How to Cut Polycarbonate Roofing Sheets

Cutting roofing sheets can sometimes be daunting, especially when trimming plastic or clear roof sheets that are going to be the main feature on your roof!

There is a common misconception that there is a high risk of plastic sheets cracking when being cut, however, this is only the case on lower quality plastic roof sheets where they are brittle and hard to work with, such as acrylic or PetG sheets. Acrylic sheets are notoriously hard to cut without damage!  The good news is that our Solid, multiwall and Twinwall Sheets are manufactured from polycarbonate which is higher quality and a lot easier to cut!

Polycarbonate Sheets are one of the easiest sheets to cut making them popular for a wide range of applications on both DIY and Trade roofing projects. Manufactured in a range of thicknesses from 4mm to 35mm thick, polycarbonate roofing sheets can be cut the same way across all thicknesses of sheet.

Before cutting any plastic roof sheets to size it is advisable to calculate your rafter spacings and allow deductions for your polycarbonate roof bars and fixings. There should always be a small gap allowed between sheets for glazing bars and an expansion or contraction allowance.

Whether you are building a pergola with a polycarbonate roof, cutting clear roofing sheets to cover your gazebo or simply installing new polycarbonate sheets on your greenhouse the same simple cutting method applies. Looking for a polycarbonate roof kit? Simply drop a message to our team and they will be able to help you with the polycarbonate sheets, bars and fixings that are best suited for your application.

Follow the steps below to learn how to cut polycarbonate roofing sheets:

Tools Required to cut Polycarbonate Sheeting

- a Jigsaw, handsaw or circular saw (Top Tip: Fine Tooth is recommended for a clean cut)

- a Measuring Tape

- a Pen or pencil for marking

- Clamps

How to cut Polycarbonate Sheets - Steps:

  1. Safety First – Always wear the appropriate PPE equipment. Safety Glasses are recommended when cutting polycarbonate sheets.
  1. Firstly, measure your cutting positions with a tape measure to get the cut accurate
  1. Then mark your dimension on the Axiome Protective Film in several places along the cut
  1. Using a straight edge (a level or piece of timber works well), draw a line between the markings to create a cut line to follow
  1. It is important to choose the correct blade when cutting polycarbonate sheets. Ensure you use a fine-tooth blade, ideally with upward cutting teeth, to get a clear and smooth cut on your Axiome sheets
  1. Clamp the Axiome polycarbonate sheet down, this makes cutting easier and safer
  1. Select the highest blade speed available
  1. Start the blade and initially move slowly into the Axiome sheet, this ensures you get a straight start
  1. Increase to a medium feed speed once into the polycarbonate sheet and carefully follow the line across
  1. Take care when you reach the end of the polycarbonate sheet to ensure the offcut safely detaches
  1. If you are a hand saw then do some down strokes first to create an indent which will guide the saw
  1. Top Tip: When using a hand saw you are best to cut with the saw at a shallow angle. This makes for easier cutting and a smoother edge

Want to leave the cutting to the experts?

At Clear Amber, we can also cut to any size for you. Simply request the specific size you require when ordering your Axiome Sheets and our production teams will do the rest!

Common Polycarbonate Roofing Sheet cutting questions:

How wide should you cut polycarbonate roofing sheets?

You need to consider your rafter spacing for your polycarbonate sheets carefully before cutting your polycarbonate sheet widths.

The correct rafter spacing depends on the thickness of the sheet you are using plus a wide range of specific project factors, such as location, exposure, structure etc. Once you have decided on a rafter distance you then need to allow for an expansion gap at every rafter to allow for the glazing bars and fixings.

The formula for calculating polycarbonate sheeting width based on rafter spacing is:

Rafter distance – 1 x Expansion Gap allowance = Roof sheet width

Remember that the gap you need to allow for expansion and polycarbonate roof fixings will vary depending on the glazing bar you are using. In general, you need to allow a wider space between sheets for a Snap Fix Glazing bar compared to an Aluminium Rafter Glazing Bar or Self Supporting Glazing Bar.

If you are ordering your sheets cut to size then it is advisable to allow a little extra width, as it is easier to trim your sheets to size rather than having to move the rafters if the sheets are too small.

What is the most important thing when cutting polycarbonate sheets?

The most important thing when cutting polycarbonate roofing sheets, like Axiome Twinwall Clear sheeting, is to make sure you use a fine tooth blade which will create the cleanest cut possible.

Are solid polycarbonate sheets cut the same way as Multiwall or Twinwall polycarbonate sheets?

Cutting solid polycarbonate sheets follows a similar method to cutting Multiwall and Twinwall Polycarbonate sheets, however, there are some small differences. Follow our How to Cut Solid Glazing Sheets video to learn how to properly cut Axgard Sheeting.

What is the best tool to cut polycarbonate roofing sheets with?

When cutting polycarbonate roofing sheets you are best to use a jigsaw with a fine toothed blade. Watch our 'How to' video for full instructions.

You can use a variety of tools, depending on what you have available on site, but from experience, we have found that using a Jigsaw is easiest. This is because when using a jigsaw it is easy to line up with the marked cut line and keep the say cutting straight. 

A circular saw is another great option for cutting plastic roof sheets and is easy for cutting longer lengths if you have a long enough circular saw guide rail.


Would you like further help with your Roofing Sheet Project?

Simply jump on our Live Chat or via email where our Teams will provide you with all the advice and support you require for your project.

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