Are you planning to tile your place yourself but don’t know how to properly cut the cement board for backing? Well, don’t worry, because we are here to help you out with your problem. In this article, we are going to be explaining to you all the ways you can cut a cement board. And so, with the help of this, you can choose the most appropriate method for your specific job.
How To Cut Cement Board
What is a Cement Board?
A cement board is a strong board made up of a cement mixture and some form of fibers. It is an ideal material to use for backing tiles because it is strong and sturdy and therefore provides great support. It is also waterproof and will not rot, unlike a few other backing materials. Because of this, it is able to last quite a long time and keeps your tiles firmly in place. Furthermore, it is also quite inexpensive which is why it is a great option to use on a budget. And so, if you are planning to use it for your flooring, you need to know how to cut it properly.
How to Cut a Cement Board
There are multiple ways you can cut a cement board; some require special tools while others do not. But one thing you need to make sure before you start cutting your board is that you are wearing adequate protection. We recommend that you wear eye protection, a mask, and maybe even a pair of work gloves. This is because when you cut a cement board, it is going to release dust that can get dangerous if inhaled in large quantities.
Furthermore, small pieces of the board can break off and shoot upwards during the cutting process, especially if you are snapping the board in half. And so, you do not want these to hit you in the eye. Also, using work gloves can, to some degree, protect you from getting nicks and cuts from the sharp equipment. Now that we have established the precautions that you need to take let’s move on to the actual cutting part.
Score and Snap Cutting Method
The first way through which you can cut a cement board is through the score and snap method. This method is the easiest, but you can only use it for thin cement boards that are around half an inch thick. This process does not require any special power tools. All you need is a set square or a straight edge tool, a pencil, and a utility knife. First, you need to measure out the size of the board that you need to cut. Using the set square or the straight edge, you can do that. Now using the pencil, mark those measurements on the board.
Once that is done, making sure that the board is lying flat on the ground, use the utility knife to cut along your markings. You can use your straightedge to guide the blade better on the board. Keep in mind that at this step, your goal is to score the board and not completely cut through it. And so, you just need to drag the knife across the surface of the board, a couple of times if necessary, to make a long groove on it.
After this, lift up the board and place it on your knee, the scored side facing up. Now, holding the edges of the board in place with your hands, position your knee right behind the grooves and push it up against it. The board will snap at the places with the grooves. Now all you need to do is cut off the mesh area that is still connecting the two pieces of the board together, using your utility knife. And you are done!
Using a Circular Saw
If your cement board is thicker than half an inch, then you would need to use power tools to cut it. And if you have a circular saw available, then you can use it to easily and efficiently cut your cement board into the size that you need. For this, you need to make sure that the saw you are using has fewer teeth. This is because it will ensure that less dust is produced during the cutting process. And the less dust there is, the better, as it is extremely harmful if you inhale it or get it in your eyes.
Due to this, it is vital that, for this process, you take the precautions that we have mentioned at the start. For this process, mark the area that you need to cut using the straight edge and pencil. Now you can move on to cutting it with the saw, but if you wish to make this process easier, you can score the board first. Just like in the previous method, using a utility knife, score the broad where you are going to be cutting. Once you are done, align this area with the blade of the circular saw and start cutting.
Using a Jigsaw
Now the two methods above are for cutting the board in straight lines. But if you need to have your board cut in a circle or any specific shape, then the best option for that, in our opinion, is the Jigsaw. This is because it is a type of handheld power saw that you could freely maneuver over a surface. Apart from a jigsaw, you might also need a drill to make a few holes in the board.
First, draw or trace the shape you need to cut out on your board with a pencil. If you are able to make a stencil with a stiff material like cardboard, then we recommend that you do that. This is because it will be a better guide for you during the cutting process. Once the drawing or the stencil is in place, drill a hole on the board where you want to start cutting.
Now, turn your jigsaw on and set it to the highest speed. Insert it into the hole and make your way over the drawing or around the stencil, and cut your shape out. We encourage you to take your time with this process because if you are in a rush, then you are bound to make mistakes. Also, as this process also produces dust, we recommend that you wear protective goggles as well as a mask.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best tool to cut cement boards?
The best tool for cutting cement boards depends on the space that you need to cut. If you wish to cut a straight line or cut the board in half, then a circular saw would be the best option. Although if you have a thin board, then you can also use the score and snap method to cut it without the use of any power tools. But if you want to cut a circle or any other specific shape, then a jigsaw is the best tool for that.
Can you cut a cement board with a circular saw?
Yes, you can easily cut a cement board with a circular saw. All you need to do is mark the points where you are planning to cut and use them to cut through the cement board, just like you would normally do for wood. But there is one drawback to this. If you are using a circular saw to cut your cement board, you can only cut it in straight lines.
Cement boards are a great way to back the tiles in your flooring or your walls due as they are quite strong, waterproof, and resistant to rot. And if you are trying to DIY your tiling job, then you would also have to cut the cement board to the appropriate size yourself. And so, in this article, we have shown you all the ways you can cut cement boards to make your tiling job much easier.