An aluminum soffit is used on homes because of its durability and strength. Sometimes this desired durability and strength makes it difficult to cut. When cutting aluminum soffit, use double-cut metal shears instead of a circular saw. The saw will distort the cut and damage the soffit by bending it. Here are some detailed instructions explaining how to cut an aluminum soffit.
Step 1: Prepare the Aluminum Soffit
Set up the work table on a steady, level surface. A level surface will make creating a straight cut easier. Lay the aluminum soffit on the surface of the table with the flat side down so it doesn't roll away. Check your notes where you've written the length the soffit needs to be. Use the tape measure to find the location to mark the length of the desired cut. Create a clear mark of where the cut needs to be using black permanent marker.
Step 2: Square the Cut Mark
Align the long blade edge of the metal framing square with the length mark placed on the aluminum soffit in Step 1. The short blade edge should be placed along one side of the soffit. Drag the marker carefully along the long blade edge of the framing square to create a clear and straight cut mark.
Step 3: Cut the Aluminum Soffit
Position the double-cut sheet metal shears along the line you drew in Step 2. With the other hand, firmly hold the aluminum soffit in place. You may choose to clamp the soffit to the work table instead. Be careful when using a clamp because any shifting could cause the clamp to dig deeper into the aluminum and warp or dent the soffit. Tilt the hand of the double-cut shears towards the line you drew while carefully pulling the trigger of the shears. Push the shears along the marked black line at a steady, even pace. Use even pressure and even speed to reduce the severity of the jagged edges and burrs.
Step 4 - Get Rid of the Burrs
File burrs to reduce the chance of future injury from contact with them. You will have burrs no matter how carefully you cut the aluminum soffit, however the size of the burrs will be smaller and easier to remove if you cut carefully. Use the fine tooth rectangle file to remove the burrs by moving the file over the burr in a quick smooth motion away from your body. Repeat as many times as necessary while holding the soffit securely with your other hand. Flip the aluminum soffit over and go over the burrs with the file once again. Touch the freshly cut edge with your finger to make sure the edge is burr-free and smooth.