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In this article, we share with you our favorite metal roofing tools every roofer should own.
These are your go-to tools for cutting metal roofing, bending sheet metal, for fastening, marking and measuring – tools designed to help you install roofs easier, faster, safer and more effective.
Metal roofing is a growing trend in residential roofing and is more popular than ever.
This happens because they’re beautiful, long-lasting (can last a minimum of 40-60 years), fire-resistant, impermeable, require low maintenance, and on top of that – being natural earth products – are 100% recyclable.
It is safe to say that now is the perfect time to make sure you have the right tools for your next metal roofing job.
We have great picks for metal roofing, suitable for various metal roof installations from standing seam, metal sheet, tile roofs, metal slate roofs, aluminum, copper, corrugated and others.
- The Best Metal Roofing Tools in 2020:
- Metal Roof Cutting Tools
- Metal Bending Tools
- Riveting and Fastening
- Marking and Measuring Tools
- Safety Equipment
The Best Metal Roofing Tools in 2020:
Metal Roof Cutting Tools
1. Aviation Snips: Left & Right Cuts
Aviation snips are the hand-tools you’re probably going to use most often when cutting metal roofing. Most common cut you’ll do with these is the 1’’ depth for preparing the ends of the panels.
Best Aviation Snips: Midwest MWT-6510C
We highly recommend the “Midwest Aviation Snip Set” for both left and right cuts. The green snips go to the right and the reds to the left.
What we like about these sheet metal snips is that you can cut across a flat piece of steel without the steel getting in your way.
They produce clean, comfortable and fast cuts, with less hand force. The compound leverage increases handle force by 8x to help you cut easily and precise without hand fatigue.
They feature an ergonomic, slip-resistant grip to prevent finger slippage and protect you from cuts.
2. Straight Cut Snips
Best Straight Cut Aviation Snips: Stanley FatMAX
The Stanley FatMax straight cut compound action, can cut up to 18-gauge cold rolls or 23-gauge stainless steel.
The compound action makes your job easier and faster, the grips are ergonomic and slip-resistant for extra protection.
We like that the serrated cutting blades are durable and long-lasting. Ideal for cutting sheet metal roofing, wire, drip edge, flashing, aluminum, thick metal sheets and more.
3. Utility Knife
Best Utility Knife: Milwaukee Fastback with Blade Storage
A basic yet very useful cutting tool is the utility knife.
To obtain the maximum performance, you should use it with some high-quality, heavy-duty utility hook blades.
The Milwaukee blades are rugged, highly-durable and can cut through thicker roofing materials.
A basic utility knife can also be used for cutting lighter materials, like bubble wrap and for scoring.
4. 12-inch Andies
Best Straight Cut Tin Snip: Malco 12-inch Andy
Another useful sheet metal tools are the 12-inch Andies.
This Andy Malco tool looks like long scissors. With a longer design, this roofing cutting tool is made to makes straight cuts, and mild curved cuts.
Comes in handy when cutting long metal stuff. After extended used, the blades can be resharpened or replaced.
5. Milwaukee Single Cut Shears
Best shears for metal roofing: Milwaukee Metal Shear Single Cut
As the name suggests, the single cut shears make single cuts.
These metal roofing shears are really fast and cut through flat metal.
While this tool is fast, the quality of the finished cut might be not as clean on both sides as it would be when cutting with a double cut shear.
A great feature is that it comes with 360-degree rotating head. The tool is comfortable to operate, with an ergonomic design.
6. Milwaukee Cordless Double Cuts Shear
Best Double Cuts Shear: Milwaukee Metal Shear Double Cuts
Up against a flat surface, they will sheer metal at any length.
It makes two cuts at the time, and the tool exit the material out leaving a thin strip of steel that can be really dangerous. Make sure you use your protective roofing gloves.
Runs through your material and provides clean cuts on both sides.
7. Malco Turbo Shear Cutting Attachment
Best Metal Shear Attachment: Malco TS1 Turbo Shear 20 Gauge
This attachment will turn your regular drill into a power shear.
It easily attaches to a cordless drill and will cut metal roofing like butter.
Easy to use, beautiful clean cuts and you can cut along a panel really fast. Excellent to have in your tool bag.
8. Makita Profile Nibbler
Best Sheet Metal Nibbler: Makita JN1601 5 Amp 16 Gauge Nibbler
A nibbler is a high-quality professional cutting tool that works in a fantastic manner.
It also one of the best way to cut corrugated metal roofing.
It punches little pieces of steel at high speed to make nice clean cuts.
Somehow this unique way of cutting protects the sheets from edge rust.
