How To Cut Roof Shingles? Step by Step Procedure

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Roof shingles are a protective layer over the roof. These protect the roof from various damages. You might want to install roof shingles over your roof. So, you might wonder about how to cut roof shingles.

Cutting roof shingles is a straightforward procedure. However, if you do not have a clear idea, things might get tricky for you. And if you do not cut the roof shingles properly, you will have problems installing them down the line.

You don’t need to be concerned even if you are unaware of the procedure. Let us walk you through it step by step.

How To Cut Roof Shingles

To cut roof shingles, you will need some tools as well as knowledge in using them. Doing an improper job will lead to numerous problems. Let’s know how many tools you will need.

Required Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Scale
  • Cutting tools

Step by Step Procedure

1. Collecting Shingles

The first thing you need to do is collect some shingles. Buy the shingles according to your requirement.

It is better to buy some spare shingles. You may mess up while cutting some shingles. You can replace the extra shingles with the damaged ones.

2. Measuring the Shingles

In this step, you should start by measuring the shingles. Measure the lengths and breadths of all the shingles with a measuring tape. You will need the measurements later.

3. Marking the Shingles

After you have taken the measurements, you need to mark the shingles. With the help of a pencil and a scale, make a mark on the lengths and widths of each shingle.

4. Cutting the Shingles

You can cut the shingles using a utility knife or a circular saw or even with tin snips. We will describe each method. Feel free to follow whichever seems easy to you.

i. Using a Utility Knife

In this case, firstly you have to find out the cut line. Once you have located the cut line, mark it using a pencil.

Next, you have to find a flat surface to place the shingle. After that, take the utility knife and hold it firmly. Using a scale, run the knife along the cut line.

Do not use too much force while making the cut. Also, keeping the knife sharp will help you in making accurate cuts.

ii. Using a Circular Saw

In case you are using a circular saw, you need to calibrate the saw properly at first. Following that, fix the blade at an appropriate depth. Keeping the saw on a flat surface will prevent wobbling.

After you have prepared the saw, see where the cut line is. When you locate the cut line, place the roof shingle on a flat surface. Then, hold the circular saw firmly above the cut line.

Applying some pressure, begin by moving the saw slowly. Make sure that the saw is in contact with the shingle all the time. You will find that you have cut the shingle precisely.

iii. Using a Tin Snip

Tin snips are very sharp. So, firstly be careful while using them. Place your shingles on a flat surface. A large enough surface where you can place the whole roofing shingle is preferable.

Mark the cut line with a pencil after locating it. Then, you must hold the tin snips firmly. Be careful not to let these slip. Cut the shingles along the marked line carefully.

To ensure a proper seal, be sure to cut the shingles correctly.


a) What is the best tool to cut shingles with?

Ans: Tin snips can be used to make very complex cuts as well as simpler cuts. These can also fit in a small area. That’s why people prefer tin snips.

b) Can a circular saw cut shingles?

Ans: Yes, a circular saw is very effective to cut shingles. They are also able to cut shingles in a shorter amount of time compared to other tools.

c) How many nails should be used per shingle?

Ans: According to various sources, four nails are recommended per shingle on the main roof area. However, in the first row, five nails are recommended.  


Cutting the roof shingles is quite an easy procedure. We hope that you are clear about how to cut the roof shingles. However, keep in mind that this can be quite risky.

Make sure to wear goggles and gloves. Also, keep the children away while working. You can also hire professionals if you want to.

However, following the steps above methodically should be enough. If you are able to grasp the methods, you should not run into any kinds of problems. Make sure to handle the utility tools cautiously. We wish you all the best.

As a civil engineer and roofer, I love to share the experience that I have gained through the last couple of years. In the roofing industry, practical experience is a very crucial fact that can help you a lot. Hence, I want to help you with my blog.

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