Cutting Shingles with Shears
Long-handled tin snips are the perfect tool for easily cutting thick roofing shingles.
The evolution of asphalt roofing shingles has been a slow and steady improvement in performance, durability, and looks. Original three-tab asphalt shingles had 10- or 20-year warranties, and that was about the lifespan you could expect. Today’s laminated roof shingles have 30-, 40-, and 50-year warranties. A few have lifetime warranties. To make shingles last longer, manufacturers made them thicker. That also made them better looking, hence the new terminology, “dimensional roofing shingles” and “architectural roofing shingles,” in use today.
In some ways, newer shingles are a bit more forgiving to work with than three tab shingles, which require precise layout. In other ways, they are more demanding. For example, three-tab asphalt shingles are tough to cut, but these new thicker shingles are even tougher. You could use a utility knife to cut asphalt shingles and dull the blade or bloody your knuckles. But, as demonstrated in this tip by Todd Smith, a big pair of snips may be a better way to get the job done. They may be designed for cutting metal, but the long handles give you great leverage for cutting thick material like asphalt shingles.
More on Roofing
10 Roof Goofs and How to Fix Them – Surprisingly, it is not damage from wear and tear that causes most roof leaks but mistakes made during installation or reroofing. This article uses photos and drawings to illustrate what those mistakes are and what you can do about them.
How to Remove a Damaged Roof Shingle – Some roof repairs—nail pops, for example—require replacing single shingles. Removing the damaged shingle without damaging the surrounding shingles is the tricky part…
Replacing an Asphalt Shingle – The job isn’t hard, but it’s not exactly straightforward, either.
Check out There’s a Better Way – Quick video tips from Fine Homebuilding, for more helpful techniques from the field.