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A 5-Minute Guide To Cutting Metal Roofing Panels Like a Pro

Posted on August 20, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 5 Min.

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Cutting Metal Roofing Panels

Cutting metal roofing sheets may sound daunting, but it’s not impossible for a seasoned DIYer.

Whether you’re diving into a new roofing project or just need some repairs, knowing how to cut metal roofing panels is your ticket to achieving professional-grade results. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the best techniques, essential tools, and safety precautions. 

The Basics Of Shaping Metal Roofing Panels

Why Proper Cutting Matters

When it comes to metal roofs, precision is paramount. Cutting your panels correctly ensures a snug fit, reduces the risk of leaks, and enhances your roof’s overall look. Plus, mastering this skill can save you on labor costs and give you the satisfaction of a job well done.

Before installing a metal roof, also read: Explore 5 Most Common Problems With Metal Roofs

Factors To Consider Before Cutting Metal Roofing Panels

Before diving in, there are a few factors to keep in mind:

Metal Thickness

Different metal roofing panels have varying thicknesses. Make sure you’ve got the right tools and techniques for the specific gauge you’re working with.

Safety Precautions

Always wear protective gear, including safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask to keep yourself safe from metal shards and debris.


Measure twice and cut once. Accurate measurements and careful marking are crucial for a perfect fit.

It is not recommended to install a metal roof over shingles. For more information, read:  5 Metal Roof Over Shingle Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

Cutting metal roof

Best Practices For Cutting Metal Roofing

To ensure professional results, remember these best practices:

Plan Ahead: Before making that first cut, plan your strategy carefully to minimize waste and make the most of your materials.

Use the Right Tools: Invest in high-quality tools designed for metal roofing panels. The right tools make the process smoother and give you cleaner cuts.

Take Your Time: Precision takes patience. Don’t rush, take your time to ensure accuracy and avoid costly mistakes.

Must-Have Tools For Cutting Metal Roofing Panels

1: Tin Snips – Your Handy Helper

Tin snips are like the Swiss army knife of metal roofing tools. They’re perfect for precise, controlled cutting, which makes them ideal for straight cuts and smaller projects. There are various types available, so choose the one that suits your needs and the gauge of your metal panels.

2: Circular Saw – Power and Efficiency

For bigger jobs, or when you’ve got multiple metal panels to cut, a circular saw is the perfect tool. Equipped with a metal-cutting blade, it’ll breeze through straight cuts. Just make sure you’ve got a blade that’s compatible with the metal to ensure clean, accurate lines.

3: Nibblers – Curves Made Easy

When you need to create curves or intricate shapes in your metal roofing panels, turn to nibblers. They’re perfect for rounded cuts and come in handy when you’re cutting holes for vents or pipes. Nibblers work by punching small, precise holes in the metal, allowing you to cut along the desired curves.

Tools for cutting metal roofing panels

Step-By-Step Guide To Cutting Metal Roofing Sheets

1: Preparing the Work Area

Before you dive into cutting, prep your workspace:

  • Clear The Area: Remove any debris or obstacles from your cutting area.
  • Secure the Panels: Make sure your metal roofing panels are on a stable, flat surface. Secure them with clamps or weights to prevent any unexpected movement during cutting.

2: Measuring and Marking

Accurate measurements and markings are crucial for a successful cut:

  • Measure the Roof: Use a tape measure to get the dimensions of the roof area that needs covering.
  • Transfer Measurements: Mark your metal panels carefully with a marker or chalk. Double-check those measurements to avoid costly mistakes.

3: Cutting Techniques

  • Using Tin Snips: If you’re using tin snips, hold them firmly and align the blades with your cutting line. Apply steady pressure and make long, smooth cuts. Don’t rush, accuracy is key.
  • Using a Circular Saw: If you’re using a circular saw, equip it with a metal-cutting blade. Align the blade with your cutting line and guide the saw carefully. Keep a steady hand, and take your time.
  • Using Nibblers: Nibblers are your go-to tool for curved sections. Start with a pilot hole at the edge of your desired cut. Then, insert the nibbler and follow your marked cutting line along the curves.

4: Finishing Touches

After cutting, check for sharp or jagged edges. Smooth them out with a metal file or sandpaper for safe handling during installation.

Safety Precautions When Cutting Metal Roofing Panels

Always prioritize your safety before starting a roofing project:

  • Protective Gear: Shield yourself with safety glasses, gloves, a face mask, and a hard hat.
  • Work Area Safety: Keep your workspace clean and organized to minimize accidents. Remove tripping hazards and ensure good lighting.
  • Tool Safety: Use tools as intended and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the blades sharp and well-maintained to prevent accidents.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cutting Metal Roofing Sheets

To ensure success, steer clear of these avoidable errors:

  • Using the Wrong Tools: The right tools matter. Using the wrong ones can lead to jagged cuts, damaged panels, and safety risks.
  • Skipping Measurements: Accurate measurements are a must. Getting them wrong or skipping them all altogether can mean wasted materials and ill-fitting panels.
  • Rushing the Cutting Process: Cutting roofing materials requires patience and precision. Rushing can result in uneven cuts and costly mistakes.

Moreover, Be sure to also work carefully around where the gutters will be installed. Gutters are essential and critical components of a roofing system. Any negligence in attention to detail can lead to costly repairs. Read our extensive blog post on Gutters On Metal Roof Problems

Expert Tips For Cutting Metal Roofing Panels

To ensure professional-grade work, consider these tips:

  • Practice On Scrap Pieces: Get comfortable with your tools and techniques by practicing on scrap metal before tackling your roofing project.
  • Take Breaks: Cutting metal can be physically demanding. Rest and recharge to stay focused.
  • Maintain Tools: Keep your tools in top shape for peak performance and ensure safety.

Seeking Professional Assistance

If you’re not confident in your metal-cutting skills or have a complex project, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Expert roofers can ensure a flawless installation.


You’ve now mastered the art of cutting metal roofing sheets. By following these techniques, using the right tools, and putting safety first, you can achieve professional-grade results and enjoy the benefits of a properly installed metal roof. Remember, take your time, measure accurately, and always prioritize safety. 

Are You Considering A Metal Roof For Your Home Or Office In Tulsa, OK?

If you want to install metal roofing panels on your home or office, it is best to consider a professional installation rather than taking on the project yourself. While cutting metal roofing panels may sound simple to many DIYers, it requires specific skills, accuracy, and plenty of time, which many homeowners lack. Cutting metal roof panels is best if done by skilled and experienced roofers. Without professional training, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of injury due to a lack of knowledge about safety measures. Consult the skilled team at A. Fricker Roofing and Waterproofing in Tulsa to install your metal roof. Contact us today at (918) 402-7167 to hire us for professional services. 


A. Regular scissors are not designed to cut through metal roofing panels. It’s best to use specialized cutting tools like tin snips or electric shears for the job.

A. The time it takes to cut metal roofing panels depends on various factors, including the size of the panels and the cutting method used. With practice, you can become more efficient and complete the cutting process quicker.

A. While a utility knife can be used for certain tasks, such as cutting through sealants or shingles, it is not recommended for cutting metal roofing panels. The blades are not designed to withstand the thickness and strength of metal.

Cutting Metal Roofing Panels