How to cut plasterboard

Posted by Chris Sugden on

Plasterboard is something of an unsung hero of construction. Cheap, light, and versatile, there are few places that don’t have some plasterboard somewhere. But, once in place, it tends to get covered up and forgotten about.

If plasterboard has any drawback, it’s that it will always need cutting to get to the right size. And that cut can sometimes create problems. Getting it wrong can make more work as small gaps need to be filled or create issues because the gypsum core and paper coating can sometimes leave a ragged edge that show through.

But, once you know how to cut plasterboard, it’s easy to make sure you get a perfect line every time, and the plasterboard will provide a smooth surface for finishing.

What tools you need

One of the beauties of plasterboard is that you can, just about, get away with only a Stanley knife to cut it. Other tools will help, but in a pinch, you can make most of the cuts you need with just that blade.

If you want to be fully prepared, then other tools you might need will be an edge, to make sure you get a straight line and to break the plasterboard against, and a handsaw or jab-saw if you have awkward shapes to cut.

Cutting a straight edge

Cutting a straight line in plasterboard is easy. Once you have established where the cut needs to be, use your edge and the Stanley knife to score along the line. You don’t need to cut through with the knife, just to create a line about 3 mm deep.

Once scored, use this line to snap the plasterboard off. Then, turn the board and use the knife to cut the paper covering on the reverse at the cut.

Cutting more complex shapes

If you need to cut more complex shapes, you will need a handsaw. A good quality handsaw will make light work of plasterboard and, assuming the teeth are fine enough, leave you with a tidy cut. If you have a shape that leaves a straight line, you can use the Stanley knife technique for the last section.

Cutting holes in plasterboard

If you need a hole, perhaps to allow access or for pipes that need to go through, you can use a jab-saw, which is sometimes known as a plasterboard saw.

These are designed for cutting holes like this, helping you make the initial cut through, then having a narrow blade that makes it easy to cut accurate shapes. Again, when you are left with a single side, you can use the Stanley knife to cut.

The problem many people face when cutting plasterboard is confidence. The idea of, literally, snapping the plasterboard can seem risky, so practicing a little on an off-cut can be useful. But, once you have got the hang, you can create quite intricate shapes quickly and easily, and it will no time before the plasterboard is covered, and back to being the unsung hero of your construction work.

Next Steps

 Call us on +44 (0)7737 133030 or email

Read more on our blog

Follow us on Facebook Twitter.