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Can You Cut Ceiling Tiles With a Utility Knife? (Here’s How)

Can You Cut Ceiling Tiles With a Utility Knife?

Ceiling tiles can make your home look better, improve the acoustics in a room, and can provide more insulation and energy efficiency to the whole home. But getting them put up will take a little bit of work. And many homeowners wonder if they are able to cut them out themselves with a utility knife or if this type of knife will not be strong or thick enough to cut through the tile pieces. 

It is possible to use a utility knife or another similar tool to help you cut the ceiling tiles in your home. The process is pretty simple, though there are different steps based on whether you are cutting through acoustic ceiling tiles or drywall tiles. Let’s take a look at how to complete this process and how helpful your utility knife can be in this process. 

Related: How to Dispose of Old Utility Knife Blades

Cutting Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

The first type of ceiling tile that you may need to cut with a utility knife is the acoustic ones. You can use a utility knife to do this, though some people prefer to use a carpet knife since it can cut deeper. Always use a pair of gloves when you do this to keep the tiles clean and protect your hands. 

Mark the Lines for Cutting

To start, you can take a piece of plywood down to help protect the counter from any cuts from the knife. Then take the tiles and lay them facing up on the plywood. Use a pencil to mark out your measurements on the bottom and top edges of the tile to get started. 

Cut the Tile

When that is ready, you can use a T-square or another option to help align the tile edges with the marks. You need to firmly hold this with one hand and then partially cut, or score, the tile with the utility knife. You may find that one or two more passes will be enough to cut through the tile all the way. 

If Needed, Make a Circular Cutout

For some projects, you will need to make some clean and circular holes through the tiles. This will help you to hold onto electrical boxes and light fixtures. There are a few things that you can do this with, but if you are using a utility knife, the steps are as follows:

  • Use the pencil compass to help draw a circle of the hole size that you want. Then pivot the compass around that center point. 
  • Use the utility knife to make some scoring cuts on the circle. Make some deeper passes each time you go until the tile is cut through. 

These simple steps will help you to cut out the ceiling tiles to be the size that you would like and makes the extra room that you need to help with lights as well. 

How to Cut Drywall Tiles

It is also possible to use a utility knife with drywall tiles. This is a little bit different and will take a few different steps than what we talked about before. Some of the steps you can use to help cut through drywall tiles with a utility knife include:

Mark the Lines to Cut

Just like with before, you will need to do some lines to help know where to cut the tile. You can bring out some drywall and set the tile on it. Then measure the tile and mark the cutting lines that you would like to use for the right size. A pencil will be fine for this. 

Make Your Scoring Cut

If you are good at making straight lines, you can go ahead and use the utility knife to help score into the tiles and begin the cutting. If not, then a framing square or a T-square will be effective at helping. You can hold the square in the proper place and then use that utility knife to make your scoring cut. This will make just a small cut through the tile to start things off. 

Complete Your Cut

For those who has spent some time cutting drywall, the following steps will be pretty simple to work with. They include:

  • Align the edge of the tile, where the score line is, with the edge of the work surface. You need to make sure that the excess tile is hanging over the edge of the surface you are working with. Have the scored side facing up. 
  • Firmly push down on the extra to help fold and snap the drywall right where the scored line is. 
  • At this point, the part that you do not plan to use should be hanging by the back paper. You can turn the tile on its edge and then cut through the crease with the utility knife to finish it off. 
  • Set the tile back onto a flat surface. Use your utility knife to help trim off any of the excess drywall that is along the edge. 

This process will take a bit of time to adjust to and get used to how it works. With a little bit of practice though, you will find it is possible to get the work done and have the drywall tiles cut out and ready to go. 

If you are interested, it is possible to make a circular cutout with these kinds of tiles as well to have some room for the electrical boxes and light fixtures. It is often best to use a saw to cut through it rather than the utility knife instead. 

Cutting Through Tiles

Ceiling tiles can look nice in your home and will give the specific look that you want. It takes a little bit of time to get the work done, but a utility knife can be a great option to help you get the tiles cut and to make them look the exact way that you would like. Follow the steps above and you can get those tiles cut, with the help of your utility knife, in no time. 

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