How To Cut Metal Roofing – A Beginners Guide

The use of metal roofing, specifically corrugated iron roof panel, it is highly known for its durability, quality and of course a nice touch. It is used in many homes, offices and building constructions, though despite all the good things it has to offer, metal roofing is quite difficult because it is light and indestructible, cutting it requires more focus, mastery, and accuracy.

It may sound problematic and difficult for you but believe me, once you learn the basics and get the hang of things it would be just a piece of cake.

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Before learning how to cut metal roofing, you need to make sure that you have some necessary things that are listed below:

  • Away from any hazards and most especially away from kids and pets.
  • Make sure that you have a tough, stable and safe working place and surface.
  • Always have a marker
  • A measuring tape
  • A combination square (for measuring)
  • A good power shear
  • Corrugated metal roof panels

Best Way to Cut Metal Roof


No matter which tools you use, planning is always the best way to cut metal roofing.

Now, when you have what you need. It is the time that you should be aware that all the materials for roofing should be handled with care. Because the roof is flexible and can fold back on itself easily, so always be careful when handling it. It can damage the panel.

Most metal roof panels have a certain coating. The galvanized zinc that runs around the whole panel, it is fragile that if you scratch an area, the opening will be prone to rust.

Hence, it would be better if you follow the step-by-step method in cutting.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Step 1 - Setting-up The Work

Lay the corrugated roof sheet on a flat, sturdy surface that is clutter free and away from kids or pets. The reason for this is to avoid accidents and also it keeps the metal from sliding anywhere.

Step 2 - Measuring

Next, is to measure the length and width of how much you need to use on the metal roof using a tape measure.

After which use the combination square to for accurate measurements, make sure that the vertical line of the roof is aligned to your eaves. This is the most basic and most important part of cutting because once the panel becomes misaligned the rest of the panels will become misaligned as well.

Tools for cutting corrugated metal roofing

Measuring roof with a tape measure

Step 3 - Ready, Set, and Mark

Then use the marker to create a line or mark the spot in which you will cut it.

Make sure that you have the right measurements as well as marking the spots right or else it would just ruin the whole roof.

Draw on both sides of your metal roofing before cutting. Make sure that you can make only the right cuts you need in the first time
measure metal roofing

measure metal roof with a combination square

Step 4 - The Power Tools

Prepare the cutting tools such as power shears. If you want to cut around round objects such as vent pipes; a nibbler is the best way to finish your project.

Bear in mind that the metal roof sheet is coated with galvanizing zinc. A tiny scratch on its surface will turn the metal into rust and weaken your material.

That is why it is important to stay focused and be very careful when cutting. A little mistake will ruin and leave permanent damage to your sheeting.

cutting corrugated metal with tin snip

Cutting roof with a tin snip cutter

Step 5 - The Cutting Methods

Slowly guide the tool steadily and gradually pushing it down the panel. It may be easier than you think, but sometimes your power shears will come to a stop, when this happens make sure not to use force and push the tool further toward the panel, instead move to a slightly different angle and cautiously move the tool forward slightly pushing it down to cut through.

You must be very patient when cutting roof panels; you can’t rush it, or else the whole panel will be regretfully ruined. If you are patient enough, you will be able to have a metal roof that is flawlessly cut through.

Step 6 - The Installation

The last and final step. Once you have cut through the metal roof, you might want to install the roof into a house or shed. You have to make sure that you have the right measurements, and perfect angles to avoid crooked panels.

Now, place a screw inside the fastening strip and make sure that it is steady before installing the permanent screws on the roof surface. Leave space in between each respective fastener on the metal roof. The measurements should be around 12 inches, and it must be tightly screwed, but not too tight or it may give unwanted tension. Once you have done this. You are ready to install the visible fasteners together with the center of the pan, and you also have to make sure that all the fastener passes through the sealed tape underneath, making a tight seal.

Next, you have to connect the three fasteners, one on each respective side and the third one on the middle part. Repeat each step until the roof is thoroughly concealed.

Other Tools


Power shear is not the only way to cut metal roofing. You can choose a few other options to do your work as a circular saw, angle grinder, or tin snips.

Tin Snips

Tin snips the simplest way to cut the metal roof because they’re designed for cutting soft metals. If you have a small roofing project or only need a few cuts, you should use the tin snip.

You choose what type of tin snips to use depend on the cut you need to make:

  • If you want to cut a curve that runs counterclockwise, right-handed tin snips are needed.
  • Or if you’re cutting a curve that runs clockwise, you will need the left-handed tin snips.
  • Which one should you need when making straight cuts and intricate cuts or cutting openings in the middle of a sheet? Use the center or straight cut tin snips.
Never attempt to cut a sharp curve with straight snips.

Circular Saw

You can use a circular saw to cut tin roofing, but it is not the best method for cutting metal sheet. If you did not have experience in working with metal roofing, you should stay away from using it.

You must use only a specialty blade designed for cutting sheet metal.

There are two types: Inexpensive steel-tooth blades and carbide-tooth blades. Carbide-tooth blades are more expensive than steel-tooth blades but will last longer.

Follow the same steps above, substituting your circular saw for power shears.

Caution:

  • Cut only one sheet at a time.
  • Do not force the blade through the metal roofing.
  • Wipe the cut sheets immediately after cutting.
  • Be careful! Hot metal chips will fly everywhere
Use the spray paint or primer to treat the cut end, because it will rust. Several manufacturers cut to order, so contact them if you needed.

Angle Grinder

You can use an angle grinder to cut through metal roofing. But it also requires the experience in using an angle grinder.

The steps are the same as the power shears, but it usually leaves a bit of a messy burr on the cut edge.

You can sand the edges if you want a smooth finish.

Safety Tips


  • Heavy leather gloves will protect your hands from sharp edges of the metal roofing.
  • Always wear safety goggles and ear protection when using power cutting tools.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants.
  • Cut only one sheet of the metal roofing at a time.

Conclusion


Cutting metal roof may sound fun, but extreme focus and patience are required here, not to mention the risks of ruining the panels as well voiding the warranty making the job a bit too risky. But once you have flawlessly finished the job the overwhelming content and achievement is irreplaceable.

Keep in mind that being concern about scratching the metal coat is a priority but also your safety. That is why most people prefer to hire professionals to do the job, but it does not mean you can’t.

It may take some time and a lot of practice to create a perfectly cut metal roof but achieving and perfecting it is priceless. 

Also, before there are some things you should consider when purchasing a metal roof, since metal is a very broad word, and metal roofs come in different types of materials from low to high quality.

  • Steel – this material is a lot heavier but more stable compared to aluminum.
  • Aluminum- very light material and is commonly used in more residential areas. It does not rust, but you have to paint it.
  • Alloy- a high-end quality that is known for its durability, expensiveness and nice material.
  • Stainless- the most expensive of all metal roofing but it won’t corrode or rust over time.

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