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Need advice cutting 10" speaker holes

7199 Views 18 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  gregzoll
Hi everyone

I'm not experienced with drywall. I've done some square hole cutting in vertical walls for boxes, but never done circle holes in ceilings. I'm an engineer with good experience with wood and metal, but again not much drywall.

So I have about about 28 10" diameter holes to cut into my 5/8" drywall already hung ceilings. The spots have been marked with something called EZ plugs (I may not have the name right).

After doing some tool searches I find many don't do a diameter this large and some that do seem to only work if you have access to both sides. I only have access to the outside face.

I need a recommendation on what tool to buy and how best to use it. If possible I'd like to minimize the dust during cutting.

I've seen people recommend to use scoring type tools, follow it with a utility knife to get a deeper cut, score an big X in the middle, and punch it through.

Thanks in advance.
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The speakers should come with a template. You just need to get the hole big enough for the speaker to fit into, and then the grill will cover it. If you are good with a drywall saw, or even a rotozip, it can be done.
I agree with a jab saw.If you have never used a router (rotozip) you can make swiss cheese out of the drywall it takes a little practice to use one.
Even a Jig will work.
If you want to cut down on the dust better have some standing next to with a shop vac with a drywall bag over the filter.
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Just get a cheap drywall/jab saw (for example: Since you say you've cut rectangular openigns for wall boxes, maybe you have one already.

Since the speaker baffle is going to be your clean edge, you don't need to cut a perfect hole. Take your template and put in on the ceiling, trace it or stick it up there (depending on the way it is designed) and then use the drywall saw to cut the hole. You can get started by jabbing the saw through the drywall, or you could use a spade bit to drill a starting hole (make sure you drill inside the drywall circle to be removed). Since you don't need a perfect circle and since the saw blade isn't too thick, you will be able to cut a circle with this blade if you twist the blade while cutting.

Scoring and then punching out the middle sounds a bit risky - if you mess up then you have a brand-new ceiling that you've just made a mess of. Just use the hand saw and take it slow. I've done this for 6-inch speakers and it was easy (the "hard" part is awkwardly working over your head). 10-inch will be that much easier since the curve isn't as tight.

28 speakers is a lot - doing a whole-home audio system?
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For cutting 28 holes 10" dia. I'd be reaching for my Saber saw with the circle cutting attachment. That would right after I located all electric wires in the area. And there might even be a little duct tape involved with that shop vac hose.
And be sure to check that you aren't cutting your hole center of a ceiling joist it isn't fun trying to patch a ceiling and make it look right.
you also can get one of these

They don't score the paper on the backside (topside), which can result in problems when you punch it out. Though, you can use it to mark your circle, before finishing the cut with your drywall saw.
Just to make sure that there is nothing above that will cause you trouble---take a length of stiff wire--bend it into an L shape (Half the length of the hole 5"?)

Poke a hole in the center of your proposed location---insert the bent end into the pilot hole---

Rotate the wire and slowly raise it,while spinning the wire---if you are to close to a joist or other obstruction--you will hit it---
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Hopefully the OP has selected loudspeaker locations that are clear of ceiling joists. If not, that speaks to an entirely separate issue...
Wow, lots of replies. Thanks guys.

A few points...

I know the area above all these cutout areas are clear. The EZ plugs were installed by a professional and I took pictures of everything before the drywall went up. However I'm a little concerned these plugs could get in my way if a sawing blade has to cut them too. Enclosed is a picture of one. The round hole is the center point.

I do have a very nice drywall hand saw/knife (not correct term). It worked very well on my square holes. I just assumed there were some reasonably priced tools on the market that make the job easier and faster. It seems like the type of tools recommended by Epson work best on the paper side, not the side facing me. Correct?

Good advice on the drywall bag for my shop vac. I did not know such a thing existed.


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Do not understand the fancy gizmo. Seems like 28 of those would make an awful wavy ceiling. And if your circle goes that close to the can light there won't be room for the beauty rings. Maybe I'm not looking at it right.
You are seeing it the same that I am. Total pooch screw on this, with poor planning of the location of speakers & lighting. As for the saw or rotozip, that plastic is going to be nothing to either one.
EZ plugs? seems a waste of money,time, and work! those holes should've been cut while hanging. at least marked measure both ways finding center and mark, where marks crossed place a thumb tack, easy to go back and find. use drywall circle cutter, remove tack, push cutter pin in tack hole turn cutter pushing wheel deep into paper, cut with drywall saw. you're not going to cut 28 of those with little dust. the professional already found center? now you have to do same thing 28 times again. after having paid professional? the shop vac, is great idea!

good luck
You are seeing it the same that I am. Total pooch screw on this, with poor planning of the location of speakers & lighting.
Could you elaborate please? What is the problem? There are no clearance issues, I've checked it.

This new home construction came with limitations. I was forced to use their installers, but they would not install anything I did not buy from them. Their speakers sucked and i wanted better. This was all they would do for me. Not great I know. And 28 is 14 stereo pairs across the entire house.

So I guess there is not a good circle cutting tool for my application or someone would have recommended it by now. Just rotozip or drywall hand saw?
Roto zip works well, and will likely cut through those plastic things (hopefully without too much other dammage when you get around to the second plastic cut and it is free moving). Practice first on scrap. For dust, I cut a basket ball in half and attached it to the rotozip (open concave side up) - it catches a lot of the dust.

2 observations: Careful you don't cut the blue wire in the picture, and the cut seems close to the light - won't the two obstruct eachother when finish caps are put on?

Good luck!!
Yes they will Crackers. The speakers should have been located after the lighting cans were located by the electrician. There is no way that this will look good, or look professionally done, once finished.

If I was the OP, I would actually locate the speakers farther away from the lights, depending on how much wire they have up there for them.
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