Cement board is a very common building material used for a variety of purposes. One of the main things that you need to know is how to cut this material. Cement board is generally best cut with some kind of very sharp and thin blade, such as a utility knife. How to cut this material with a utility knife is exactly what we are going to cover today.
Is a Utility Knife the Best Tool for Cutting Cement Board?
A utility knife is one of the best tools to use for cutting cement board. The only thing that is better for cutting cement board is a carbide-tipped scoring knife. Cutting cement board involves cutting a very straight line to penetrate the majority of the board, and then snapping it in half.
Therefore, whatever type of knife is used, whether a scoring knife or a utility knife, an extremely thin and sharp blade is called for.
It is also possible to use a variety of power saws to cut cement board. As long as the blade in question has small and fine teeth, it should work just fine. You could use something like a circular saw, a miter saw, or a good table saw. That said, a simple sharp blade such as a utility knife is generally considered best.
How to Cut Cement Board with a Utility Knife
Let’s go through a quick step-by-step tutorial on exactly how to cut cement board with a utility knife.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
First, you need to gather all of your required tools and materials, including your utility knife, and a carpenter’s pencil. You will also need something long, straight, and flat, such as a long ruler or a long 2×4 board, as well as your cement board of choice.
Step 2: Find a Good Spot
You then need to find a good spot to perform this task, which generally means having a large and flat table. You want to be able to lay the cement board down on a flat surface to ensure a smooth cutting process. Therefore, once you have found your flat surface, lay down your cement board with the top side facing up.
Step 3: Measure and Mark
You now want to measure exactly where you will cut the cement board, which of course varies from project to project. Once you have made your measurements, you are then going to use the appropriate tools, such as your ruler, a T-square, or a long board to mark the line using a carpenter’s pencil or any other suitable marking utensil.
Step 4: Score the Cement Board
Next, you will want to lay a long and flat edge right against the line that you drew in the step before. If you are cutting a very long piece of cement board, something like a long 2×4 will work just fine.
With everything properly lined up, extend the blade on your utility knife so that it can penetrate through the cement board. You’re now going to hold the blade against the board or whatever long and flat surface you are using, and then drag the blade along the line you drew in the previous step.
You don’t want to penetrate too deep with the first cut as you might damage the cement board. It is recommended that you make two or three passes to make a long, straight, and precise line.
Again, these cuts shouldn’t go all the way through the cement board, as this process is simply for scoring the material.
Step 5: Snap the Board
With the cement board scored, stand the board on its side, so that the line you scored in the previous step is horizontal or parallel with the ground. Make sure that the side you scored is facing away from you.
Apply a little bit of pressure from the top so that it stands on the ground securely, and then lightly press into the cement board with your knee from the back, while gently pulling the top towards your body. This should cleanly snap the material.
Step 6: Cut the Mesh
There will be a layer of mesh that is not cut and has not snapped. You will want to use your utility knife to cut that layer of mesh.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips and Tricks
Lastly, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t press down too hard with the utility knife. Utility knives have blades that come in sections. If you press too hard, you might snap a part of the blade off.
- Make sure that you cut around three-quarters of the way through the cement board when scoring, or else when you go to snap it, if the cut is not deep enough, it will not snap apart evenly or cleanly.
As you can see, cutting cement board with a utility knife is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes.