How to Cut Stucco: Don’t Get Stuck On Stucco

Stucco is a great option for covering the exterior of your home. It’s inexpensive, it’s quick to apply, and it looks great. But, there will come a time in the life of any home where you need to make some changes, and that may require you to know how to cut stucco.

While stucco is a solid exterior covering for your home, it’s fairly easy to damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, if you follow the tips in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to learning how to cut stucco for your next project.

What You’ll Need

When it comes to cutting stucco, there are a few different tools you can use to get the job done. The key is to use a diamond blade (or at the least, a carbide tipped blade) to make a clean cut through the stucco. First, choose the saw that’s best for your needs:

  • Circular saw (great for cutting a large area)
  • Angle grinder (great for virtually all purposes)
  • Oscillating tool (great for smaller cuts and detail work)
  • Power drill with hole saw attachment (great for cutting circular holes)

Once you’ve figured out the best saw for the job, you’ll need these supplies on hand as well:

Step I: Preparing the Area

Before you begin cutting, you’ll want to prep the area where you’ll be cutting. Place painter’s tape around the perimeter of the hole you’re going to be cutting.

Stucco is prone to chips and cracks, and taping off the perimeter will help minimize the chance that you damage the good stucco in the surrounding area as you work.

Step II: Getting the Shop Vac Ready

Cutting through any masonry material generates tons of dust. Stucco, in particular, generates so much dust, it can sometimes be difficult to see what you’re doing.

While you can skip this step and do this job on your own, having a helper and a shop vac can help to dramatically cut down on dust, making it easier to see your work as you go.

Even with the shop vac, you’ll still be dealing with lots of dust, so it’s important that you and your helper are both wearing respirators, so you aren’t breathing in any of the airborne dust particles as you cut.

Before you get started, make sure that the filter for your shop vac is nice and clean, otherwise, all the vacuum will do is pull the dust from your work area and spit it out the other side of the vacuum.

As you cut, have your helper follow a few inches behind the saw, pointing the nozzle towards the area that you’re cutting. This will help to eliminate the majority of the dust and make it much easier to see where you’re cutting.

Step III: Making the Cut

Now, you’re ready for the actual cutting portion of the job. Regardless of the saw, you’re using for the job; the process is fairly similar. Here’s what you’ll need to do depending on the type of saw you’re using.

Circular Saw

A circular saw is the preferred tool for most stucco cutting work. It doesn’t do well with small cuts and details, but if you’re going to be cutting a larger section, it’s perfect.

Before you begin cutting, make sure you’re wearing gloves and safety goggles to keep yourself safe.

Take your circular saw, push the blade guard back, and turn the saw on. Allow the saw to reach full RPM before starting your cut. Then, make your first plunge cut with the circular saw.

Working slowly and deliberately as you cut will help minimize the chance of chipping or cracking the good stucco, so take your time. Continue your cut until you’ve reached the edge of where you’ll be cutting, and repeat the process with the other sides until you’re left with a nice clean hole.

Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is a great tool for cutting stucco. It’s powerful enough for larger cuts, but it’s small and manageable enough to handle smaller cuts as well.

Turn your angle grinder on and allow it to reach full RPM before making your cut. Slowly plunge the blade into the surface. Continue to work slowly as you complete the entire perimeter of the cut.

Oscillating Tool

An oscillating tool is a solid option for smaller cuts and detail work. But, the blades do tend to clog as you work, so they may not be the best choice for larger jobs.

If you’re using an oscillating tool, turn the tool on and allow it to reach full RPM. Then, plunge the blade into the stucco slowly and deliberately. Cut around the entire perimeter until you’ve completed your hole.

Using a Hole Saw

A power drill with a hole saw bit is the best way to make circular holes in stucco, and it may be the best option for you depending on the job you’re working on.

First, load the bit into your drill and tighten it in place. Pull the trigger on the drill and get it up to full RPM before beginning your cut. To improve precision, I like to use my free hand to steady the body of the drill as I cut.

Slowly work your way through the material until you’ve cut through the entirety of the stucco, then pull back, revealing a perfectly circular hole.

Final Word

Learning how to cut stucco is an important lesson for any DIYer, and it’s bound to come in handy for you in the future. While cutting stucco may seem intimidating at first, there are several ways you can achieve great results while cutting stucco.

Regardless of the method you choose, always make sure to work slowly and deliberately to avoid damage.

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