigsaw, simply press the blade through the material with enough force to create a hole.
Be forewarned that it only takes a slight amount of pressure to break through sheetrock so don’t push down too hard on the saw.
2. Rectangular Cuts
To make rectangular cuts in drywall using a jigsaw, you must first mark the cutting lines with a pencil.
Then, cut through the sheetrock using a combination square with a bubble level.
This will ensure that the cutting lines are perfectly straight and even.
3. Plunge Cuts
To make plunge cuts in drywall using a jigsaw, position the tool so that the blade is aligned with the markings but not touching it.
Rest the heel on the sheetrock as well and select the orbital function.
Turn on the saw and run it at high speed. Push the blade gently into the material until it breaks through.
How Do I Cut A Large Hole in Drywall Using a Jigsaw?
To cut a big opening in a sheet of drywall (for windows or doors, perhaps), it’s best to start on the sides.
Do the top of the opening last to avoid accidentally ripping the paper. Begin by measuring the opening and marking it out with a pencil.
Do this on the floor or with the drywall sheet placed across two sawhorses. This is much easier than trying to measure and mark an opening while hanging on the wall.
Take the jigsaw and cut out the sides and the bottom. Then, use a utility knife to cut the opening at the top.
Finish off by scoring the top with the knife and very carefully bending it down. Use a quick, sharp movement back and up to snap it off.
Take your knife and cut out the paper flaps of the opposite side of the drywall. Finally, use a drywall rasp to file down the edges.
What Safety Precautions Should Be Taken When Using a Jigsaw to Cut Drywall?
Safety is of the utmost importance when using any tool, especially a saw. Caution should always be taken to utilize the tool correctly in the manner intended by the manufacturer.
The top tips to keep in mind when using a jigsaw include the following:
- If you’re using the saw for the first time, be sure to read the owner’s manual carefully – that means cover-to-cover, not simply skimming through it.
- ALWAYS wear the proper safety equipment – this includes a dust mask, goggles, work gloves, and steel-toed boots.
- NEVER force the saw to cut through difficult material – if the tool refuses to cooperate, try reversing it first before attempting to re-cut.
- Use an extraction bag to collect excess dust – this will not only keep the work area clean, but it’ll also protect your lungs.
- Examine the saw blade regularly while you work – stop using immediately if you notice any chips or cracks.
Can You Cut Drywall with a Circular Saw?
While you can cut drywall with a circular saw, it’s not recommended.
Not only does it create an extreme amount of dust, which is both hard on your lungs and the motorized parts in the saw, but it’s also potentially dangerous. It’s just far too powerful of a tool to use on such a lightweight material.
If you choose to use a saw, use a jigsaw or reciprocating saw instead. The reciprocating saw is often hailed as the better of two options for cutting through drywall.
It’s powerful, efficient, and highly precise. In fact, it even comes with specific drywall cutting attachments accessories to make the job easier.
Can You Use a Drill to Cut Drywall?
The three main tools used to cut drywall are a utility knife, jigsaw, and oscillating multi-tool.
The only way you could use a drill to cut sheetrock is if you use a roto-zip bit on it. However, you’re better off to just use the roto-tool.
A drill should only be used as an assisting tool to make starter holes in drywall, not to cut it.
Drills are designed to puncture holes or drive-in nails, not cut sheetrock (or any other material, for that matter).
It’s very important to ALWAYS use tools correctly, the way the manufacturer intended.
What is the Best Tool to Cut Drywall?
The best tool to cut drywall is a RotoZip tool or oscillating multi-tool. It’s the versatility of this tool that makes it a handyman favorite.
It takes less time to use and makes precise, clean cuts in sheetrock that no other tool (even a reciprocating saw) can match.
Everything from long, straight cuts to small, intricate cuts can be made with a roto-tool. Best of all, you can choose either a corded or cordless version, whatever best suits your needs and/or budget.
If you have a big drywall job to complete, investing in this tool will be well worth it, trust me!
To conclude, using a jigsaw to cut drywall is easy, provided you have the right assisting tools for the job.
A utility knife saw blade, drill with a drill bit, marking tools, and drywall rasp are all helpful when it comes to cutting sheetrock.
A jigsaw can cut a variety of holes in drywall including standard, rectangular, and plunge cuts.
Hopefully, this article has been of help to you. Good luck with your future home repair and renovation endeavors. And remember, always work safely.
Cheer, tools owners!