How to Cut Metal Roofing: The Ultimate Guide

Sep 28, 2023

Metal roofing is becoming an increasingly popular choice among homeowners and contractors due to its durability, longevity, and aesthetic appeal. If you are considering installing a metal roof, it is essential to understand the different types available and the tools required for the job.

Types of Metal Roofing

There are various types of metal roofing materials available, including steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc. Steel is the most commonly used material due to its affordability and strength. Aluminum is lightweight and resistant to corrosion, making it a popular choice for coastal areas. Copper and zinc offer a unique and attractive appearance but tend to be more expensive.

When selecting the type of metal roofing for your project, consider factors such as budget, climate, and desired aesthetics. Each material has its advantages and considerations, so it’s essential to weigh your options carefully.

Tools Required for the Job

Before starting your metal roofing installation, ensure you have the necessary tools on hand. The tools you’ll need include:

  • Measuring tape
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Tin snips or metal shears
  • Roofing hammer
  • Roofing nail gun
  • Chalk line
  • Seaming tools
  • Caulking gun

Having the right tools will make the installation process much smoother and ensure a professional-looking result.

Now that you understand the types of metal roofing available and have the necessary tools, it’s time to prepare for the installation. Make sure to clear the roof of any debris and inspect the surface for any damage or potential issues. Additionally, measure and mark the roof to guide your installation process.

Stay tuned for the next article in this series, where we will discuss how to cut the metal roofing and provide step-by-step instructions for a successful installation.

Tools Required for the Job

When it comes to installing metal roofing, having the right tools is essential for a successful job. Here are some of the tools you will need:

  1. Tape Measure: Accurate measurements are crucial for a precise installation, so make sure you have a high-quality tape measure.
  2. Chalk Line: A chalk line is used to mark straight lines and ensure proper alignment during the installation process.
  3. Safety Gear: Safety should always be a top priority. Make sure you have safety goggles, gloves, and a hard hat to protect yourself from potential hazards.
  4. Screw Gun: A screw gun is necessary for fastening the metal roofing panels securely to the roof structure. Make sure to use the appropriate screws for metal roofing.
  5. Snips: Snips are specialized cutting tools designed specifically for cutting metal. They come in various shapes and sizes, such as straight, left-cut, and right-cut snips.
  6. Roofing Nailer: A roofing nailer is a pneumatic tool used to secure metal roofing panels quickly and efficiently.
  7. Roofing Shears: Roofing shears are used to make straight cuts in the metal roofing panels. They are particularly useful for cutting smaller sections.
  8. Metal Seaming Tools: Metal seaming tools, such as a seaming pliers or a seaming iron, are necessary for creating watertight seams and connectors between the metal roofing panels.
  9. Ladder: Since metal roofing installation requires working at heights, a sturdy ladder is crucial for safe access to the roof.
  10. Roofing Adhesive: Roofing adhesive is used to ensure a secure bond between the metal roofing panels and the roof structure, especially in high wind areas.

Having these tools readily available before starting the metal roofing installation will save you time and ensure a smoother process. It is always recommended to invest in high-quality tools to achieve the best results and avoid any safety risks.


Before starting the installation process, it is important to properly prepare the area and gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Clean the roof: Remove any debris, dirt, or old roofing materials from the roof surface. This will ensure a clean and smooth surface for the metal roofing installation.
  2. Inspect the roof: Carefully inspect the roof for any signs of damage or leaks. Address any issues before proceeding with the metal roofing installation.
  3. Measure and plan: Measure the dimensions of your roof to determine the amount of metal roofing material you will need. Consider any additional features or accessories, such as vents or skylights, when calculating the quantities.
  4. Order materials: Once you have determined the required amount of metal roofing, place an order with a reputable supplier. Ensure that the materials are of high quality and suitable for your specific needs.
  5. Gather tools: Make sure you have all the necessary tools for the job, such as a drill, screw gun, metal snips, tape measure, chalk line, safety equipment, and a ladder or scaffolding. Having the right tools will make the installation process much easier.
  6. Protect the surrounding area: If there are any plants, windows, or other delicate items near the roof, cover them with protective sheets or tarps to prevent any damage during the installation process.
  7. Prepare yourself: Wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, safety glasses, and sturdy footwear. Metal roofing can be sharp, so it is important to protect yourself while working.

By taking the time to properly prepare the area and gather all the necessary tools and materials, you will set yourself up for a successful metal roofing installation. This preparation will help ensure the durability and longevity of your new roof.

Cutting the Metal Roofing

When it comes to cutting metal roofing, it is important to have the right tools and take the necessary precautions to ensure a clean and accurate cut. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Measure and mark: Before cutting the metal roofing, measure the desired length and mark it using a measuring tape and a permanent marker. Double-check your measurements to ensure accuracy.
  2. Choose the right tool: There are several tools available for cutting metal roofing, including tin snips, electric shears, and circular saws with metal cutting blades. Choose the tool that best suits your needs and experience level.
  3. Prepare the tool: If you are using tin snips or electric shears, ensure they are sharp and in good working condition. If you are using a circular saw, make sure to install a metal cutting blade.
  4. Make the cut: Start cutting from the marked line, following a steady and controlled motion. If you are using tin snips, use the appropriate one for straight cuts or curved cuts, depending on your needs. For electric shears, simply guide the tool along the marked line. If using a circular saw, be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves and make sure the metal roofing is securely clamped down before making the cut.
  5. Smooth the edges: After making the cut, use a metal file or sandpaper to smooth any sharp edges left on the metal roofing. This will help prevent injuries and make for a more finished appearance.

Remember to always prioritize safety when cutting metal roofing. Wear protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles, to avoid any accidents. Take your time and make sure you are cutting in a stable and controlled manner to achieve the desired results.

By following these steps and using the right tools, you can easily cut metal roofing to fit your project’s needs. Take your time, measure accurately, and prioritize safety to ensure a successful and professional-looking installation.

Seaming the Metal Roofing

Once the metal roofing panels are cut and ready to be installed, the next step is seaming them together. Seaming is the process of joining the panels to create a watertight seal and ensure the structural integrity of the roof.

There are two common methods for seaming metal roofing: mechanical seaming and soldering.

Mechanical Seaming

Mechanical seaming involves using specialized tools to fold and interlock the edges of the metal roofing panels. This method is often preferred for its ease of installation and durability.

To perform mechanical seaming, you will need a seaming tool, which typically consists of a roller and a handle. The roller is used to fold the edges of the panels, while the handle provides leverage and control.

Start by positioning the seaming tool at the edge of the first panel, ensuring that it is aligned properly. Apply pressure and slowly roll the tool along the edge, gradually folding and interlocking the metal. Repeat this process for each panel, making sure to maintain consistent pressure and alignment.


Soldering is another method for seaming metal roofing panels together. It involves using a soldering iron and solder to create a permanent bond between the edges of the panels.

Before soldering, clean the edges of the panels using a wire brush to remove any dirt or debris. Then, apply a flux to the edges to promote adhesion. Heat the soldering iron and touch it to the fluxed area, allowing the solder to melt and create a bond between the panels.

It’s important to note that soldering requires a higher level of skill and expertise compared to mechanical seaming. If you’re not confident in your soldering abilities, it’s recommended to consult a professional.

Sealing and Waterproofing

After seaming the metal roofing panels, it’s essential to seal and waterproof the roof to prevent any leaks or damage. This can be done using a sealant specifically designed for metal roofing.

Apply the sealant to the seams and any other areas where water could potentially penetrate. Use a caulk gun for precise application and ensure that the sealant fully covers the seams.

Additionally, check for any gaps or holes in the roof and fill them with the sealant as well. It’s important to thoroughly inspect the entire roof to ensure it is properly sealed and protected.

By following these seaming and sealing steps, you can ensure that your metal roofing is securely installed and ready to withstand the elements.

Finishing Touches

Once you have installed and seamed your metal roofing, there are a few finishing touches you can add to ensure a professional and polished look.

1. Trim the Edges: To give your metal roofing a clean and neat appearance, trim the edges using metal snips or a circular saw with a metal-cutting blade. Trim any excess metal to ensure a precise fit and a smooth finish.

