Corrugated plastic roofing is loved by installers around the world for its ease of installation and cost-effectiveness. Using corrugated plastic sheets is a great way to create a clear covering for a range of outdoor areas, without needing a lot of DIY experience. Whether you are building a carport, garden pergola or school canopy, corrugated plastic may often be the best roofing choice.
Despite their popularity, one commonly purported downside of using corrugated plastic is how hard it can be to cut. People say that cheaper grades of corrugated sheeting like PVC can crack or splinter – this is true but only when you use the wrong cutting method! With a lot of incorrect cutting methods online, this guide hopefully will correct the record.
Corrugated plastic can be as easily cut as any other roofing material – you just need to follow the correct steps. The key to easily and cleanly cutting corrugated plastic is in the tool used and the method. Click this link to skip to our step-by-step guide on how to cut corrugated plastic.
There are three main types of clear corrugated roofing sheets including Corrapol Stormproof, GRP and PVC. Each provides varying strength, durability and budget levels to suit different roofing projects. If you are looking for the best clear corrugated plastic sheet then you can’t go wrong with corrugated Stormproof sheets. Manufactured from a virtually unbreakable resin, they are in a class of their own in terms of quality and are the ultimate clear corrugated plastic option. What’s more, they are the only clear corrugated roofing sheets that are UV protected which gives them an unbeatable lifespan.
On the other hand, if you are looking for the most cost-effective option or a short-term solution then PVC Corrugated sheets are best. With a lower price, Corrapol PVC sheets are affordable for small home projects such as small lean-to roofs and cold frames.
Finally, there are the GRP Corrugated sheets which offer a different style with a fibrous and less transparent appearance. These are great for rural and agricultural projects like barns or sheds. Like the other Corrapol sheets, they match the profile of our bitumen corrugated sheets and Corramet corrugated sheets so can be interlaid. For example, if you are building a shed roof with Corramet sheets then you can swap out a sheet for a GRP corrugated sheet to create a DIY rooflight and bring light into your shed!
Top 3 Tips for Cutting Corrugated Plastic
- Do not use a carbide tipped blade - this will break the sheet, especially on the budget types of corrugated plastic, such as PVC. If your blade has very fine teeth and you are cutting multiple sheets it is possible to cut the Stormproof corrugated sheets with a carbide tipped blade, however, creating a clean cut is challenging.
- Having fine teeth is essential – no matter the tool you use always ensure it has fine teeth as any coarse-toothed blade will create a rough cut or worse not work at all.
- Secure & support the sheets well for no wobble – Corrugated sheets naturally have flex across the width so when cutting them it is important to secure the sheets well to avoid large vibration or shaking. If you have somebody helping you on the project then if they hold the other end of the sheet that can help.
Tools required to cut corrugated plastic:
- Appropriate PPE (Safety Goggles etc)
- Measuring Tape
- Pen or Pencil
- Straight Edge Level (or similar)
- Tin Snips
How to Cut Corrugated Plastic - Steps:
- Safety first – always wear the appropriate PPE equipment. Safety goggles are suggested when cutting
- Measure your cutting location and mark at either side
- Follow a straight edge and mark across the sheet peaks to create a cutting guideline
- Avoid any saws with coarse teeth or low TPI (teeth per inch). Use a multitool if possible as this is the easiest tool to cut corrugated plastic sheets with
- Select a semi-circle blade with fine teeth
- Secure the blade on at a 45 degree angle to the handle. This is the easiest position for cutting.
- Set the multitool speed to its maximum setting
- Start cutting the corrugated plastic sheets from the edge. Take care on the first few centimetres.
- Follow the cutting guideline and keep a steady hand. The steadier your hand the neater the cut!
- Follow the line all the way across, letting the blade do its work. It is important not to force it.
- Slow down towards the end of the corrugated sheet to ensure a clean cut
- If required, run a sharp knife along the edge to remove any burrs or use gloves to neaten the edge
- For cutting small shapes out it is possible to use tin snips. E.g. when needing to trim around a downpipe.
- When cutting the width of a sheet remember to cut at the centre of the trough so the Corrugated Rock N Lock Flashing locks in properly
- N.B. Remember Corrapol® has a wide range of sheet lengths available (from 1 metre to 4 metres) so sometimes it is best to choose the closest combination and overlap to save any cutting at all!
Common Corrugated Plastic Cutting Questions:
How to cut corrugated plastic roofing by hand?
It is possible on some types of corrugated but not recommended. To cut corrugated plastic sheets by hand you need to use a very fine-toothed blade and a lot of support for the sheets to ensure there is no wobble. As a hand saw is slower than any tool it creates a less consistent force on the sheets when cutting which can cause chipping. If you are using a hand saw, only attempt with the Stormproof sheets, and even then, it is best to use a multitool if possible.
Can you cut corrugated plastic with tin snips?
Yes, you can use tin snips to cut corrugated plastic. They are good for cutting out small notches or shapes but wouldn’t be recommended for cutting full lengths as they are hard to keep straight.
Can you cut corrugated plastic with scissors?
Yes and no – it is only possible to cut corrugated PVC sheeting with scissors. However, this is best only for notching out small shapes as cutting a full length wouldn’t be easy.
Can you cut corrugated plastic with a jigsaw?
No, you can’t cut corrugated plastic with a Jigsaw because the vertical force is too great. The up and down motion of the blade will vibrate/shake the sheet too much and also could cause damage.
Can you use a sharp knife to cut corrugated plastic sheets?
No, it is not recommended to use a sharp knife or Stanley knife to cut corrugated plastic sheets. It can be dangerous as the knife will tend to slip out.
Can you cut corrugated plastic sheets in cold weather?
Yes, you can cut corrugated plastic any time of year. But like all plastics, corrugated gets slightly more brittle in colder weather so you need to take more care. The sheets are best stored in a dry storage area to keep them at an average temperature.
How much gap at the gable should I leave for the Rock N Lock flashing?
You should allow approx. 40 mm gap from the gable or verge of your roof to allow room for the a Rock N Lock Flashing. This is the same for both the Rock n Lock Wall Flashing and Rock n Lock Gable Flashing.
The Rock N Lock flashings are a must-have for every roof as they significantly increase lifespan by protecting the sides and fixings. The extra protection of the flashing also massively reduces the risk of wind uplift.
How much can corrugated sheets overhang at the bottom edge?
You can overhang plastic corrugated sheets up to a max of 70mm over the bottom edge of your roof. It is best to change this overhang distance to suit the pitch of your roof– the steeper your roof the less overhang you will require so that any water runoff doesn’t overshoot the gutter.
Need Help with your Corrugated Plastic Project?
If you are needing help with your corrugated plastic roofing projects then please do not hesitate to contact us. Our Team will be happy to assist on our Live Chat or email where our we can provide you with all the advice and support you require.
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