How to Cut Colorbond Roofing Sheets | Winning Tactics You Must Follow

This article aims to enlighten us on how to cut colorbond roofing sheets, cutting of metal roofing with shears, the various roofing sheets cutting machines, and lots more.

When building a roof made of corrugated cardboard, which has a complex shape, or when making connections, as a rule, it is necessary to cut the roofing material. Processing quality: The profiled sheet’s original geometry and the protective coating depend on the tool used.

How to Cut Colorbond Roofing Sheets

Color bond roofing sheets or polycarbonates are a type of plastic commonly used to make or modify windows. It majorly comes in sheets and is relatively easy to cut. Thinner polycarbonate sheets can be scored and split with a utility knife. You can as well make use of a circular saw to make straight cuts in thicker sheets. If you want to cut uneven angles and shapes in the polycarbonate, you can use a vertical cut saw. Remember always to wear a protective eye mask, gloves, and earmuffs when working with power tools.

roofing sheets

Lay the color bond roofing sheet on the edge of a flat surface

Take the plastic and place it on a table or sewing station. Any surface will work as long as it is flat, stable, and has an edge. 

  • To score and split an edge, you will need to let a plastic section hang from one to break it. This factor makes corner tables or tight areas a poor choice for this technique.
  • If the polycarbonate is less than 1 inch (3 cm) thick, you can score it and split it.
roofing sheets

Put on gloves and a protective eye mask to protect yourself. 

When you split the polycarbonate, bits of plastic may fly off the line you cut. To avoid hurting your eyes or hands, put on protective goggles, and wear thick gloves.

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Protective eye mask

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Mark the cutting line with a straight edge and a marker

Measure the cuts you want to make with a tape measure and use a straight edge, so the line comes out straight. Hold the straight edge precisely on the line you plan to cut. Hold the marker at a 45 ° angle pointing down towards the joint where the straight edge and the plastic meet. Run the marker along the line to mark the cut. 

roofing sheets

You can use a grease pencil, permanent marker, or dry erase marker to mark the cut.

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Position the cutting line within 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) of the edge

Now secure with cable ties. Position the cutting line near the edge of your work surface. Secure the plastic to the table with bar and “C” clamps. Otherwise, put a heavy object in the center of the plastic sheet.

how to cut colorbond roofing sheets

Mark the line with a utility knife and a straight edge. 

Outline the straight edge with the cutting line. Hold the utility knife against the straight edge at the end of the line at the top. Press down moderately and slide the knife blade at a 45-degree angle along the cut line. Press it along the entire cut line as you cut the plastic about halfway deep. 

  • You don’t have to press hard. The goal is not to cut through the plastic sheet but to cut halfway and split the section after it has weakened.
cutting sheet metal

Ensure you turn over the sheet and cut the other side if necessary.After marking the cutting line once, open the clamps to release the sheet. Try pressing on the edge that is hanging off the table to see if it moves. If it doesn’t give at all, flip the foil over and secure it again. Mark the line that you cut on the other side in the same way you did with the first side. 

  • If the sheet is very fragile, you probably don’t need to do this.
cutting metal roofing

Secure the foil so that the line hangs about 1 to 2 inches (3-5 cm) above the edge. Remove the foil and clamp it back onto the table to avoid moving when you press the edge. Check the clamps to ensure they are tight and make sure the cutting line is floating off the table.

metal roof cutters

Break off excess color bond roofing sheets by pressing down quickly.

Reinforce the center of the sheet on the table by pressing on it with your non-dominant hand. Hold the plastic sheet still and grasp the section of excess that you marked with your dominant hand. Lift it a bit and press down firmly. The side you are pressing will snap off immediately. 

  • Marking is the easiest way to create a clean line with the thinnest polycarbonate sheets.
metal roof cutter

Characteristics of Cutting Profiled Steel Roofs

A metal profile is nothing more than a galvanized metal sheet, most often with a special coating and a unique profile. The difficulty in choosing how to cut the profile is due precisely to the presence of a protective layer, which must remain intact when cutting the profiled sheet with your own hands.

The polymer layer is not heat resistant and is, therefore, subject to thermal effects. Therefore, when choosing a cutting option, preference should be given to cold methods.

It will also be necessary to treat the cut points with compositions that guarantee their resistance to humidity and corrosion. Usually, a unique stain is supplied from the factory with the material used to paint over the edges that remain after cutting. Even when you process the sections with ordinary paint, you can achieve the appropriate degree of protection of the sheet against corrosion and various natural factors.

How to Cut a Metal Profile

YouTube video

Let’s highlight the possible options, how and how to cut a metal profile: use

  • Electrical tool;
  • Manual tools;
  • Machine tool equipment.
  • Machine tool equipment.

Tools you will need for Cutting Colorbond Roofing Sheet (With their Advantages and Disadvantages)

You can cut a profiled sheet with the following devices:

  • Electric circular saw with a saw blade for steel;
  • Hand saw;
  • Hand scissors for metal;
  • Nibblers;
  • Electric shears – nibbling, knife, gouging;
  • The “Cricket” drill head is an analog of die-cut electric shears.

