How To Cut Front Panels

How and the best way to cut vinyl and metal siding

When facing the front of a building (front and basement) with siding panels, the material must be adjusted to the required dimensions and configurations. With the help of a special cutting tool, longitudinal and transverse cuts, curly cuts, angular cuts are made. To make a high-quality fit or cut, you need to know how and how to cut vinyl siding and metal. For such work, ordinary hand and power tools are used. There are also universal fixtures on the construction market that are suitable for any type of siding panels.

How to cut metal siding

How To Cut Front Panels

How to cut metal siding panels is described in the installation instructions. But what devices to use should be understood in more detail. The main thing is to choose such a tool with which you will get an even cut without chipping. The absence of mechanical damage to the polymer coating on the edge excludes the manifestation of corrosive changes, thereby prolonging the service life of the metal outer skin.

Mechanical processing of metal siding panels can be performed:

  • Jigsaw. The device is easy to operate, but it also requires experience and skill in work. When cutting metal siding, a special metal blade with fine teeth is used. T101 is best suited. The main disadvantage of the device is the same as that of circular saws: a solid and even base is required for work, which the siding itself does not have. To prevent damage to the surface, it is advisable to use construction tape, which is placed along the edge and removed after the work is done. Fine-toothed blade creates an even edge but leaves a burr. A small edge is trimmed with the scissors.
  • Angle Grinder. This device is the most convenient for cutting siding panels. It is not recommended to use powerful devices with an abrasive wheel, as the metal becomes very hot during the cutting process. Use the angle grinder at low speed. The disc should be selected with a thickness of 1.5 mm and a diameter of 12.5 mm. The machine makes high-quality end and longitudinal cuts.
  • Hacksaw for metal. The simplest tool for a cross cut. Due to insufficient reach of the hacksaw, work in the longitudinal direction becomes more difficult. But, even if you turn the canvas, the process will be very difficult. The disadvantage of using a hacksaw is that it is time consuming, since numerous manual manipulations have to be performed.
  • Cutting shears. Such a power tool is used to cut block house siding (under a log), Shipboard. The disadvantage is that electric shears cannot cope with the lock and manual counterparts are used for a full cut.
  • Manual scissors for metal. Two types of scissors are suitable for working with metal siding: combined and trimming. The tool always comes in a pair of left and right, which are alternately used when passing bends.
  • Multifunctional cutter. Stationary and hand-held circular saws speed up the cutting of siding (this prescription is given in the instructions for the devices). Backward-facing fabric softens the cut and makes the edge cleaner. A good edge is obtained by moving the tool slowly. A multi-function cutter is best suited for end cutting a metal panel. Experts recommend the IVT MPC-135 model with the special IVT MPCB-135 disc.

When choosing circular saws for working with siding, you need to be aware of possible problems:

  • With a radial saw, it is difficult to make cross and longitudinal cuts, as well as end cuts.
  • When using a hand-held circular saw, difficulties arise with any cut.
  • Stationary models are suitable for cross and longitudinal cuts. But in order to perform such work, you will need to do the manipulation of turning the panels at least 2 times. On such equipment, end cuts are not made and beads on the upper lock are not processed. Therefore, additional use of metal scissors is required. It is also impossible to carry out a drink under the window opening.
  • Inconvenience during work is created by the supporting metal platform, which the saws are equipped with. It covers the siding surface and does not show how the cutting process is going.
  • A significant drawback is the large weight of the device. The lack of support under the cut-off part causes the panel to bend under pressure, and the cut line goes to the side.

You can work with a professional tool if you have sufficient experience and skill, otherwise it is very difficult to get a high-quality and even cut.

How to cut vinyl siding

Mechanical processing of vinyl panels has its own characteristics. The choice of tool depends not only on the size and number of teeth on the panel, but also on the ambient temperature. At low temperatures, the material becomes more vulnerable to edge chipping. Such errors cannot be allowed, since during further operation, cracks will go from small chips. To work with PVC panels, special panels with fine teeth are used, the number of which should be from 12 to 16 pieces per 2.5 cm segment.For a Bosch power tool, it is quite difficult to find a cutting element with the appropriate requirements.

Cutting tools:

  • Electric shears. It is convenient to use a power tool to perform longitudinal cuts and shape cutting only on a flat plane of plastic siding. Difficulties in work arise when the cutting element hits the bend and the top lock on the panel.
  • Metal scissors. It is best to use a universal model such as the MALCO M12. Hand tools are only suitable for work in warm weather: in the cold, cracks form in the places where the blades meet.
  • Garden pruner. It is recommended to choose a small option so that you can hold it with one hand. This will be enough for comfortable cutting of panels on site.
  • Angle Grinder. Vinyl siding as well as metal siding, cutting an angle grinder is quite good. Work should be done at low speed to avoid edge melting. For ease of installation, it is preferable to use a small angle grinder.
  • Knife. In the absence of specialized devices, drank under the window opening can be done with a knife with a sharp blade. On the vinyl panel, 2 transverse cuts and 1 notch are made. After that, the cut part is bent to the side along the cut mowing line until it clicks. The disadvantage of a knife is that it cannot rip or end cut. If we consider the power tool by brand, then the leading positions are occupied by the models AEG, Bosch, Kress (Germany), Skill and Black Decker (USA), Makita and Hitachi (Japan).

Comparison of cutting methods for vinyl siding

Vinyl siding always has to be cut during installation. And even despite the fact that detailed instructions are attached to the siding, certain difficulties may arise.

Why problems arise

Choosing a material for exterior decoration of a built house, its owner wants the finishing work to take place with minimal financial costs. Euromet’s specialists advise not to forget that their price includes both the cost of the material itself and the cost of its installation. But at the same time with the question of the price, the owner of the house is concerned about another question: how to make the house, firstly, look beautiful, and secondly, does not require special efforts to maintain its appearance. Vinyl siding is the best finishing material in terms of price, quality and appearance. That is why in recent years there has been a growing popularity of vinyl siding in our country.

As usual, growing demand leads to an increase in supply. If you analyze the situation in the Russian siding market, you can easily calculate that the number of siding manufacturers currently represented on it has increased in just a couple of years by one and a half, or even twice. And the number of firms that undertake its installation has grown even more significantly by 3-4 times. True, the quality of work can vary significantly in different companies. It is even more difficult to judge how many owners of country houses and dachas, trying to save on finishing the house, independently install siding. But we can say with confidence that almost every home owner installing siding without professional help will inevitably face not just difficulties, but real problems. And these problems are primarily associated with sharp siding. One of the reasons for this is the insufficiently detailed and thoughtful instructions drawn up by siding manufacturers. And this omission is difficult to blame siding manufacturers. After all, the overwhelming majority of vinyl siding brands on the Russian market today are products of Western manufacturers. It is quite difficult for them to imagine that the siding will be installed by the owner of the house himself, and not by specially trained professionals. It is clear that professional installers of the Euromet company, in general, do not need instructions for cutting and installing siding. Vinyl siding, in principle, is not designed to be installed by people who are completely unfamiliar with the technology of carrying out this kind of work. Domestic siding manufacturers are not far from the western ones in this regard. The instructions for the installation of siding offered by them are approximately similar to the instructions of foreign manufacturers, since it is on the model of Western ones that they are written.

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Difficulty getting the first one creates a multi-layer lock hook

It is most advisable to turn to siding cutting issues not to manufacturers, but to companies that manufacture tools for working with it. The development of power tools for working with siding is based on a careful study of the mechanical and physical properties of the panels. Naturally, who, if not the developers of the tool, know what cutting methods to use when installing siding. A large number of manufacturers of cutting power tools are represented on the Russian market: German companies Kress, AEG, Bosch, American Skil, Black Decker, Japanese Makita, Hitachi, among the domestic ones it is worth mentioning Bykovskiy Power Tool Plant, Interskol, Izhevsk Mechanical Plant. We will consider the features of cutting siding using Bosch tools. Our choice is easy to explain: the work of the company also includes such a type of activity as demonstrating the capabilities of the tool being produced to both professional specialists and ordinary customers. It is on the advice of Bosch demonstrators, each of whom is a high-class professional, that we built our recommendations. The task that they faced was to explain with specific examples how to cut this or that type of siding, as well as comment on the instructions that the manufacturer attached to it.

