6 Ways an Oscillating Tool Can Help You While Plumbing

Did you know you can use an oscillating tool for plumbing?oscillating multitool

This versatile tool is one of the most valuable additions you can include in your equipment arsenal. Today, it is quickly becoming a DIYer’s do it all device mostly due to the many interchangeable accessories it has – for polishing, grinding, scraping, cutting, and sanding. It also works well for most building materials, including fiberglass, plastic, mortar, cement, drywall, metal, and wood.

Although it is relatively new, this portable power tool is already winning over many DIYers, contractors, and woodworkers. However, what you probably don’t know is that you can also use in your day to day plumbing. Read on to find out more.

You may also like to read our article on Best Tool Belt for Carpenters.

What is an Oscillating Tool?

Otherwise referred to as an oscillating multi-tool, this is a compact and portable power tool that works with a variety of interchangeable accessories. It is useful for polishing, grinding, scraping, cutting, and sanding.

One of the benefits you get with an oscillating tool especially for plumbing is that it will work in places where you cannot use other tools – including awkward angles, tight corners, and narrow spaces. It is also available in both cordless battery powered and corded electric versions.

8 Things You Should Consider Before Buying an Oscillating Tool

While shopping for one, you should consider the following essential features to get the best oscillating tools

  • Buy an oscillating tool for plumbing with a long power cord; this will prevent snags, hang-ups, and the need to use it with an extension cord
  • Get a multi-tool kit and not just an individual tool; it will come with different accessories for grinding, sanding, slicing, and sawing
  • Get one with an LED work light to help you work in dark and shadowy areas
  • It should have an easy-grip body
  • The brushless electric motor should have at least 3 amps (18 or 20 volts for a cordless model)
  • The design should dampen vibrations
  • The no-tool blade change mechanism should accept accessories made by any manufacturer
  • The variable-speed motor should come with a top speed of a minimum of 20000 oscillations a minute

Top 6 Usefulness of the Oscillating Tool in Plumbing Projects

Owning an oscillating tool will make your plumbing work easier than if you didn’t have one. This is because this tool can do many different plumbing jobs easily, efficiently, and quickly.

Consider the following:

1. Cutting Cement Backerboard

Although there are many different ways you can cut cement backer board, none is quite as precise, clean, or quiet as when you use an oscillating tool for plumbing. This tool is lightweight and compact, so you should be able to easily make odd-shaped cutouts, square notches, and round holes.

Use the carbide-tipped plunge cut blade to cut through cement backer board. This accessory is also useful when you need to saw through plaster and drywall.

2. Cutting Plastic Pipe

With a handsaw or power miter saw, it should be easy for you to cut long lengths of ABS and PVC piping to length. However, if you have to trim plastic pipes during demolition, remodeling, and retrofit projects – such as under the sinks, deep inside trenches, and behind walls – you would be better off with the oscillating tool.

Most standard woodcutting blades are useful for slicing through plastic piping. However, they tend to cut with little effort and surprising speed. As such, you should consider using slower cutting speeds so you have more control over your oscillating tool.

3. Cutting Wood Framing

This tool is also effective for sawing through the wood – including roof and wall sheathing, OSB subfloors, plywood, ceiling and floor joists, roof rafters, and wall studs. Of course, this also applies to the wood framing used in your plumbing.

4. Removing Grout and Mortar

There are many specialty tools that are specifically designed to remove cracked, stained, and oil tile grout. However, few of them work as well or as fast as the oscillating tool for plumbing.

All you have to do is attach the carbide grit grout removal blade before using it to grind right through the grout from the joints in between the wall and floor tiles. The blade will oscillate back and forth and will not spin in the same way that a grinder would. As such, it won’t spew the dust from the grout into your room.

In the same way, you probably know that it used to be hard to remove hardened mortar some time back. This was until people discovered the oscillating tool. Today, all you have to do is attach the carbide grit rasp to your tool and get it to grind away at mortar. It even works for dried adhesives and cement.

The coarse rasp will pulverize the mortar and turn it into dust in a few seconds. Since this rasp comes in a triangular shape, it will fit perfectly even into the tightest of corners. It can even cut through stone and tile.

5. Sawing Metal Pipe

As long as you fit the appropriate blade to it, the oscillating tool will also prove useful for slicing through different types of metal piping – including copper, iron, and old galvanized steel pipes.

The tool is quite compact and you can even adjust the blade to different angles. This means that you should be able to work at awkward angles and tight spaces – including under floors, in ceilings, behind walls, and inside cabinets. The blade will also cut cleanly and with little vibration – quite unlike the reciprocating saw.

6. Scraping

Most of the high strength adhesives and mastics used to stick some plumbing parts down in place are difficult to scrape away after they have hardened. As a direct result, it is time-consuming and frustrating removing and replacing them.

Luckily, when you use the oscillating tool for plumbing, you should be able to take advantage of its high-speed oscillating action. All you need to do is attach steel scrapers to it and get down to work.

You can even use this tool to scrape away stubborn patches of gunk, joint compound, and dried construction adhesive. What is more, you don’t even have to spend hours on end trying to get it all out.


So, there you have it – your short guide to using an oscillating tool for plumbing. Most of these tools are quite affordable considering how versatile and dependable they are. Look for one today either online or at your local home improvement center. And enjoy the easy work it will make for your future plumbing and other DIY projects.

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2 thoughts on “6 Ways an Oscillating Tool Can Help You While Plumbing”

  1. That’s basic information but more useful to others. Before purchasing an oscillating tool, I think that this guide is needed to read.
    Love this post and thank you so much for sharing this!

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