Home Renovation Hacks: Cement Board Cutting Tools

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Sometimes, you find yourself in a situation where your bathroom or kitchen just doesn’t make you happy anymore. If your problem is the decor – that’s great! Because unlike your square footage, you can definitely fix this problem by going to the store and doing some simple DIY assembly.

However, if you’re planning to change your tiles, you probably know that the work requires not only a greater skill but also more complicated tools. If you’re a DIY fan and you’re feeling ready for significant home improvement, you surely know that the road to perfect tiles goes through a cement board.

A cement board, also known as a Hardie board or a backer board, is a flat wall panel made of cement and fibres used as a tile backing board. It comes in different sizes and thicknesses and is an absolute necessity if you want to install ceramic tiles properly. Sounds easy, right? Well, here comes the tricky part: sometimes you have to cut it. Trust us, any DIY fan willing to install new tiles has come across this problem.

Let’s start with the basics. If you want to know how to cut cement board, you first have to choose adequate tools. This part can be intimidating, as there’s a wide variety of devices you can use to cut your backer board. Always bear in mind that not every cutting tool will work for every cement board.

If you’re ready to make a home renovation, but you’re not sure if you need to equip yourself in a masonry bit or rather a saw, put your seatbelt on and follow us on a little journey in the world of cement backer boards.

The best tool to cut cement board

Cutting a cement board doesn’t necessarily have to involve the use of power tools. The best and easiest method is the so-called score and snap. In this case, to cut, you will only have to use a drywall utility knife and your steady hand. Using this method, you cut your backer board in two simple steps: firstly, you score the surface. Then, you snap it along the cut line. Got it?

One more tip: instead of using a utility knife, you might want to consider buying a carbide-tipped scoring tool. A scoring tool is a handy and relatively cheap device that typically works better when it comes to cutting cement or other hard surfaces.

Even though that’s an excellent and widely advised method to cut a cement backer board, you can perform just as well using power tools.

The best power tools for cutting cement

Typically, the power tool you want to use depends on the type of cut you would like to make. If you’re going for a straight cut, the best choice would be using a circular saw. Cutting a cement backer board using a circular saw is a great and easy method to get a precise cut. Remember that your circular saw should have a carbide-tipped wood cutting blade and as few teeth as possible to minimize the amount of dust being produced in the process.

If the cement backer board is smaller than a 4-foot by 4-foot square, the recommended circular saw would be a table tale saw. If the board you’re working with is bigger, you should use a hand-held circular saw.

However, sometimes you won’t have perfectly straight cuts. For cutting curves or edges in the cement board, a jigsaw will come in handy. Moreover, you can use a jigsaw also to cut a hole. However, to do that, you need to equip yourself in a masonry bit beforehand. First, you need to use the drill bit to create a hole in the cement. When the hole is made, you can just put the blade of a jigsaw in and drill.

A jigsaw is a great tool that produces very little dust. However, it has one disadvantage that you should bear in mind: it requires changing the blade after several cuts.


Remember that home improvement projects are supposed to be fun, but they’re also all about safety. Typically, cutting a cement backer board will produce a great deal of dust. Before using any of the recommended devices, you should first wear goggles to protect your eyes from the dust that is prone to appear. In the end, no backer board is worth losing your sight or exposing yourself to a severe injury.

3, 2, 1… cut!

You’re now all set and done to make your envisioned home renovation come true. To get the most out of it, always remember to be safe, closely follow the guidelines, and have fun!


(Małgorzata Koch)


Ref number: THSI-1998

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