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How to Easily Cut Drywall with a RotoZip (Man’s Best Friend…when drywalling)

 

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by Jeff Patterson in Interior
How to Cut Drywall

Hanging drywall is easy.

Cutting out around electrical devices….

That’s another story.

Mess this up and you’ll be patching your brand new drywall.

Not cool.

Today’s lesson shows you how make precise cuts around electrical boxes, bathroom fans, and recessed lights.

You learn a lot of cool stuff when you watch a Pro contractor.

Today’s tutorial is courtesy of Steve White from SRW Contracting.

As you might recall, he’s a professional master bathroom remodeler.

When I asked Steve to help with this lesson he told me he rarely uses a drywall saw.

You’ll see why a traditional drywall saw stinks in comparison to a RotoZip.

And it makes the cutting of drywall way faster.

 

Last week Steve showed you how to hang drywall ceilings in a bathroom using a lift.

Today he shares how to cut out the drywall around the electrical boxes, bathroom fans, and recessed lights.

 

The first step is to measure the location of the device.

Get the center location of the device and write these dimensions down.

Know Location of Devices

Don’t lose them or you’ll kick yourself!!!

 

Use these dimensions to mark the center of the electrical device on the new drywall.

Plunge your drywall saw or RotoZip into this center mark.

Plunge Saw or RotoZip

You’ll see Steve’s angst in the video around 1:34.

I asked him to use the drywall saw even though he doesn’t use it anymore.

LOL.

Poor guy.

 

For electrical boxes, don’t plunge cut too deeply.

Primarily because there are electrical wires in the box.

Cut from the center to the edge of the box then remove your knife or RotoZip.

Cut Recessed Light on Outside

Then plunge cut into the drywall to find the outside edge of the electrical box.

Now cut the outline of the outside edge of the box into the drywall.

 

The technique is similar for recessed lights

Cut from the center to the edge of the recessed light.

Again, pull the RotoZip from the drywall and plunge it into the outside of the recessed light.

Steve’s tips give you a precise circular cut in the drywall.

He explains in the video why a precise cut for recessed lights is so important.

 

Cutting out drywall for bathroom fans is a bit different.

You can cut along the inside edge instead of the outside edge.

This makes your drywall work look neat and clean

Bathroom Fan Cutout

See all of Steve’s tips in the video, and why he’s been using a RotoZip for 10 years 😀

How to Cut Drywall (Cutting Out Electrical Outlets and Devices)

 

What’s Next

Is there any doubt the RotoZip is awesome?

We have another tutorial that shows how to cut drywall in a doorway using the RotoZip.

Also, if you’re remodeling a bathroom (like we were in both videos) grab our free guide, it’s pretty awesome and has tons of suggestions that’ll make your life easier.

Get Our Guide

Thanks as always for reading, watching and making our Do-It-Yourself community the best.

See you in the comments.

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

Jeff

 

62 Comments
  1. Vince Rosenthal says:

    Just moved into a new house that’s absolutely full of projects in every room!! I do have a tip: wear safety glasses when making drywall cuts. You only get one pair of eyes!!!

    1. That’s a good tip Vince, drywall dust goes everywhere. Sounds like you’ll have your hands full with walls and ceilings. Rent that drywall lift for the ceiling, it’ll make your life so much easier 😀

  2. Greg says:

    Always double-check your measurements before making the cut!

    1. Couldn’t agree more Greg. It stinks to make the wrong cut and then have a HUGE gap to fill. No fun 🙁

  3. Britt Dodd says:

    A RotoZip would be *amazing* ! I’m getting ready (next week) to run over 10 boxes (groups of 3 drops for each box) for CAT 6 ethernet cables (with keystone jacks) in brand new walls in an office remodeling project. A rotozip would make this job a breeze, and I would document the process for pulling Ethernet lines for possible inclusion somewhere (Facebook?).

    I don’t own a drywall saw or a rotozip, but I’d definitely *LOVE* a rotozip to make this work much more simple!