2. Seal the Joints: To prevent any water leakage, it is essential to seal the joints of your metal roofing. Use a high-quality sealant that is designed specifically for metal roofs. Apply the sealant along the seams and edges of the roofing panels to create a watertight barrier.

3. Install Flashing: Flashing is an important component of any roofing system, including metal roofs. It helps to redirect water away from vulnerable areas, such as chimneys, vents, and skylights. Install flashing around these areas to provide extra protection against leaks.

4. Apply a Protective Coating: Metal roofing can benefit from a protective coating that helps to extend its lifespan and maintain its appearance. There are various coatings available, including acrylic, epoxy, and polyurethane coatings. Choose a coating that is suitable for your specific metal roofing material and climate conditions.

5. Clean and Inspect Regularly: To ensure the longevity of your metal roofing, it is important to clean and inspect it regularly. Remove any debris, leaves, or branches that may accumulate on the roof. Inspect for any signs of damage, such as loose or missing screws, dents, or scratches, and make any necessary repairs.

By following these finishing touches, you can enhance the overall look and performance of your metal roofing. Taking the time to complete these final steps will ensure a long-lasting and durable roof that will protect your home or building for years to come.

7. Professional or DIY?

Deciding whether to hire a professional or tackle the metal roofing installation yourself depends on several factors. Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision:


One of the main factors to consider is your budget. Hiring a professional roofing contractor can be costly, especially if you have a large roof to cover. DIY installation can help you save money, as you won’t have to pay for labor costs. However, keep in mind that you may need to invest in specialized tools and equipment, which can add to your expenses.

Skill Level

Installing metal roofing requires a certain level of skill and experience. If you have previous roofing experience and feel confident in your abilities, DIY installation may be a viable option for you. However, if you’re a beginner or lack the necessary skills, it’s best to hire a professional to ensure a proper installation and avoid costly mistakes.

Time and Availability

Installing a metal roof can be a time-consuming task, especially if you’re doing it alone. Consider how much time you can dedicate to the project and whether you have the availability to complete it within a reasonable timeframe. Hiring a professional will save you time and effort, as they have the expertise and resources to complete the job efficiently.

Warranty and Insurance

Professional roofing contractors often provide warranties on their workmanship and the materials used. This can give you peace of mind knowing that any potential issues will be covered. Additionally, professionals are usually insured, protecting you from liability in case of accidents or damages during installation.

Complexity of the Project

If your metal roofing installation involves complex features such as dormers or multiple roof angles, it may be best to hire a professional. They have the knowledge and experience to handle intricate installations and ensure a seamless finish.

In conclusion, deciding whether to hire a professional or take on a metal roofing installation as a DIY project depends on your budget, skill level, time availability, and the complexity of the project. Assess these factors carefully to make the best decision for your specific situation.


Installing a metal roofing can be a great investment for your home. It offers durability, longevity, and a sleek aesthetic. However, before diving into a DIY metal roofing project, it is important to consider the complexity of the job and your own skill level. While it is possible to install a metal roof on your own, it requires specialized tools, knowledge, and expertise. Therefore, it may be wise to hire a professional metal roofing contractor to ensure a seamless installation.

When choosing a professional metal roofing contractor, it is essential to consider their experience, reputation, and pricing. Take the time to research different contractors, read reviews, and compare prices. Requesting multiple quotes can help you find the best deal and ensure that you are not overpaying for the installation.

On the other hand, if you have the necessary tools, experience, and confidence to tackle the project yourself, installing a metal roof can be a rewarding and cost-effective option. Just make sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines throughout the process.

Remember, cutting metal roofing requires precision and accuracy. Measure twice, cut once. Take your time to ensure clean and accurate cuts. Additionally, be mindful of safety precautions and wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and safety goggles.

Whether you decide to hire a professional or take the DIY route, it is crucial to prioritize safety and quality. A properly installed metal roof can offer years of protection and enhance the overall value of your home.

So, weigh your options, consider your budget, and make an informed decision. With the right approach and attention to detail, you can enjoy the benefits of a beautiful and durable metal roof for many years to come. Contact Big G Roofing for roof installation, maintenance or replacement.

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