Fibro, or compressed fibre cement sheeting, has been a versatile and widely used building material for nearly 100 years.
Unfortunately, in those days, a key component of fibro was hazardous asbestos fibres. Although asbestos is banned in building products today, many home-owners, renovators and tradies are still dealing with its hazardous effects.
Modern fibro is a very different product. Today it's key components include cement, sand, water and cellulose fibre that's sourced from sustainably-grown plantation Pine.
Like any product containing sand and cement, the dust from cutting still poses health risks. These are not because of asbestosis but mainly from silicosis.
To avoid these risks, two things are essential. Firstly, you should always wear breathing protection when working with fibro and other compressed cement products. Secondly, you should cut it the right way.
If you are cutting sheeting such as Villaboard for lining a wet area, tile underlay sheets or boards for eave linings etc., then use a score-and-snap knife or a set of fibro cutters, or both depending on the job.
For thicker material, such as flooring sheets, decking or cladding, you can use a wet-saw fitted with a suitable blade. You can rent a bench-saw or a hand-held one.
If you suspect that you have any asbestos containing fibro in your home and it needs to be removed, disturbed, drilled or nailed into, then seek professional advice. Many productions belonging in the pre-80s era, including fibro, can contain asbestos. It's always best to err on the side of caution. - Adam_W
Score and snap knife and my trusty old fibro cutters
Use a score and snap knife in conjunction with a straight edge
Fibro cutters look old school but they are fast and easy to use
Wet saws are the only safe way to cut thicker materials