Asphalt shingles are a popular choice for roofing due to their durability and affordability. Knowing how to cut asphalt shingles correctly is essential for ensuring a proper fit and a secure roof. In this guide, we will cover the tools you need, step-by-step instructions, and some helpful tips to make the asphalt shingle roofing process easier.

Tools You Will Need

cut asphalt shingles
  1. Utility Knife
  2. Straight Edge or Metal Ruler
  3. Chalk Line
  4. Measuring Tape
  5. Cutting Board or Plywood
  6. Safety Gear

Preparing to Cut Asphalt Shingles

Proper preparation is key to achieving clean cuts and a professional finish.

Measuring and Marking

  • Measure the Area: Start by measuring the area where the shingles will be installed. This includes the length and width of the roof sections.
  • Mark the Shingles: Use your chalk line and measuring tape to mark the shingles. Mark the lines where you will make your cuts. Ensure the marks are straight and visible.
  • Set Up Your Cutting Area: Place a cutting board or a piece of plywood on a stable surface. This will protect the underlying surface and make cutting easier.

Cutting Asphalt Shingles

Now that you have everything set up, it’s time to start cutting the asphalt shingles. Follow these steps to ensure accuracy and safety.

Step-by-Step Cutting Process

  1. Align the Shingle: Place the shingle on your cutting surface with the marked line aligned with the edge of the cutting board.
  2. Score the Shingle: Using your straight edge and utility knife, score along the marked line. Apply even pressure to ensure a clean score without cutting through the shingle completely.
  3. Bend and Snap: After scoring, bend the shingle along the scored line. This will help separate the shingle neatly. If the shingle doesn’t snap easily, run your knife along the score line again.
  4. Trim Edges: If necessary, trim any rough or uneven edges for a clean finish. Use the utility knife and straight edge for precision.
  5. Repeat: Continue the process for all shingles that need to be cut, ensuring each one fits the specific measurements required.

Tips for Cutting Asphalt Shingles

Cutting asphalt shingles can be straightforward with the right approach. Here are some additional tips to help you achieve the best results.

Maintain Sharp Blades

Sharp blades are crucial for clean cuts. Change your utility knife blade regularly to prevent tearing the shingles and to ensure smooth, accurate cuts.

Work in a Safe Environment

Always work in a well-lit area to see your markings clearly. Ensure your cutting surface is stable to avoid slips and accidents.

Take Your Time

Rushing through the cutting process can lead to mistakes. Take your time to measure and mark accurately, and cut slowly to maintain control.

Installing Cut Asphalt Shingles

Once you have cut the asphalt shingles to the correct size, it’s time to install them. Proper installation is just as important as cutting.

Position the Shingles

Place each shingle in its designated spot, ensuring it fits well with the surrounding shingles. It is also possible to lay new shingles over old ones in certain scenarios. However, regardless of project type, you must check for alignment and make adjustments as needed.

Secure the Shingles

Use roofing nails to secure the shingles in place. Make sure to nail in the correct spots as recommended by the shingle manufacturer. This ensures the shingles are held firmly and can withstand weather conditions.

Check Your Work

After installation, inspect the roof to ensure all shingles are properly aligned and secured. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve a seamless and professional finish.


cut asphalt shingles

Learning how to cut asphalt shingles is a valuable skill for any DIY enthusiast or professional roofer. With the right tools, careful preparation, and attention to detail, you can achieve precise cuts and a flawless installation. Whether you’re repairing a small section or installing a new roof, following these steps will help you complete the job efficiently and effectively. Contact Perfect Exteriors today for more information or assistance with your roofing project.