All these types do not generate sparks during operation; they work on the principle of cold cutting. Electrical devices are mostly available in two types of power sources: wired and battery.

Theoretically, it is possible to cut corrugated cardboard with a grinder, but experts do not recommend using this tool. The galvanized steel, which is based on the material, and the protective coating on both sides melt at a distance of up to 5 mm from their impact. This causes corrosion at the edges. The second danger is sparked, which occurs on the surface, thereby damages the polymer coating.

Hacksaw

The safest cutting option, which preserves the decorative and protective layer’s integrity, uses a conventional hacksaw due to the absence of thermal effects in this case. Working with a hacksaw is not very time consuming, as corrugated blades do not offer much resistance to cutting, and cutting does not require significant effort.

The disadvantage is the impossibility of using it when cutting complex shapes. A hacksaw is not suitable for processing blades with a wave height greater than 25mm. Also, deep cuts cannot be made with this tool. Working with it requires a unique table or support surface.

A jigsaw (electric or manual) is best suited for cutting complex curvilinear shapes.

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Can I use a Grinder?

Manufacturers do not strictly recommend processing profiled sheets with a grinder, better known in everyday life as a grinder. However, in practice, cutting with this tool is entirely possible. By following specific rules, you can fully appreciate the apparent advantages of this method. It is essential to understand that problems arise with this tool when using abrasive (diamond) wheels and at high cutting speeds. Therefore, material processing’s negative consequences can be avoided if you work by cutting corrugated cardboard with special discs with hard alloy teeth located along the edge of the circle and choosing the correct speed. These discs are relatively thin; their thickness varies from 1mm to 1.6.

Using a grinding machine can significantly increase installation speed, especially since sheets can be cut into ten pieces simultaneously. Some skills are indeed required to cut a package. This cutting method allows you to obtain the desired geometric configuration, including an arc with a certain radius.

Let’s consider some characteristics of working with a grinder:

  • When cutting, the blade is placed on pads, putting them at a certain distance from the earth’s surface or the table where the cut is made. Otherwise, the disk will “cling” to it, and a cloud of dust will kick up, or the desktop will deteriorate;
  • If a small grinder is used to cut corrugated cardboard with deep grooves, then cutting the sheet to the end will not work; you will have to flip it over to the other side. Therefore, when choosing a grinder, one must consider the maximum diameter of the disc to complete the cut of the blade installed on the pads in a single pass.
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Corrugated Cardboard Scissor

If you are looking for cutting corrugated cardboard, if you need to cut thin strips, you need special scissors. The edges of the tool are perfectly sharp, allowing the blade to cut through the wave.

Cutting the material to length is hampered by the metal profile’s structural characteristics, its greater flexibility in the longitudinal direction.

Corrugated cardboard cutting scissors allow you to cut through the material without damaging the protective coating easily. When used, an uneven cut may remain, which will block the adjacent profiled sheet when installing the roof.

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Hand Scissors

They are used when the curly cut of a profiled sheet is necessary or the amount of work to be done is small. This tool, which is also inexpensive, allows the formation of complex elements for roofs. Manual scissors of different models differ in parameters such as

  • length of cutting edges;
  • blade configuration: can be straight or beveled;
  • Design, for example, the presence of a locking mechanism and more.

During cutting, the material is placed on a platform, which is collected from the bars. Their number should provide the distance from the floor surface (ground) to the forum should be sufficient not to interfere with the scissors’ movement.

  • To get started, make a basting cut and check how warped the sheet’s edges are.

Only after that does the final processing of the corrugated board begin.

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Nibblers

For greater precision, a nibbler is used. They work like an office punch, punching holes with a small diameter. In the process of working with this tool, the metal profile remains suspended. The working head of the device is inserted into the hole; it is pre-formed with a drill. Metal is pierced with a punch. To get it moving, a simple push on the handle is enough. After the formation of each hole, the scissors’ working part continues to move in the cut progressively.

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The deck is a galvanized steel sheet with a profile and a polymer coating. It resembles corrugated sheet metal, but the roofing material and sheet metal cutting methods are not the same due to the polymer coating. To find out how to cut corrugated cardboard, which way to choose for this, you need to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of tools designed for cutting material.

  • Bulgarian (angle grinder);
  • Hacksaw;
  • Manual and electric jigsaw;
  • Electric shears;
  • Hand circular saw.

Manufacturers of the specified cover material do not recommend using a grinder to cut it due to the polymer coating’s thermal effect. However, even some corrugated cardboard dealers use it as the most convenient cutting tool.

The durability of corrugated cardboard depends on the correct installation and the choice of cutting tools.

When using a grinder, specific rules must be observed:

  • To work with profiled sheets, you should use a carbide tooth disc instead of an abrasive wheel. Such discs are thus called discs for cutting corrugated cardboard.
  • The thickness of the disc must vary between the range of 1mm and 1.6mm.
  • To prevent corrosion, the cut area is covered with high-quality paint of the appropriate color.

Using a grinder has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of using this tool is the convenience and fast speed of cutting. The drawbacks are that it causes thermal damage to the polymer-zinc coating, burning of the edges, and burning sheets by sparks coming out of the mill. Also, red-hot metal particles that adhere to the surface contribute to the formation of corrosion centers.

