How to Cut Cement Board with a Jigsaw

How to Cut Cement Board with a Jigsaw

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Cement board is great building material. It comes pre-cut to fit standard wall stud spacing making it fast and easy to install. Eventually, though you have to cut it to fit. Cement board can be cut in a number of different ways with a range of different tools.

Each has their advantages in a given situation or budget. In this article, we’re going to focus specifically on how to cut cement board with a jigsaw.

Is a Jigsaw the Best Tool for Cutting Cement Board?

Jigsaw Short answer, no.

The easiest and fastest way to cut cement board is with a utility knife and a straight edge. Although fast and easy, this method is only really suitable when cutting straight lines. There are specialized tools for cutting cement boards that minimize dust and time, but for now, let’s get back to the jigsaw.

Really the question should be “is a jigsaw the best tool for cutting cement board when you need to cut something other than a straight line?” Short answer, yes.

A jigsaw is also useful when you want to cut a hole in the surface of cement board.

What Type of Jigsaw Blade Should You Use for Cutting Cement Board?

The jigsaw is a versatile power tool that can be used to cut many different types of building materials. Whether you plan to cut wood, metal, or in this case cement board, there are blades designed specifically for each job.

You definitely should not use the standard wood cutting blade your jigsaw was supplied with. It’ll wear out very quickly due to the abrasive nature of cement board. Also the quality of the cut will make you wish you used the correct blade to begin with.

A carbide-tipped blade made for cutting building boards is the best choice. You can also manage with a regular bi-metal blade designed for cutting metal, but it will dull much faster and require replacement sooner than the carbide-tipped blade.

How to Cut Cement Board with a Jigsaw

Let’s jump in.

Step 1: Wear PPE

The first thing to do is make sure you have suitable personal protective equipment available.

Cutting cement board with a jigsaw produces a small amount of dust, so get yourself a dust mask to prevent you from breathing it in. Also, a set of safety glasses should be worn. Not only will they protect you from flying dust and debris, but they will prevent injury in the unlikely event of your jigsaw blade breaking.

Step 2: Prepare the Cement Board

Lay the cement board face-up, making sure it is well supported on saw horses either side of your planned cut. Mark out the cut with a carpenter pencil. Accurate measurement and guidelines will ensure a good fit, especially when cutting curves or other irregular shapes.

Step 3: Drill a Hole If Necessary

If you are cutting a hole in the middle of the board, then now is the time to drill a small hole inside the cut line that the jigsaw blade will fit into. This step can be skipped if you are confident using a jigsaw by making a plunge cut to start.

Another safety consideration if you’re not using a cordless jigsaw is to make sure the power cord is well clear of the cut.

Step 4: Prepare to Cut

Offer the jigsaw up to the work and bring the blade up to full speed before moving it into the cut. If the blade is running slowly or not at all as you start the cut, then there is a risk it can catch or even jump up from the material and damage the board or bend the blade.

Step 5: Cut

Push the jigsaw into the board and apply gentle downward pressure to keep it flat on the surface of the board to prevent it jumping out of the cut. Feed the jigsaw along the guideline and slow down when making turns.

If it feels like the blade is beginning to bind up in the material while cutting a tight bend or curve, then bring it back to get the blade up to full speed before continuing the cut.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Lastly, below are some additional tips to keep in mind when going through the process:

  • Cutting cement board wears out jigsaw blades quickly, even those specially made for the task. So keep a few extra blades on hand.
  • Another safety consideration if you’re not using a cordless jigsaw is to make sure the power cord is well clear of the cut both on top and beneath the cement board.
  • When marking round or curved cuts, use a suitably sized round object or stencil to draw around.


A jigsaw is an inexpensive and adaptable tool many people have in their home shop.

So, although in many cases it is perhaps not the easiest way to cut cement board, a jigsaw with a suitable blade is sometimes the best way to get the job done.