What you might not like is that they leave niblets and go everywhere, they can go in your shoes and all over the place. Don’t use it on finished products cause it can scratch the surface.
Sheet metal nibbler drill attachments are also available on the market.
Metal Bending Tools
1. Metal Brake
Metal brake machines allow you to bend and cut sheet metal with ease. If you take care of them, these brakes can last you a lifetime.
Best Metal Siding Break: Tapco PRO 19
We like Tapco PRO 19 sheet metal brakes because they’re efficient, lightweight, time-savers, easy to work and come with a 180 degrees hemming capacity, and with a unique and effective locking system.
What makes the locking system more efficient than others is the fact that it uses pulling motion instead of pushing motion. The pulling motion feels more natural, allowing you to work closer to the brake.
This Tapco model can bend and cut galvanized steel, copper coil, aluminum, and other metal stock. Ideal for making panels, sidings, trim gutter pieces, drip edges, flashings, wall panels and more.
Runner-up: Van Mark II TrimMaster Siding Break
Another favorite is the Van Mark II metal brake system.
It’s reliable, portable, sturdy, and does an excellent job at bending metal up to 180-degrees.
The brake easily bends aluminum, galvanized steel (26 ga), painted steel, roofing copper, zinc, stainless steel. This brake comes with Power Lock bar and Powerslot technology to make the bending process easier.
With the Van Mark, you have to push the upper handle to lock down, which doesn’t feel natural.
Van Mark II vs Tapco PRO:
1. Van Mark is a bit heavier than the Tapco.
2. Tapco locking system feels more natural, it’s easier to use, because it uses pulling motion.
2. Vise Grips
Best Vise Grips: IRWIN VISE-GRIP Locking Sheet Metal Tool
Ideal for bending, forming and crimping metal sheets quickly.
We like the IRWIN Vise-Grips tool – it’s reliable, highly-durable, easy to operate.
Made from a high-quality heat treated alloy designed to withstand abuse.
The jaws are flat and 3 inches wide, making it easy to bend the metal easily. You also have the option to adjust how much pressure you want for the job.
3. Hand Seamer
Best Seamer Tong: MIDWEST Seamer Tong Sheet Metal Bender
Hand seamers are common tools used in the process of bending metal in small increments.
We like Midwest metal roofing tongs – they feature little notches on the side, each represents a quarter inch making it easier to bend the ends with precise measurements.
When used with folding bars, these hand seamers for metal roofing also helpful to completely fold the panel at 180 degrees. Sheet metal tongs come in multiple shapes and sizes.
4. Panel Bending Tools | Folding Bars
Best Sheet Metal Folding Tool: Malco 12 in. Folding Tool
The Malco bending tool is an ideal way to hem sheet panels.
This folding bar tool is mostly used at the bottom and at the top of panels.
This metal roof hemming tool is used to make long, clean and uniform bends in sheet metal.
5. Metal Crimping Tool
Best Crimping Tool: MALCO C5R Crimper
This Malco 5-Blade crimper tool is used in duct, gutter or downspouts work, allowing you to create leak-proof connections between two round pipes.
With the crimping motions around a duct, you will end up with a clean professional crimp ready to facilitate a tight fit, secure connection.
6. Standing Seam Drip Edge Folding Tool
Best Standing Seam Edge Folding Tool: Malco DEFT1 18 Inch USA
This Malco standing seam roof bending tool is designed to help you fold the end of the panels quick and easy.
Drip edge tools like this one, seam 1 inch and 1 ½ inch.
The Malco model is a sturdy seamer, highly-durable able to bend up to 22-gauge steel.
7. Standing Seam Hand Seamer
Best Standing Seam Seamerl: RAU 111 – First Stage Hand Seamer
RAU 111 is one of our favorite standing seam roof seamers.
It can seam up to 24-gauge metal. While expensive, this tool speeds up the bending process and will make your finishings look clean and professional.
This standing seam roof tool is designed to easily and professionally close the first stage of a standing seam profile.
Riveting and Fastening
1. Electric Rivet Gun
Best Electric Riveter: Milawukee Cordless Rivet Gun 2550-20 M12
The M12 rivet tool from Milwaukee is a reliable cordless tool, compact, comfortable and easy to operate. Can withstand long and tough projects.
The grip and the overall design is ergonomic, saving muscle effort by over 60%.
It delivers easy, fast and high-quality riveting. To perfect a metal roof installation, use the rivet gun with ⅛ inch drill bits.