    Britt

    1. Oh my goodness Britt, that sounds like one heck of a project. Are you doing this for your home office or for a work office? If you’re doing for someone else they better by you some pizza and beer!!!

  4. Jason says:

    I want to make some improvements to our master bath prior to selling it. And then…there is the new house projects!!

    1. What kind of improvements do you wanna make Jason?

  5. Linda Shakespeare says:

    I am seriously itching to cut off my ugly stucco fireplace mantle! What were the builders thinking anyway? It is hideous! Once done, I would patch it neatly and put a nice wood mantle in its place. I would also have to pry off those lick and stick ten inch floor tiles placed ever so gracefully around the glassed in firebox. I hope I don’t find anything underneath I have to scrape off. I can find some marble scraps or nicer tile, maybe subway, to put in place of those crappy, beige, monstrosities! Ah, those wonderful 1990s!

    1. For real, who comes up with these bright ideas to cover up beautiful fireplaces?

      The style of the 80s and early 90s….ugh.

      You should document your project Linda and post some pictures on the HRT Facebook Group. People would love to see your before, during and afters.

      I bet you’d help a ton of people 😀

      Here’s the link to join

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/hrtcommunity/

  6. June says:

    Wanting to finish my basement and this RotoZip, simple to use tool would be a perfect time saver and make the job much neater and easier.

    1. Are you making your basement into a game room or installing a bathroom June?

      That’s so cool 😀

  7. Mike says:

    Getting ready to take our master bath down to studs and redo the whole thing. Followed by our other bath in the spring most likely. The rotozip would be awesome to not have to use the old hand style drywall saw. 🙂

    1. Oh yah Mike, you totally will be a busy guy.

      Make sure to share your project over on the Facebook Group. I’d love to see your before and after pics.

      You’re gonna have a great project, lots of work, but great project all the same 😀

  8. Paul Devlin says:

    I used one that I borrowed for my old plaster and lathe walls, worked great with the right blade and so much easier than a hand saw. I would like one of my own as I have more to do.

    1. Whew, plaster and lathe walls!!! Gives me the shivers.

      They are fantastic to have but a nightmare to work on. Good thing you had the RotoZip Paul 😀

  9. Dahlia says:

    Although I am 83 I still tackle any job I think I can do. The roto zip helps me get things done Imwould not have the strength tomdomotherwise.

    1. Whoa, you go Dahlia.

      You inspire us all to get up off our butts and get stuff done.

      We need you in the HRT Facebook Group for sure

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/hrtcommunity/

  10. Donna Doble-Brown says:

    Jeff, Love your videos and tutorials! Got anything in your arsenal of DIY help about fixing GAS OVENS???? I have an old GE XL44 and it seems like the pilot went out in the oven only . . . . Burners still work and so does broiler . . . .THOUGHTS??? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!
    Keep up the fine work . . . Take care!
    Donna

    1. Oh boy, I wish I could help Donna.

      You could join the HRT Facebook Group and add your question with pics.

      If you’re up for it here’s the link to join

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/hrtcommunity/

  11. Daniel says:

    I could seriously use the rotozip to help remodel rooms in my fixer-upper house!
    Tip: (I have learned this as a beginner “pretending” that I’m an expert) Drywall the ceiling first then the walls…otherwise you are left with a larger than normal gap for the floor trim to cover and another dilemma.

    1. Good tip Daniel.

      Great job jumping into the projects and not being afraid 😀

  12. Jeff Regner says:

    As I barrel down on retirement in a couple of years, there are NUMEROUS projects that I have let go due to my 2 hour each way commute each day and my 60 plus hour work week. Many of them will involve both installing and replacing drywall. Opening up the electrical boxes is a BEAR, and the RotoZip sure would make short work of that job, allowing me to catch up on the others.

    Jeff Regner

    1. Man Jeff, I can’t wait until you retire, too. That commute is brutal.

      Anything we can do to help, let us know. The RotoZip does make short order of the drywall 😀

  13. Timothy L. says:

    Love your podcasts Jeff! I am a newly wed and moving into a new home that is going to need lots of work and a Rotozip would help drastically with my sanity when I begin these projects.

