What is the best way to cut cement board and do you need to pre drill it before screwing it down?
I've had to cut this stuff on more than one occasion and there are a couple ways to do it. The easy way I found is with a masonry blade in your circular saw. What is that, you don't have a circular saw? No problem, just score the board where you want to break it and snap. I would use a razor knife to score it so you can cut the fiber reinforcement. You can only break this in straight lines, otherwise you will need a reciprocating saw with a masonry blade.
As far as screwing the board down, you do not need to pre-drill it. I would recommend using masonry screws or Hardibacker screws. I hope your project is a success and let us see your pictures when the project is complete.
It looks like you've already got some great advice. So I just wanted to add to it by giving you a How to link. If you're like me a few pictures are worth a thousand words. I hope it helps out. Let us know if you have any other question with your tile project or any other project. If you get a chance post some pictures to show us what a great job you did. Thanks
This is Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man ;
While you have two great replies already, I would just like to add that we now have at The Home Depot a new blade by Diablo designed specifically for hardibaker and cement board. Called the Hardieblade .
It's a 7 1/4" blade and will fit a regular circular saw. Diablo states it will outlast 60 conventional carbide blades!
I hope your project is coming along well!