When working on your roof, you should always ensure that you are gaining the highest quality results for both the roof materials and its installation.
With every building unique in its purpose and specifications, making sure your roofing sheets are cut to size is vital. In addition, installing a roof is a critical commitment to the long term longevity of your building; one that’s installed incorrectly will cause significant problems for your building later on.
Metal roofing is an excellent choice for most buildings as our steel sheets are durable in any weather, lightweight and made from as much as 40% recycled steel for sustainability. But these superior materials alone won’t do much without the proper tools to instal them.
The Right Tools for Cutting Roofing Sheets
Before beginning any roofing job, it’s good to gather all the tools and supplies required. The tools we recommend are:
- A wide workspace – this is where you’ll be cutting your roofing sheets, so you should take steps to make it as stable as possible.
- Strong clamps – to hold the sheets in place and prevent slipping.
- Permanent markers, combination square and measuring tape.
- Cutting tools include tin snips, electric shears, a nibbler or a circular saw.
Why You Should Avoid Angle Grinders
Angle grinders are often recommended as an alternative cutting tool to a circular saw, especially for people unfamiliar with circular saws. But, we don’t recommend their use for cutting metal roofing sheets. Metal roofing is usually relatively thin to remain lightweight; the abrasive nature of the angle grinder will leave you with an undesirable rough edge compared to the precisions available when using other tools. Additionally, the sparks emitted when using the angle grinder will cause collateral damage to the surrounding area, causing noticeable damage to the paint finish near the area you’re working on.
If you’re still unwilling to use a circular saw, then you can consider smaller hand-held tools such as the previously mentioned electric metal shears. This will take longer than a circular saw, but most roofing is thin enough to be cut in this much safer way.
How to Protect Yourself
As well as the cutting tools, you should make sure you are protected with sufficient PPE (personal protective equipment) to ensure your safety when cutting the roofing sheets. Appropriate PPE for cutting roofing sheets is:
- Safety glasses
- A dust mask
- Thick work gloves
If you choose to use a circular saw, we also recommend wearing thick material over your arms and legs to protect them from flying shards or potential heat and sparks which may be caused by cutting metal. How much you choose to have is your decision, but we always believe it’s better to have too much PPE than too little.
There are additional health and safety concerns to consider when working with power tools. However, whilst the immediate safety dangers of power tools are a significant concern, the long-term health effects should not be ignored.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (or HAVS) causes potentially permanent changes in the sensation of the fingers, which can escalate to permanent numbness and muscle weakness. This has been nicknamed white finger because of the visible effect it produces. This syndrome is caused by repeated use of hand-held vibrating tools such as the circular saws and power drills used for cutting metal roofing sheets.
Up to one in ten people who frequently work with vibrating power tools will be affected by HAVS. The best way to avoid developing the same problem when working with power tools is to:
- Hold the tools loosely and vary positions often.
- Using tools efficiently and avoiding excessive and unnecessary use is a great way to protect your hands.
- Taking ten-minute breaks at regular intervals will help also.
- Make sure to keep your hands warm; cold hands are more susceptible.
Tips for Cutting Metal Roofing
Now that you have your tools, PPE, and workspace, you are ready to finish your preparation and begin cutting your metal roof sheets.
For any minor cuts, we recommend using the tin snips. These cheap, easy to use tools are great for cutting metal but only for minor cuts and trims.
Electric shears are the next step up from the tin snips. These can make cleaner cuts, and powered ones can even cut through multiple layers of roofing sheet simultaneously.
The circular saw is where you’ll make the most significant cuts. You should ensure that you cut from a right angle to increase the chances of you making a single perfect cut.
Once all your planned cuts are made, carefully remove all the metal dust with a brush. Any accumulated dust will harm your roofing sheet and create rust.
Why Choose Bushbury Cladding?
At Bushbury Cladding, we manufacture and supply the highest-quality metal roofing sheets, corrugated steel roofing sheets, and wall claddings across the UK. We are confident that we have what you need, as our customer base consists of a broad range of clients from the general public and commercial and industrial areas.
All of our roofing sheets are made from 40% recycled, full prime British steel and have superior strength and durability for a long-lasting, low maintenance roofing solution.