How to Cut Steel Lap Siding: 7 Steps For a Smooth Installation

Learning how to cut metal siding properly is key for a smooth installation experience. The good news is that learning how to cut steel siding is quite easy, as long as you take the proper precautions and use the appropriate tools for the job.

The Importance of Cutting Steel Siding Correctly

Knowing how to cut steel lap siding safely and effectively is an invaluable skill. Steel is a very hard, durable material, and its dense composition helps it perform as an excellent siding material for the home. It also means that smooth cuts are absolutely necessary to form safe edges on metal siding. Steel lap siding that is not cut correctly can result in jagged edges, which are extremely sharp and dangerous.

In addition to being hazardous, jagged edges can also compromise metal siding installation by forming bumpy seams and gaps where the siding panels overlap. It may seem like just an eyesore at first, but faulty installation points caused by poorly cut steel can actually compromise the performance of the steel lap siding, allowing moisture, insects, rodents, and more to have a better entrypoint to the inside of the home.

7 Essential Steps for a Smooth Steel Siding Installation

It goes without saying that knowing how to cut steel lap siding correctly is absolutely essential to getting the most out of your siding and enjoying a safe exterior. 

So, how do you cut steel siding? It’s not as hard as you’d think! Take a look at the seven easy steps below:

1. Use the Right Tools

The easiest way to mess up your metal siding while cutting, is to use the wrong tools for the job. Getting the right power tools is absolutely key to making a smooth cut. If you know your saw isn’t equipped to cut through steel but think you can power through it with a steady hand, don’t even try! Using inappropriate power tools is dangerous, can damage your metal siding, and can ruin the cutting tools, too.

Cutting steel siding with a circular saw might seem like a good idea, but there’s actually a better tool for the job. A slide miter saw with a ferrous metal cutting blade is a much more appropriate power tool for cutting metal siding. The ferrous blade ensures the ability to cut through heavy-duty steel, while the angle of application can help deliver a straight cut, since lowering the miter saw from a fixed position above leaves no room for error, as a circular saw might. Thus, always use a miter saw with a ferrous blade to cut individual metal panels for lap siding.

Steel snips or heavy-duty hand snips are also needed to make smaller cuts in various parts of the metal siding. In particular, curved aviation snips are great for making smaller cuts to accommodate outlets, lighting fixtures, and any other features that need a custom fitting.

2. Measure First

Never eyeball the dimensions when cutting steel siding. Each seam of metal lap siding should be at least 4 feet apart. Before carrying the metal panel to the saw, use a tape measure to carefully mark the 4-foot point on the panel with a pencil. This is the mark that you’ll use at the miter saw.

3. Remove Foam Before Cutting

Another key step to making precision cuts is to remove the foam backing before cutting. Steel siding from TruLog features a removable foam backing that provides extra insulation. The versatile design allows this backing to slip out easily so that it doesn’t get in the way while cutting the siding down to size. Keep the foam backer on hand so that’s readily available during installation.

4. Prep the Saw

Once you’ve marked out 4-foot segments, bring the metal panel to the miter saw and carefully line up the saw with your mark. Using a miter saw with wide legs or extra stands can simplify the task, providing plenty of room for the entire panel to lie flat while you make the cut. Be sure to situate the metal panel so that it’s steady and stable before engaging the miter saw.

5. Check Safety Precautions

After you’ve got the metal siding panel lined up and ready to go at the miter saw, it’s important to do a double-check on your safety gear. Safety goggles are extremely important, and gloves are also recommended. A miter saw can be quite loud, so having ear protection is also a great idea.

6. Make the Cut

Carefully engage the miter saw and make a smooth, steady cut at the 4-foot mark on the metal siding panel.

7. Use Steel Snips for Smaller Cuts

As mentioned, steel snips can be used for making smaller, on-the-spot cuts in the metal siding to accommodate for various obstacles that may be present on the home’s exterior.

Cutting steel lap siding is as easy as that!

TruLog Online Installation Guide 

TruLog specializes in steel siding that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to install. For full siding installation tips from start to finish, you consult the TruLog online installation guide or contact our steel siding experts today.

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