Disclaimer: Always consult with safety and roofing professionals before performing cuts or any dangerous task. Everything in this post is hypothetical and theoretical and should not be used as a how-to manual.
Whether you are a seasoned or new roofing contractor, it’s essential to know how to cut metal roofing. It’s vital for contractors because metal roofing is becoming a prevalent choice for commercial and residential properties.
You will need to keep up with the demand for metal roofing and know how to work with it effectively. Knowing the best practices for cutting metal roofs is always good, so your project goes as smoothly as possible.
In the following post, Roofer’s Guild will be going over some tips for cutting metal roofing materials.
Tools for Cutting Metal Roofs
Now that you know why so many people opt for metal roofs, it’s time to prepare yourself to install this increasingly popular roofing material. There are a few tools that you will want to keep handy if you plan on cutting metal roofing:
- Tin Snips: Tin snips are your basic metal cutting hand tools. They can work well if you are dealing with a particularly thin sheet of metal roofing or if you need to make small, detailed cuts.
- Circular Saw: Circular saws work well when you want to cut multiple sheets of the same length. You will want a circular saw around when you need to make long, straight cuts as well.
- Nibbler: A nibbler is used to cut through sheet metal. For roofing, it’s best to use a power nibbler so you can make rounded cuts when needed.
Measuring your Cuts
Before you start marking your metal roofing panels for cuts, be sure to lay the panels on a flat, stable surface like the ground or a workbench. Make sure the underside of the panels faces up. The underside will be flatter and, therefore, easier to mark.
Using a tape measure, mark the beginning and endpoint of the intended cut. A permanent marker works best for this. Make sure you mark the start and end points precisely to prevent any gaps between the panels.
Use a combination square to draw a straight line with a permanent marker between the start and end cut points.
Now that your cuts are measured and marked off, it’s time to start cutting. Wrong. You need special safety gear, especially if you’re planning on using a circular saw. Your safety gear should include:
- Goggles: Cutting metal with a circular saw creates metal fragments that can fly into your eyes.
- Dust Mask: A dust mask will prevent metal shards from making it into your mouth or sinuses.
- Gloves: Heavy-duty work gloves are ideal because cutting into metal roofing panels can create sharp, dangerous edges.
- Earplugs: Earplugs are only necessary if you plan to use a circular saw as the cutting will produce high-decibel noise.
Cutting with Tin Snips
Tin snips are best when making short, small, or detailed cuts. They work the same as scissors, so if your cut begins at the edge of the panel, there’s really not much to it – just be sure to follow the cut lines you made carefully.
However, if your cut needs to begin in the middle of the panel, you will need to drill a pilot hole. Using an electric drill with a ½ inch metal-cutting drill bit, bore a small hole at the starting point of your cut. Then, simply use your snips to get into the pilot hole and begin your cut.
Using a Circular Saw
When cutting metal roofing panels with a circular saw, it’s best to use a steel tooth or carbide tooth blade.
To begin cutting with a circular saw, line the blade up with your cut line very carefully. Keep one hand on the handle and the other on the saw guard at all times. Move the blade slowly along the cut line, keeping your hands steady as possible.
Why are People Choosing Metal Roofs?
Barns, silos, and commercial buildings were traditionally familiar metal roofing candidates. However, that isn’t the case anymore. Hundreds of thousands of homes in the US now feature metal roofs, and their popularity is only on the rise with homeowners. Take a look at the features of metal roofing that make it such an attractive choice for homeowners:
- Longevity: A properly installed metal roof will typically last between 40 and 70 years. Of course, specific materials, installation, and weather conditions will factor in how long any roof will last. By and large, though, metal roofs typically last longer than shingle roofing.
- Design: Metal roofing has come a long way over the last couple of decades. Metal roofing comes in different colors and can even mimic the look of natural roofing materials.
- Flame-Retardant: Metal roofs are safer because they are flame-retardant. They will not spark up and will prevent the spread of flames in case of a house fire.
- Impact and Wind Resistant: Metal roofing can withstand wind speeds of up to 140 miles per hour. They are also very impact-resistant, which is a huge plus if you live in an area prone to hail storms.
- Lightweight: Metal roofing panels are lighter and less expensive to install than natural stone roofing and even shingle roofing.