2. Hand Held Rivet Gun
Best Hand Riveter: Stanley MR100CG Contractor Grade Riveter
We like the Stanley Hand Riveter, it’s a straightforward tool compatible with a wide range of rivet sizes. It’s a well-built, rugged tool, made to last. Comes with a removable ejector spring, and it’s very easy to squeeze.
You’ll commonly use it on ridge lines, trim along sidewalls and end walls.
3. Metal Sheet Hammer
Best Hammer for Metal Roofing: Estwing Tinner’s Hammer
It’s durable, versatile, made in the USA and is designed with a patented shock reduction grip.
All these features make it one of the best sheet metal hammer.
A must-have roofing tool is a classic hammer. This hatchet is a very popular tool used by roofers, contractors and serious DIY-ers around the world.
4. Screwgun with Adjustable Torque Control
Best screw gun for metal roofing: DEWALT DCF622B 20V MAX XR Versa-ClutchTM
For a proper fastener installation, you need to use a correct metal roof screw gun with adjustable torque control.
We highly recommend the Dewalt DCF622B 20V MAX XR with Versa-Clutch. The adjustable torque will prevent the tool from overscrewing, and will not damage the material or the fasteners.
It works really great and is excellent for metal roofing installation, plus it’s really quiet.
Impact tools are not recommended for metal roofing fastening!
They deliver too much power, tend to overscrew, can damage the screw’s surface, can break screws, can damage painted surfaces, leading to early corrosion and leaks.
Marking and Measuring Tools
1. Tape Measures
A must-have tool which will help you with accurate measurements is a tape measure.
We like the Stanley FatMax measuring tape because it’s precise and highly durable made to resist tough abuse.
Another great feature is the grippy rubberized impact-ready case.
2. Sheet Metal Scriber
Best Metal Scribe Tool: Malco A60 USA Made
A simple tool smartly designed with a adjustable slider and ruler on both sides.
Helpful to scribe a pattern you want to seam or cut.
Ideal to make sure you are precise and consistent.
3. Chalk Lines
4. Marking Pencil
Sheet Marking Pencil: DIXON Carpenter Pencils Hard Graphite
A sheet metal pencil is always handy to have on you, especially used as a marking tool, measuring tool – to help you make accurate cuts and bends every single time.
Divider Scriber: Malco 24 24″ Radius Divider
A helpful basic tool is a divider, also known as caliper, used to scribe lines or perfect circles into the sheet metal.
This helps with marking and accurate measurements.
6. 24 and 12-inch squares
Best Metal Roofing Square: Stanley 45-910 24 inch
24-inch and 12-inch squares are helpful measuring tools that are used when preparing panels for the valley.
Before getting started with the installation, make sure you have the squares ready for leveling.
7. Straight Edge
Best Straight Edge: Swanson Tool AE144
A very important measuring tool is the metal straight edge. You will use it a lot especially for long markings on the panels, especially in the valley.
1. Safety Cut-Resistant Work Gloves
Best Metal Roofing Gloves: Milwaukee Level 3 Dipped Cut-Resistant
When working with metal, you need to protect your hands from cuts, scratches, and other injuries by wearing cut resistant gloves.
Whether you’re cutting or handling steel, make sure you wear protective gloves.
These Milwaukee work gloves are excellent for metal roofers, coming with Level 3 Cut Resistance.
They are breathable, comfortable and allows for high-dexterity.
2. Slip-resistant Shoes
Best Metal Roofing Shoes: Thorogood American Heritage Moc Toe
Shoes are extremely important when coming to roofing safety.
Metal roofs are more slippery than others, that’s why you need to be extra cautious and wear shoes with non-slip outsoles. The most slip-resistant material for an outsole is rubber.
The soles should also be flat for a better balance, and preferably should be white to avoid leaving colored marks on the rooftop surface. Go with lightweight and comfortable shoes.
If your budget allows you, choose a professional pair, like Thorogood.
If you’re not ready to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional pair, go with more affordable choices.
Like hiking shoes like Merells, or with casual shoes like Reebok, New Balance, Nike, Adidas.
If you want to see our favorite shoes for walking on metal, check our article on the best metal roofing shoes in 2020.
3. Fall Protection System
Best Fall Protection Kit: Guardian Fall Bucket Kit
Wearing a safety harness is crucial when working at heights.
We recommend the Guardian Fall Protection bucket kit, which comes with pretty much everything you need: harness, ropes, lanyards, anchors and more.
For more safety gear recommendations, read our guide on the best safety gear and equipment in 2020.
Conclusion: We hope we helped you find the right metal roofing tools for your next job. To support us, we would love if you could share this article with your fellow friends, and write us your thoughts in the comments below this article.