Best Way to Cut Tin Roofing


Tin roofing is lighter in weight and easier to cut than steel roofing materials. Care should be taken when installing this material as it can fold back on itself and cause a break in the tin. Typically tin roofing will have three small elevated ridges, one at each end and one in the middle. The outside ridges are used to seal the joint between each sheet. Tin snips and circular saws with special blades can be used to cut this type of roofing material.

Layout the Cut

  • A tape measure and black magic marker can be used to mark lines on the tin roofing. Straight across the sheet cuts can be identified using a carpenters square or a longer drywall T square. A mark is made on either side of the sheet and the square is used to draw a straight black line across the material. Longer angled cuts can be marked using a 2 by 4 with a straight side to the board. The two measurements are transferred to the tin sheet and a straight line is drawn between the marks using the long board as a guide.

Tin Snips

  • Tins snips now come in three different sides to the cut or three different snips are used depending on what type of cut is to be performed. There is a right hand snip, a left hand snip and a center cut snip. The right hand snip is used for cutting tin roofing in which the waste piece is to the right of the cut line. In other words when cutting tin with a pair of snips one part of the tin must go above the tin snip jaws and the other side of the cut must go below the jaws. It is the way that the cutters are made on the tin snips. A left hand tin snip would then have the piece to the left of the cut line raised above the jaws. The cutting jaws are also angled so the material is positioned in this way. The center cut tin snips are typically used for cutting small openings in the middle of a sheet and for removing small pieces involved in intricate cutting.

Circular Saws

  • Circular saws can be used to cut tin and metal roofing. Care must be exercised so the blade is adjusted to the proper depth of the cut. In most cases the tin is laid flat on a piece of old plywood. The blade is adjusted so it penetrates just slightly below the tin and into the top of the plywood. Carbide blades can be used for cutting metal roofing material. Special saw blades are also available for cutting specific roofing materials like tin and steel. Whenever using a circular saw for cutting roofing tin hearing and eye protection must be worn.

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  • Fundamentals of Carpentry Practical Construction; Walter E. Durbahn, Elmer W. Sundberg; American Technical Society Publishers; 1968
  • Roofing Tools
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