The Best Way to Cut Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a form of roofing that has become quiet popular around the world. The one main characteristic that makes metal roofing different from all other roofing materials is the fact that it must be cut and sized with metal cutting tools instead of a basic razor knife. There are many different tools and methods available for cutting metal roofing; however, you should pay attention to the sharp edges of the metal when cutting.

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Cutting with Snips

Use metal snips for cutting metal roofing. The snips resemble scissors and are color coded for their ability. Snips that cut in a left-handed direction are red, and snips that cut in a right-handed direction are green. The purpose of the directional snips is for cutting circles and angles in the aforementioned directions. You may also use straight cutting snips which are colored yellow; these snips are good for cutting long, straight cuts.


Nibblers, which are powered by electricity or air, can be used to cut almost any angle or direction in metal roofing. A nibbler is easier to use and they make cleaner cuts. To make a circular cut with nibblers, make your mark with a sharpie marker, drill a starter hole with a 3/8-inch metal cutting drill bit, and then make the cut with the nibbler. Always wear protective eyewear when using a nibbler because it will produce a lot of flying metal shavings.

Reciprocating Saw

Use a reciprocating saw and a metal cutting blade to cut long cuts in metal roofing. You will need to secure the metal on a piece of 3/4-inch plywood by clamping it to the plywood with wood clamps. Allow the marked cut to hang over the plywood, but not too much. The metal will flip-flop up and down with the direction of the blade if too much is left hanging over. Keep the reciprocating saw pushed up tightly against the metal. Place a piece of blue painters tape over the area being cut so that you don't scratch the metal.


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