    1. Congrats Timothy on your marriage and new home, we were in the same situation over 14 years ago. Holy mackerel does time fly.

      Don’t worry, your sanity doesn’t go until you have kids, haha.

  14. Roger says:

    This would be a great tool for my remodel projects. Depth gauge is handy.

    1. Depth gauges are great on this tool and hammer drills, so handy!!

  15. Troy says:

    I tried using a dremel to do this with limited success. The Rotozip is the way to go I think.

    1. Steve’s been using his for 10 years, and he does a ton of bathroom remodeling. It’s a beefy tool for sure Troy 😀

  16. Ed Balek says:

    Getting ready to finish some basement spaces, so the roto zip will make things a lot easier.

    1. Sweet, what stage are you on Ed with your basement?

  17. Marcia schmitt says:

    I’ve seen other people use Rotozip and it just makes a lot of sense! I would use it to do some work in my bathroom before we try to sell. Thanks

    Macia

    1. What kind of projects are you looking to do in the bathroom Marcia?

  18. Steve says:

    I need a roto zip to finish my kitchen I’m building. Good video.

    1. Thanks Steve, and you’re finishing a kitchen!!! Holy toledo, now that’s a project.

      Our group would love to see your progress and get some tips.

      If you’re up for it you can join our HRT Facebook Group and share the process

      Here’s the link

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/hrtcommunity/

  19. waykno says:

    I know it’s boring but I’d use it exactly how the vid shows:D Tip: if the drywall hole is small (you have to judge this yourself), use white toothpaste and it works fine.

    1. Great tip with the toothpaste 😀

      And nothing DIY is boring, lol

  20. susan says:

    This is perfect! Had a shotty electrical contractor come work on my house recently. Took the money but never really finished the job. I’m working up the courage to see if I can tackle those electrical boxes myself. The roto zip would be super handy!

    1. Oh man, sorry to hear that Susan.

      Something tells me you can do this yourself and do it better than that guy 😀

  21. David Coffeen says:

    I’m remodeling a bathroom and an entire basement, including a bathroom ceiling, for which the power tool would be ideal. My tip for repairing a small to medium hole in drywall: Cut a patch of similar drywall with the back surface a little bigger than the damaged area. It is important to cut the four edges at a 45º angle, with the finished surface of the patch being bigger than the back side. Hold the patching material with the finished surface against the damaged area, covering the area completely, and trace the outline of the patch on the damaged wall. Now cut out the damaged wall area on the line at a 45º angle inwards so that the patch material will fill the void without falling into the cavity. Once you have a slightly loose fit, wet all the cut edges, “butter” them with drywall compound, and press the patch in place. If it is slightly below the finished surface, simply mud in the void and sand smooth. This has always worked great for me, especially when using “setting type” compound.

  22. Sal says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I’m helping my son install some recessed lights in the basement…total of 20!
    The roto zip is just the tool I need for this job.

  23. Bill says:

    My rotozip never worked, blade/bit kept breaking, even on a piece of 5/8″ softwood.

  24. Hank Wolgast says:

    I have one more room to finish in my basement before I can start on my wood flooring project up in the living room. The rotozip would make my job so much easier. Thanks to you and Steve for all the great tutorials. I think I have learned more than I already knew about drywall in just a few tutorials. You guys are amazing!

  25. Casey says:

    I stumbled across your video on youtube when trying to figure out how to replace sections of drywall. My mother-in-law was in her attic and misplaced her foot and next thing you know, it went through the ceiling of the room below. The Rotozip seems like that would be the perfect tool to cleanly remove the part that she fell through and replace it. Any tips anyone might have for replacing sections of ceiling drywall (about 2 foot by 2 foot) would be greatly appreciated…and fingers crossed that I win the Rotozip too!

