How to Cut Synthetic Slate Roofing Tiles

What You'll Need
Utility Knife
Tape Measure
Asphalt Shingle Cutter
Straight Edge

Synthetic slate roofing is a great alternative to the real slate shingles that are cut from stone. Not only are synthetic slate tiles cheaper, they also weigh much less than real slate. This reduced weight makes it easier to work with and safer since the roof does not have to support as much weight. Real slate roofing must be cut with a wet saw because of its density and tendency to crack easily. Synthetic roofing however requires very little effort to cut. Here are a few easy steps that explain how to best make many different types of cuts in synthetic slate roofing tiles.

Step 1 – Use a Shingle Cutter for Repetitive Straight Cuts

For common straight cuts it is easiest to use an asphalt shingle cutter. Mount the cutter on the roof and set the guide to the desired depth. Next, press the synthetic slate tile firmly against the guide to ensure the cut is perfectly straight. Finally, lower the cutting arm to shear the tile in two. Leave the guide at the desired depth to quickly perform this cut over and over again.

Step 2 – For Straight Uncommon Cuts Use a Utility Knife

In the event that only a few tiles need to be cut to a certain size, a utility knife can be used. Use a tape measure to determine exactly where the cut should be on the tile and then mark it with a marker. Once the tile is marked, lay a straight edge (a ruler, T-square, or yard stick for example) on top of the mark and across the tile to guarantee the cut is straight. Use a small c-clamp to secure the straight edge to the tile. Once the straight edge is fastened to the tile so that it cannot move, use a utility knife to cut along the line that was drawn. Cut along the same line a few times to ensure that the cut is deep enough to break cleanly in two. Finally, set the tile down on a flat surface so that the cut line is at the edge of the surface and the part of the tile being removed is hanging over the side. Simply apply pressure to the part of the tile that is hanging over the edge and it should break cleanly in two.

Step 3 – For Curved or Odd Shaped Cuts Use a Jigsaw

First, use a marker to draw the shape of the cut onto the tile. Set the tile on a flat surface with the portion that is going to be cut hanging off the side. This is so the saw does not accidently cut through the surface that lies below the tile. Then, turn the jigsaw on and, while holding the tile steady with one hand, use the saw to cut along the line that was made with the marker.