How to Cut Rolled Roofing

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Things You'll Need

  • 1/2-inch plywood

  • Tape measure

  • Hook-blade utility knife

Rolled roofing is a felt membrane covered with an asphalt coating similar to standard shingles.

Asphalt roofing creates a protective barrier on the roof of your house. Rolled asphalt roofing comes in 36-inch wide sheets that you can use for roof flashing or as a roof covering. To make the pieces of rolled roofing easier to handle, you need to cut the roofing into manageable sizes, perhaps 12 to 18 feet. Before you attempt to cut the roll of asphalt roofing, you must ensure that the material can be unrolled without damaging the tar binding the asphalt to the felt paper.


Step 1

Place the 1/2-inch plywood flat on the ground.

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Step 2

Unroll the rolled roofing, pulling the roofing over the 1/2-inch plywood as you go. If the air temperature is below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to bring the rolled roofing into a warm area. Handling the rolled roofing while the roll is cold could produce a crack in the asphalt coating, resulting in a roof leak after installation.

Step 3

Stretch the tape measure along the section of asphalt roofing you pulled from the roll and use your hook-blade utility knife to place a small notch on one edge of the rolled roofing at a length you feel will be manageable as you move the piece to the roof.

Step 4

Align the blade of the utility knife with the notch you placed on the edge of the rolled roofing, roll the piece of roofing toward the utility knife and then pull the utility knife across the width of the rolled roofing with the handle of the knife resting against the side of the roll for a straight cut.


Step 5

Roll up the cut length of rolled roofing to protect it from damage and repeat the previous steps for each length of material you need to cut.


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