How to cut metal panels

Knowing how to cut metal panels on site is a necessary part of installing metal roofing and wall panels. You need to make sure you have the right tools and the correct methods to ensure the panels remain damage free. Using the wrong tools can result in rust, rust stains, the voiding of warranties and diminished building service life.

Safety Precautions

Before cutting your metal panels, take appropriate safety precautions to avoid getting hurt. Use gloves to protect your hands from being cut by the sharp metal panel edges. If metal filings fall on the surface of your metal panel, try to blow them off instead of touching them with your hands. Put on safety goggles to protect your eyes from airborne metal filings.

Tools to Use

To avoid damaging the panels or their coating, it is important to use proper tools. Snips are generally recommended for trim work while shears and nibblers are used for the panels themselves. Here is a look at some of the best options to use when cutting metal panels:

Aviation Snips: Good choice for small cuts, including cuts near pipe penetrations.


Electric Shears: Electric shears are optimal when making lengthier cuts along the steel, such as cutting a wall panel at a corner or at a door opening.

Mechanical Shears: Add-on tool that fits into an impact or screw gun. Mechanical shears are an excellent choice for bevel cutting standing-seam panels at hips and valleys.

Nibblers: Also known as turbo shears, they are ideal for cutting openings for windows and doors.

Skill Saw: Skill saws can also be used if this is the only resource available. Be sure to use a blade that is specifically designed for metal panels. Turn the panel upside down so that the painted side is facing the ground to make sure filings do not stick to the paint coating.

Tools to Avoid When Cutting Metal Panels

These tools are not recommended when working with metal panels: torches, cut-off saws, reciprocating saws, hacksaws and grinders.

All these tools will melt the Galvalume coating, causing edge rust just like an abrasive blade would. These tools also throw a lot of steel debris onto the panels they cut. This debris will be hot and will embed into the panel coating. Debris on the panels can cause rust spots and bigger problems down the road.

In conclusion, using the right tools and following metal panel manufacturer recommendations when cutting metal on site will help ensure that the panels remain damage-free, and the final installation will be a seamless process. Using the wrong tools can result in rust, rust stains, and the voiding of warranties, so it is important to choose correctly.

About Metal Sales

Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation is the premier nationwide provider of metal panels for the construction industry. Metal Sales works with architectural specifiers and commercial construction professionals to create inspirational design solutions. With the industry’s largest and most knowledgeable sales and technical support team, Metal Sales has the expertise to address today’s challenges in high-performance, sustainable and Net-Zero building. Metal Sales has outreach around the world. Delivering outstanding roof, wall and fascia metal panels from its 21 facilities throughout the U.S.

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