Ragged edges of blades after cutting it using a grinder takes time in the removal of burrs. It causes noise pollution during operation. Using a special disc designed to cut corrugated cardboard eliminates many negative aspects of operating a grinder.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hacksaw

When using this tool, the coating of the profile sheet is subject to the least damage. Corrugated cardboard does not offer much resistance when cutting, so even manual work will not require a lot of time and effort. The absence of thermal effects contributes to the preservation of the material’s coating.

Advantages of cutting corrugated cardboard with a hacksaw:

  • Speed;
  • Accuracy;
  • No significant effort is required.

Disadvantages of cutting blades with a hacksaw

  • When working with a hacksaw, even cuts are easily made, but it is impossible to cut curved shapes;
  • When using a hacksaw, a unique cutting table is required.
  • A hacksaw is used to obtain uniform cuts.

Manual and Electric Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a tool that, unlike a hacksaw, allows you to make curved cuts out of corrugated cardboard. There is no significant difference between a conventional and an electric device, but the work is done faster with a puzzle.

The manual and electric jigsaw are used to cut small length corrugated cardboard sheets of famous brands, the corrugated height of which is not more than 25mm. The blades can be cut up and down, and the blade must be pressed so that it does not vibrate. Corrugated board cutting is done at high speeds using the best metal saws.

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  • When cut with an electric jigsaw, the edges burn, but not as strong as when using a grinder.

Disadvantages of using a jigsaw

  • the tool is not very convenient for crosscut blades with a profile height of more than 25 mm;
  • not suitable for cutting thin strips;
  • the cutting speed is lower than the grinder;
  • when working with an electric jigsaw, the edges are burned, but not as strong as when using a grinder;
  • Unpleasant noise.

Electric Jigsaw

Replaceable special saw blades are used. They allow you to make a significantly even cut. With a jigsaw, it is easy to miss the edge straight and make curved cuts. It is impossible to fit corrugated cardboard by weight, as the metal is small in thickness and easily deformed.

Advantages of using electric jigsaw

It is allowed to stop selecting a jigsaw only if there is no possibility of using other tools.

  • you can work directly on the construction site;
  • high speed compared to handheld power tools;
  • ease of controls;
  • Low cost of consumables (files).

Disadvantages of using a jigsaw

  • files wear out quickly, often break;
  • high noise level;
  • inability to cut a sheet with a profile height of less than 20 mm;
  • you can cut with a jigsaw only in a vertical position, that is, two people are needed to do the job;

It does not burn the protective layer but does tear the metal; the edges require a primer.

It is allowed to stop selecting a jigsaw only if there is no possibility of using other tools.

The Advantages of cutting a color sheet using metal shears

  • It is an essential tool for cutting thin strips.
  • As long as they’re sharp, they do an excellent job crossing the wave.

Disadvantages of using the tool

  • Corrugated metal scissors badly cut longitudinally since, in this direction, the sheets have little flexibility.
  • The main disadvantage of cutting with these scissors is that the cutting edges are not very smooth.
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Corrugated Cardboard Sheets

Corrugated cardboard sheets can also be cut well with a hand-held circular saw, in which a fine-toothed disc with victorious teeth is installed. For the convenience and quick performance of working with circulars, you will need an assistant. The cutting feed must be minimal.

Do not scratch the paint on the profiled sheets; a conductor is made of a strip of plywood about 1.5 m long and 300 mm wide. A slot is cut along its center along the ribbon’s entire length, without reaching the ends, which will be a reference point when cutting. Two points are marked on the sheet along the cutting line; a conductor is superimposed on them. The groove should line up with the marked points. After that, the blade is well pressed, and the cut is made.

It is essential to know that cutting of profiled floors, unlike steel sheet, has a profile and an anti-corrosion coating requires considering these characteristics of the material. Due to the sensitivity of the layer to high temperatures, cold cut methods are preferred.

When choosing a tool, these conditions and restrictions must be taken into account. For example, the use of plasma cutting, welding, autogenously, and other similar tools does not meet the requirements for cutting corrugated cardboard, as it is associated with exposure to high temperatures. It is also not recommended to use abrasive tools that strip and carbonize the protective layer.

Profiled flooring is an aesthetic and durable material that justifies its purpose, provided it is installed correctly, and the tool for cutting it is selected following the manufacturer’s requirements.

The color sheet is covered with several protective layers: galvanized, anti-corrosion, primer, decorative polymer. Violation of its integrity will lead to rust and rapid destruction. Sparks and heating cause the most significant damage at high temperatures, which causes the polymer layer and the steel to melt.

Drilling Machine

You can cut vertically and horizontally, make round or curly holes. The cut is exact, the material is not deformed, but for this, you need to choose the correct speed of the drill; otherwise, the punch will bend the edges—disadvantage: only suitable for small volumes.

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Article Summary

We believe you’ve learned a lot in these articles on cutting color bond roofing sheets, the various cutting machines for roofing sheets, cutting of metal roofing with shears, cutting corrugated metal with a circular saw, and more important topics discussed in the articles.

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