  26. Rose says:

    I am about to build a 500 square foot craft room in my garage. The rotozip would make installation of the can lights and electrical outlets so much easier. It’s a high ceiling so not having to hand saw would make a huge difference.
    Tip: Scaffolding is a must when working with high ceilings. No sense falling off a ladder when scaffolding could save your life and back.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  27. Christine says:

    I’d wear goggles and a dust mask for cutting that stuff over my head! I cut a large piece out of my ceiling to patch, [after watching Jeff’s earlier video, so I was sure I could tackle it!]. I needed some extra hands to help me bring it down. Knowing about the then lift would have helped! 😉

  28. Braden K says:

    I do a lot of wood work (with limited tools) and the rotozip would be great for edging and cleaning up hard to reach places. Rotozips are great because they are used like routers and at just half the cost. Undercuts too would make my life easier.
    A Tip or Two: Hanging drywall you can use a hammer to lift the base to meet the upper drywall you just hanged at eye level. Also, when using putty on an inside corner, use a bevel to mimic the inside corner degree than trace that degree onto the putty knife. Cut out the new bevel marking on the putty knife and you’ll get yourself a wonderful, smooth, line of putty with no hassles.

  29. James stinnett says:

    Nice video. Can’t believe that tools been around that long and I have never noticed it. Would be nice when we tackle turning our garage into a playroom and office area

  30. dan says:

    Our house has uninsulated plaster walls. Guess who needs a RotoZip to use for the next 5 years.

  31. Reuben says:

    Ok, rookie question here. I always thought it was code that the electrical boxes and such were supposed to sit proud of the framing members. Buy any off-the-shelf electrical box with a nailing flange or something and it will be designed for the box to sit proud of the framing. I just put in a new bath fan and the installation instructions said something similar. If this is the case, you can’t hang the drywall until the holes are already cut. But, in this demo, the boxes didn’t sit proud at all, which made it easy to cut the holes after the drywall is hung. What’s up? Are folks just disregarding the customary practice of having boxes sit proud of the framing?Is this a code issue in some areas?

    (BTW, I want the roto zip and I would use it to hang all the drywall in my attic renovation!)

  32. Lupe says:

    Wow roto tool looks much easier especially for a girl like me who will be tackling home improvements to make my home look nicer and function better for my kids and I.

  33. David Richardson, Sr. says:

    I need all the help I can get. Rotozip here I come.

  34. Jerry Herrman says:

    I will try this on a bathroom project we are working on this month.

  35. Debra says:

    There are soooo many things I could do with this tool…add a dog door for my 15 year old husky, open up the wall between my kitchen and living room to get more natural light, move my vents from the floor up higher so I can get heat where I need it and avoid the furniture blocking and also move/add a few power outlets where they are needed most…Oh my Jeff, this question was a loaded one. I just bought this home in Oct and I see so many things I could do with this tool. I had one many years ago and lost it in my travels, now being in my new home, I know what I must get…If I am not the lucky person who wins this (I bless the person who does, enjoy and have fun) I know that I will be getting this very soon (since I really need to make my dog door before winter…I can’t go through another rough winter and keep letting him in and out all night long, sorry I need rest to, LOL). Thanks for reading this and have an awesome day! Deb

  36. Lani says:

    I’m thinking new vanity lights to replace the old gold/chrome monster.

  37. Les sheppard says:

    Recently retired after 40 years in the mining power management field. Very interested in home and outside upgrades. A busy mind and body holds back old age, and the more user frendly I can make my tools the less pain medication I need to take.

  38. Brad B says:

    I’d love to get a rotozip to use on my utility room project. I’m going to be tearing out a fur down and needing to do a bit of sheetrocking.

  39. Nancy says:

    Love your home repair tips and tricks. Sure could use the RotoZip when doing those projects, would make life much easier!

  40. Troy G says:

    Got a ceiling replacement to do this winter!

  41. eztoolhub says:

    wow! very nice post. This is nice post which I was awaiting for such an article and I have gained some very handy information oscillating multi function power from this site.
    Thank’s for admin.

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