measuring cutout holes in drywall


I've done this several times and this is something that just keeps eluding me.
What is the trick to measuring accurate drywall cutout holes for outlet boxes? The big issue that I seem to have is that the measurments need to be accurate by 1/8" all around for the job to look professional and for the outlet plate to sit firmly. But when I go to do it, no matter how many times I measure, I'm always off by 1/8" which puts one side 1/4" off and another snug against the box. I'm a firm believer in measure once cut twice (or is that measure twice cut once...)
Are there better tools for measuring it? I'm using my tape measure which is accurate but unwieldy and with that metal lip on the forward edge it can be off by 1/4" if you get the tape bowed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Eigenvector wrote:

Measuring will get you there if you are absolutely consistent about it but there are other ways to do it too. For example there are tools and fixtures to allow you to do it more easily. This is one example of several tools I've seen: http://www.handymark.net/instructions.html And if you prefer power tools, one of the Roto-Zip tools will allow you to make the cutout while following the edge of the box.
I have even done it with carbon paper (if you remember back that far) and someone I worked with once told me that he had done the job by dabbing his wife's lipstick around the box to mark the board.
--
John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Oh wow, I gotta get me one of those handymark tools. Thanks for the tip man.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Real men buy their own tube of lipstick and keep it in their tool box.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 18 Mar 2007 09:21:19 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

I have a couple bottles of red nail polish I use for marking things. Each comes with its own brush.
Don't tell anyone.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 18 Mar 2007 09:21:19 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

I'm a real man, but I keep my lipstick in my purse ! My gay boyfriend gave me my snakeskin purse for valentines day, but I bought my own lipstick. The color is "ruby frost", and he loves that color kissed onto his weenie.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Measure with the tape measure you have. It would be best if it is a wide, heavy blade like a Stanley. Always try to hang some one piece of drywall that has no outs. Put the metal end of the tape measure against the installed sheet and measure the left and right side of the box, get fairly accurate numbers (1/8" or less). Do the same for the top and bottom. Layout on the new sheet. Cut INSIDE your marks (too tight), but angle the saw way to the outside of the cut. The back side of the rock will be way too big, the finish side will be almost too tight. You may need to ease the cut to fit, but it will be easy to do in the thin section left on the finish side. ______________________________ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Like Dan said, the biggest trick is to angle the saw away from the center and cut to the inside of the line. Cut from the finished side.
We had a team of sheet rockers on our job that called out measurements like......a heavy 9/16.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

There are tons of tricks. Best one - buy a Rotozip (or approved equal). Then all you have to do is poke a hole in the middle of the outlet box and run the Rotozip around the perimeter. Messy and noisy, but very effective. Sell it on eBay when you no longer need it.
These are also very useful: (Amazon.com product link shortened)
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

One tip I have is that when you are measuring for an outlet box near a corner (or into the next sheet) , you will butt your tape into the corner. But you usually but your tape harder than the sheet will actually fit because of out of plumb/out of squareness , humps or bows or whatever. So pull the tape back slightly to allow for a little gappage in the corner. No need to measure in multiple places.
A Rotozip is a good idea. But you will screw up a number of outlets before you get it figured out. You have to run it on the outside of the box, and keeping the bit riding on the outlet can take a little getting used to. If it is a small job, you won't have enough time to really get the hang of it, so you will wind up botching it up just as bad as if you cut them by hand.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What about traciing a line around the box and then trying to cut that?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
marson wrote:

The Rotozip's aren't difficult to learn. If you rush anything, you'll screw it up.
With the Rotozip, poke a hole where you marked the approximate center of the box, move the tool laterally until you hit the inside edge of the box, lift the Rotozip up and over the edge of the box slowly, push back in until the shoe is flush with the drywall, reverse pressure so you're pushing towards the inside of the box and move the tool around the perimeter. Slow and steady and it shouldn't be a problem for even a beginner.
Wear ear plugs and a dust mask.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

And dont chop up the wires in the box.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You'll get 99 cents on Ebay, but just add $79.99 shipping and handling.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This method gives you the most accurate cutouts. I had a window screen I wasn't using to which I attached a piece of clear plastic sheeting. Next, I found a reference point on the screen relative to the drywall. This can be a corner, the long side or short side of the screen. Lay the screen on the wall and use a marker to draw the outlet on the plastic. Take the screen to the drywall, line up to the reference point, and using a pushpin or nail, push holes in the drywall to outline the corners of the outlet box. Cut the drywall with your drywall saw.
The principle used here is transference. However unlike using lipstick or carbon paper, you do not have to lift the drywall to find the outlet box. (Think of cutting an outlet box for a ceiling fixture.) The pushpin outline of the outlet box on the drywall is exact. If you want an exact cutout, cut outside the outline of the outlet box. This eliminates the problem in using a Robozip that cuts the inside of the outlet box but leaves the thickness of the outlet box to deal with. The window screen I have is made of metal and is semi-rigid. However any semi-rigid frame will do. I have even considered making a frame with pvc tubing and 90 degree corners. The tubing can be of different lengths and if the corners are not glued, they can be interchanged with different lengths as needed. Obviously the plastic sheet can be used separately mutiple times or mutiple outlet boxes for the same drywall panel can be marked at the same time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Amen. I own the DeWalt version of the RotoZip. I use a jab saw and the tool stays in the box. On 5/8 rock I much prefer cutting with saw.
With the 1/4" carbide burr the tool is great in ceramic tile, wonder board, Durock, etc.
--
______________________________
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.