How To Cut Cement Board – Helpful Tips For You

Cement is usually used in several home projects as it’s stronger than plywood, more durable, and less susceptible to rotting. Its strength makes it one of the most reliable house materials. However, it’s also its strength that makes it difficult to work with, especially when it comes to renovation.

If you need to have a new look for your bathroom, upgrade your kitchen, or other home improvement projects, then you might need to cut the cement board before you can install new tiles. However, doing so is a messy job if not done properly. In fact, it’s trickier than cutting a drywall or lumber.

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You need to be able to know the right tools to use, and the right procedure to follow in order to do the job cleanly. If you want to know how to cut the cement board, then this tutorial is for you.


Before we start with the tutorial, make sure that you gather the following materials first:

Pencil

You will be using the pencil in making marks on the cement board.

Square

A square is a tool used in making measurement, especially that of angles. It’s long-armed and usually made of steel.

Straight Edge

A straightedge is a tool that is used for measurement like the square. It can transcribe or check straight lines. It looks like a triangular ruler.

String Nail

Since you can’t use the square or the straight edge in making a round marking, you need a string nail. A string nail is one where you attach one end of the string or yarn on a nail.

Hammer

You will need a hammer in order to position the nail you will need in making a round marking in its right place.

Cardboard

You will only need a cardboard if the cut you’re making on the cement board is neither straight nor curved.

Bucket of Water and Sponge

If you want to minimize the spread of dust while you are working on the job, you need to prepare water and sponge.

Tarp

Another thing you can use in making cleaning much easier after you’re done with the job is a tarpaulin. You can use it to cover the floor or your working area so that all dust and debris will stay in one place, and not scattered on the floor.

Table Tile Saw or Jigsaw

A table saw is a tool with a circular saw blade on an arbor. This blade can be seen on the top of the table’s surface. The table supports the material. It runs on electricity. It’s easy to manipulate, so you’ll have little trouble using it.

A jigsaw, on the other hand, has a reciprocating blade that can cut curves, irregular or not. It is also called a scroll saw.

Drill

A drill is a tool that fits with a cutting tool. It is used to bore holes into materials like a cement board. It is gripped by a chuck and rotates when pressed against the material.

Step-By-Step Instructions To Cut Cement Board


Once you have all the materials you need, follow the guide below:

Step 1 - Choose your main tool​

You probably have a table tile saw or a jigsaw already. You can choose one depending on the cut you’re planning to make. If your cement board is smaller than 4x4 feet and you want to cut in a straight line, then use the table tile saw. However, if the cement board is larger than that and you want to get curved cuts, then you might want to use a jigsaw. Just make sure that whichever tool you choose, it has a diamond or a carbon blade tip.

Step 2 - Prepare the tarp

Before you start working, put a tarp under your work area. You don’t want dust or water to be lying around the room and creating a mess. The tarp will make cleaning easier afterwards. If you’re inside your house, make sure that you are sealing the room. Close the door and the windows.

Step 3 - Make markings

Measure the distance of the cut you want to make. If you’re making a straight cut, make your markings while using a square to make sure that the line is properly done. If you’re making a circular cut, use the hammer and nail to mark the center of the cut. Then, use the string in making the cut’s radius. Tie one of its ends to the nail in the center and the other to your marking pencil. If you’re making an odd-shaped cut, trace it on a cardboard and trace it on the cement board.

Step 4 - Sprinkle water on the cement board

To further minimize dust, sprinkle enough amount of water to the cement board. Just be sure not to overdo it.

Step 5 - Make the cut

If you’re using a table tile saw, set its guide rail to your marking. Push it slowly until you make your cut. If you’re using a jigsaw, drill a hole in the place where you’ve put the nail. Insert the jigsaw blade there. Then, start making your cut from the center.

Using Power Tools

You can use some below power tools to cut cement board:

A circular saw
You can use a circular saw with a carbide-tipped wood-cutting blade for straight cuts, pushing the saw into the material with slow speed and low pressure.

Tips:
Use a blade with the less number of teeth you can find.
More teeth will produce a cleaner cut when cutting wood. But in this case, it will create clouds of thicks dust.

An angle grinder
You can also cut the cement board with an angle grinder (use a diamond-impregnated cutting wheel),

This method but this tool produces a lot of dust and is harder to control than a circular saw, so use caution.

A wet saw
You can also cut the cement board using a wet saw (although it is designed for cutting tile). The wet saw has an abrasive blade that's bathed in water, so it cuts cleanly, with no dust.

A Jigsaw
Another power-tool option is a jigsaw ( use with a metal-cutting blade or carbide-grit blade).
You should cut slowly to archive a smooth cut with minimal dust

Tip: For the best result, replace the new blade after six to eight cuts

Cutting Round Holes

Cutting holes in cement board to make it fit around a tub faucet, toilet flange, or others can be a challenge unless you know a few tricks.
Here's one method: Outline the hole onto the cement board with a pencil compass.
Bore a series of holes (use 1/4-inch diameter masonry bit) closely spaced holes around the outline.
Use a hammer to tap on the center of the hole lightly.
After several taps, the cement board will fracture along the holes, and the circle of the board will break free.
Clean up the rough edges of the hole with tile nippers or pliers.

You can cut a round or square hole using a jigsaw (use a metal-cutting blade) or a drill (use a carbide-grit hole saw)
At first, use the 3/8-inch diameter masonry drill bit to drill a hole through the cement board.
After that, insert the jigsaw blade into the hole and cut.

Step 6 - Separate the cut cement

Once you’ve made your cut, apply a little pressure to get the parts that you want to remove.You can put them on the tarpaulin to be cleaned along with the accumulated dust.

Helpful Tips


  • In order to ensure your safety while doing the job, make sure that you wear safety glasses, dust mask, and work gloves.
  • Don’t use a jigsaw with worn down teeth. You will not be able to get good results. Make sure that your jigsaw’s teeth are still sharp.
  • If you don’t know how to operate the table saw or the jigsaw, read the manual beforehand.
  • When you are drilling the cement board, make sure that it is supported underneath. Otherwise, the pressure will bend and flex the board and crack the cement.
  • To minimize the amount of dust, run the jigsaw at a slow speed.

Conclusion


Have you enjoyed this tutorial? We hope that this has helped you in your house renovation efforts. Just remember to think about your safety when you perform the job.

If you have further questions or if you have tips you want to share with others, be sure to leave a comment below.

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