To cut holes in cement backer board to use under tile, equip a portable jigsaw or sabre saw with a metal cutting blade.

To start the saw in cement backer board, drill a hole though the backer board large enough for the jigsaw blade or make a plunge cut with the blade in the backer board.

Always be sure to wear dust and eye protection when cutting cement backer board. Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: I’m about to cut a hole in this cement backer board for a toilet flange. This is going to go down on the bathroom floor. And there are several specialty tools you can buy to make that hole, but I’ve gotten really good results using a jigsaw and a metal cutting blade.

Now, the first thing you need to know when you’re working with cement backer boards, you have to protect yourself from the silica dust using a dust mask and safety glasses. I’m going to put that on first. And then I’m going to make the cut. Now, you could drill a hole—start a hole for the blade—but I just as soon use a plunge cut method. And then just follow the line.

There you go. Nice clean cut. Very little dust. And this works not only with circular cuts but also with straight and square cuts.

Editorial Contributors
Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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