How to Cut Durock

How to Cut Durock

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For those of you who don’t know, Durock is a specific type of cement board or cement backer board. If you are in need of a tile backer board for walls, floors, counters, and more, then Durock is a good way to go. That said, it might not always come in the size that you need, which means that you will need to cut it.

Today, we are here to talk about the different ways to cut this material.

3 Ways to Cut Durock

There are three main ways to cut Durock, including snapping and scoring, using a circular saw for straight cuts, and using a jigsaw for cutting curves and irregular shapes.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the three methods.

Method #1: Scoring and Snapping Durock

Utility Knife The first way to cut this building material is by simply scoring it with a utility knife and then snapping it. This is considered to be the fastest and easiest method, particularly if you have a relatively thin board.

Keep in mind that the Durock should be no thicker than ½” for this method to be effective. If the cement board is thicker than ½”, you will need to use a circular saw to cut it, in which case you should refer to the following method.

How to Score and Snap Durock

To score and snap your board, place it on a flat surface with the side that will be visible facing upwards. Make sure there is nothing on the surface that may damage the cement board. You will then need to take measurements and use a carpenter’s pencil to make a mark where the cut is to be made. Use a ruler or something similar to make sure the line is straight, as this method only works for making straight cuts.

You now want to take your utility knife and cut along the line that you marked previously. Apply a bit of pressure, but not too much. You don’t need to get all the way through the Durock, especially not with the first cut. Repeat this two or three more times and apply a bit more pressure each time. You want to keep doing this until the cut is about halfway through the board, or slightly more.

To snap it, place the board on your knee with the cut facing upwards. Then, apply some pressure to either side of the Durock, while pushing upwards in the middle with your knee. It should snap easily, but if it doesn’t, make a few more cuts then try again. You will then need to use your utility knife to cut the inner mesh, and you should now have two separate pieces.

Method #2: Using a Circular Saw to Cut Durock

If you have a lot of Durock that needs to be cut, particularly if it is thicker than ½”, you will want to use a circular saw.

Keep in mind that cement board is hard, so you will need the right kind of blade, one that has very few teeth and features carbide tips. If you don’t use a carbide-tipped blade with few teeth, this is not going to work. The blade is going to get dull fast, and the cut won’t be clean.

Some people do prefer this method because unlike scoring and snapping, which requires several steps, with a circular saw you can make one clean cut and the job is done.

How To Cut Durock With a Circular Saw

Before you start, put on a mask or some other type of breathing protection, as this process will create a lot of dust, and cement dust is very toxic when inhaled. Just like with snapping and scoring Durock, you first need to make your measurements. So, just measure the cut you need to make, then use a ruler and a carpenter’s pencil to mark the cut.

You now need to set the depth of the saw blade so that it extends ½” past the board. So, if the Durock is ½”, set the depth of the saw blade to 1”. Take the cement board and place it face down on a sawhorse, making sure that you leave an empty space below to make the cut. You may need to hold or clamp the Durock down when doing this, as you don’t want it moving while you make the cut.

Get your circular saw up to full speed, line it up with the mark, make contact, and then slowly push the saw through until the cut has been made. Make sure to have the saw at full speed before you make the initial contact. This will cut through the board and the inner membrane in one smooth motion.

Method 3: Using a Jigsaw to Cut Durock

Jigsaw If you need to make curved or circular cuts, you will need a jigsaw. No matter how thick or thin, neither a circular saw nor a utility knife will be able to make cuts that serve this purpose.

Remember, you’ll need a carbide or metal cutting blade because you can’t use a normal jigsaw blade to cut cement board.

How to Cut Durock With a Jigsaw

Just like in the previous methods, measure the cut as it needs to be made and then use a carpenter’s pencil to mark. Then, place the Durock sheet on a sawhorse, making sure that the bottom, where the path of the jigsaw blade is to be, is clear. You will have to support the sheet from both sides while leaving the center empty so you can make the cut.

If the cut is on the interior of the board, you’ll need to use a drill to make a hole, one that is large enough to insert the saw blade into. Now, take your jigsaw and insert the blade through the hole you just drilled, get the tool moving at full speed, and then slowly push it along the mark you made previously. Never apply too much sideways pressure or force, as you may snap the blade. Let the saw do most of the work.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Let’s go over some quick tips to help make this process easier for you:

  • If using power tools, always use blades designed for cutting cement or concrete
  • If using a utility knife, make sure to use a new blade that is very sharp
  • If using power tools, make sure to wear eye and breathing protection
  • Even with a jigsaw, cutting very tight curves will not be easy, because if you try to turn too fast you may snap the blade


As you can see, there are a few effective ways of cutting Durock.

Most would choose to score and snap for thinner sheets, while using a circular saw for thicker sheets, so be sure to have the right tool for the job.