A Beginner’s Guide On How To Cut Metal Roofing

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By George Taylor

Updated: Jan 25, 2024

8 min read

How To Cut Metal Roofing

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    Metal roofs aren’t only easy to maintain but also elegant and a popular choice among homeowners due to their multiple benefits in the long run, such as being sturdy, stylish, customizable, etc.

    These roofs are highly customizable when it comes to their shapes, but one wrong step can turn it out horrible, which is why it is important to have proper knowledge about cutting the metal roof if you believe in DIY ING.

    There are numerous factors that should be considered while cutting a metal roof, such as suitable materials, safety precautions, and much more, to make sure you perform the job correctly and safely.

    Important Safety Precautions

    While doing a big-scale DIY home project, the most important factor is to ensure your safety, especially when it involves cutting and dealing with sharp tools. Here are some safety instructions you must follow while cutting a metal roof:

    Do Not Forget The Protective Gear

    • Gloves – Securing your hands is important; a high-quality glove can save you from minor cuts or scratches and heat the metal cutter produces. Besides providing safety, it also manages to offer a decent grip. Go for a thick leather glove for optimum satisfaction.
    • Eye protection – Wear appropriate eye protective gear to protect your eyes from dirt, flying insects, and other harmful particles, avoiding minor or major injuries while working with dangerous tools.
    • Footwear – Go for shoes with rubber soles or hiking boots; these shoes can protect your feet from heat and friction during cutting.
    • Earmuffs – Cutting tools producing loud noises is not a new thing. It’s better to protect your ears to avoid hearing loss or headaches.

    Tool Safety

    Tool Safety for Cutting Metal Roofs

    You can get seriously injured if you move carelessly around tools used for cutting metal roofings, making it vital to be attentive and ensure your safety.

    • The easiest way to be safe around such tools is to follow the user instruction manual.

    Safe And Secure Workspace

    • A proper workspace is very important to ensure that you work in a safe and secure environment without any disturbance and potential hazards. Avoid cutting metal roofing on an open roof, near a vent, or any place that can get harmed by the fumes.
    • Another thing to remember is that you work in a relatively open area, so there is no potential fire hazard nearby, and you can work safely.

    Also read How to Install Metal Roofing Over Shingles?

    Materials & Tools Required for Cutting Metal Roofing

    Consider your work done smoothly with the right tools and materials to perform a task. Here is a list of materials and tools required to cut a metal roofing.

    • Jigsaw : A jigsaw will be great for cutting metal sheets as that is one of its primary purposes. However, you will have to practice a lot to master cutting metal sheets with this one, which requires skill and precision.
    • Electric Nibbler/Shears : An electric nibbler with metal blades will be great for adding finishing touches to the cut roof or for cutting the round corners or curves on the roof sheet. Nibblers allow you to cut with precision without much hard work, making them an excellent tool for beginners trying to get the hang of the process.
    • Angle Grinder : An angle grinder with a metal-cutting disc attached is one of the best tools for cutting a metal roof. You can easily make straight cuts with it on thin and thick metal roof sheets, making it great for beginners. This is an excellent alternative to a circular saw for beginners as it is easier to handle and operate than the former.
    • Power Drill : This is a very important tool, mainly used during the installation of the sheet, but it also plays an important role in cutting. You can use this drill while securing the sheet to a surface and for many more purposes.

    Preparation & Cutting Techniques of Metal Roofing

    Without proper guidance on how to cut metal roofing, it can be a dangerous task and become a safety hazard at any point in time. Hence, you must follow the instructions mentioned below for the preparation and cutting of metal roofing:

    Preparing the Metal Roof

    • Measurement and Marking : Take proper measurements of the area you have to cut from the panel and ensure that you do it precisely to avoid any mistakes in the dimensions. Make sure to use sturdy tape and long-lasting markers to mark the points to get them right while cutting and installing.
    • Securing the Roofing : Place the metal sheet on a flat surface to ensure the cutting is done precisely. You can secure the metal sheet on the surface with the help of weights or clamps to prevent it from moving around when you cut it.

    Accounting for Curves and Corners

    Use the right tool for a precise and clean cutting of the metal roofing sheet. You must pay attention to the edges and curves and use suitable equipment to cut different parts of the metal sheet.

    Speed Of The Blade

    Too fast or too slow can affect the process of cutting the metal sheet. Hence, you will have to determine beforehand what kind of sheet you are cutting and the right speed of the blade to cut it.

    Cutting Techniques

    For different cutting techniques and types, there is additional equipment you must go for; your hard work will only be worthwhile if the chosen equipment is suitable for your cutting type.

    • Straight Cuts : Keeping your hand steady is the key to performing straight cuts. Also, check the pressure on the metal sheet you apply to avoid mishaps.
    • Curved Cuts : If you need to cut edges or curves, it is important to go slow and steady to have that smooth, curved finish. Also, do not try to cut every part in one go—place minor multiple cuts. Take your time and precisely follow each curve and edge to get that perfect cut every time.

    Maintenance Tips For A Durable Metal Roof

    Proper maintenance and upkeep are very important to ensure that the life of your metal roof is prolonged and help it stay in good condition throughout that time. Here are some maintenance tips for a durable metal roof:

    • Regular Inspection :  Keep inspecting your roof often to make sure there aren’t any damages; if found in an early stage, it would be easier to deal with the damage. Doing this will save you a lot of time and effort.
    • Cleaning The Roof With The Right Technique : Use a mild cleaner to clean the roof instead of pressure washing it. Extreme water pressure can accelerate the minor damage you may have missed by chance.
    • Proper Installation : Make sure to check the damages while installing. Initial damages can accelerate with time.
    • Trimming Heavy Overhead Branches : Heavy branches hanging over the roof can cause severe damage to it over time. Make sure to get rid of such heavy branches to avoid potential damage in the future.
    • Professional Inspection : get your roof professionally inspected from time to time, as you can miss a sign of damage, but a professional won’t.
    • Protective Coating : Give your metal roof a protective coating to protect it from water and weather damage. This will ensure a long life for your roof.

    Here is the Roof Maintenance Guide For A Long-Lasting Roof 

    The Final Takeaway

    Cutting a metal roof on your own is for sure a tiring and dangerous task if you don’t follow the safety precautions. It needs a lot of concentration and awareness to avoid any potential damage caused by cutters or sharp objects. Make sure to read all the safety instructions along with the tips and tricks to protect yourself and complete your task safely.


    Can You Cut Metal Roofing With an Angle Grinder?

    You can use an angle grinder to cut thick metal roofing sheets. However, you must be careful while using it on a thin metal roofing sheet to ensure that you work with precision and safety.

    What is the Best Tool to Cut Sheet Metal Straight?

    Using metal snips to cut a metal sheet in a straight line is the easiest and best way to do it. These snips look a lot like scissors.

    How Does a Nibbler Work?

    Nibblers operate by exerting pressure with just one blade, typically upward. A narrow channel is formed by the rails on either side of the blade. A little metal is removed when the blade pushes the material through the channel.

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