How to Cut Steel Roofing Safely

Stack of colorful steel roofing
  • 1-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20-200
What You'll Need
Eye protection
Ear plugs
Tape Measure
Straight edge
Permanent marker
Tin Snips
Metal Shears
Power nibbler

When cutting steel roofing, it is important to know these materials come in rectangular panels at different sizes. The raw shape and size of the steel will most likely not fit onto your roof, so you will need to cut these panels to fit your dimensions. The process can be dangerous if you are not equipped with the correct set of tools and safety supplies.

Step 1 - Mark and Measure

Wear gloves as you place the steel on the workbench to start the marking of the material. Remove any nails or objects that may be on the bench to make correct alignment. Measure the length of the panel with a tape measure, and add a mark on both edges on both sides of the panel. Use your straightedge to make your line following your guide marks you just made on both sides.

Step 2 - Cutting and Safety

blue metal roofing

Before you begin to cut the steel you should be wearing your gloves and your eye protection to protect you from sharp edges from cuts of the steel and debris that might come towards you when cutting the material. If you have a large piece of steel panel you will need to use the workbench and slide the panel over the side with one hand on the steel and the other with the pair of tools you will be using. Make sure you have a firm grip on the steel so it does not hit you or cut yourself and use the tin snips or metal shears and begin cutting down the line carefully.

Be sure to cut with the lower jaw of the snips facing towards the material you will not be installing on to the roof. You do this so the panel does not bend and distort to make hazardous steel fly towards you or leave sharpened edges on the panel.

Step 3 - Alternative Tools for Cutting

You can also use a circular saw blade with an abrasive blade to cut the steel. Make sure you are wearing your goggles, ear muffs, and gloves when using this power tool since the sparks of the metal can fly out and the sound of the saw can be loud in which case you will need ear plugs. Wear your gloves when you place the steel on the sawhorse like before and begin to line up the blade with the chalk or marker line you made before. Make sure not to rush through the cut because this can cause the saw to slip and hurt you and others around you. Turn on the saw and slowly push the saw towards the line you made until the panel is free.

Step 4 - Clean Up

When all of the pieces have been cut into the correct dimensions make sure all of the power tools if used are off and any loose steel is placed out of the way of harm, and any small pieces of metal is thrown away.