Where to cut siding?

Vinyl siding panels are made of PVC using the extrusion method. The finished panels have a length of 2 to 6 meters, each manufacturer has its own length standard. According to Euromet’s specialists, each panel is equipped with a latch-lock along the lower edge, and a perforated edge with holes for nails or self-tapping holes runs along the upper edge of the panel, with the help of which the siding is fastened. The second half of the castle is located in the same part. There are also cutouts in the side ends of the panel, which are made so that the panels are attached to each other when connected with an overlap.

When installing siding, the sections to be installed can be of any length. If the wall length is not a multiple of the panel length, it is obvious that the outermost panel will have to be cut to the required size. When it comes to finishing the gable, the panel has to be cut not across, but at a certain angle corresponding to the angle of inclination of the roof. And here the first difficulty arises: after all, cutting off a part of the panel, we together with it remove the end cuts that are necessary for fixing the panels. These cuts will have to be redone on the remainder of the panel. It is easier to do this if the lower part of the panel is cut off, and much more difficult if the upper part of the panel is removed, which is multilayer.

Siding has to be cut not only when the length of the outer panel is excessive. Situations also arise when the width of the panel is excessive, this occurs in places where the wall is connected to a window or to the overhang of the roof. With the roof, the panel is easier to cut along. But the panels installed at the junction with the window have to be cut out in accordance with the window opening. For this, one longitudinal section and two transverse.

Summarizing the above, the specialists of the Euromet company conclude that three main situations can arise when cutting siding. The first need to cut the panel just across or across at a certain angle, the second. Cut the panel lengthwise, and the third. Cut the panel and restore the cutouts on its end part.

Use for Cutting Vinyl Panels Reciprocating Saw (3)

Which tool to use?

If you refer to the instructions for installing siding, then most manufacturers in their recommendations are quite categorical. For cutting siding, they suggest using an electric saw or jigsaw, metal scissors, a knife, a hacksaw for metal. Let’s consider each of these options.

Used for window edging (6)

Electric saw. Most manufacturers recommend using a fine-toothed saw to cut the siding. However, even a quick glance at the assortment of the same Bosch, which offers one of the richest selections of power tools, shows that there is simply no such saw in it. It is possible that some manufacturer will be able to find a hand-held circular saw with the required teeth, but in practice it is rather difficult to perform both a longitudinal and a cross section with its help.

There is no need to talk about end cuts. With a stationary saw, rip and cross cuts can be made, but end cuts are problematic again. When cutting, the panel has to be turned over several times, and in the area of ​​the upper lock you cannot do without scissors. It is also impossible to cut a hole in the desired shape for a window using a saw.

It looks somewhat strange that the tool is not suitable, in general, for cutting siding, nevertheless, almost all manufacturers offer to use it with enviable persistence. They even accompany their recommendations with a drawing in which cutting with a saw looks very reliable and, in the eyes of a stranger with the question, is not difficult.

And only the eye of a professional will be able to notice that in the figure the proportions between the dimensions of the siding panel and the saw are simply violated. The problem with using a saw is that the person who is cutting is not able to see how the process is going on: the support platform of the saw obscures the view of the cutting line.

And if no support is placed under the siding, the cut line will inevitably bend. As for a saw with large teeth, it is also not recommended to use it: our experiments have shown that chips are formed, and cracks will inevitably go along the panel in the cold.

Jigsaw. For cutting siding, it can be used with some caveats. This is because the siding panel is not solid enough to support cutting by itself. And the presence of an even and solid support is a prerequisite for working with a jigsaw. When you try to cut the siding with a jigsaw, you will inevitably come across the fact that the siding panel does not rest on anything during the cutting process, especially if you need to cut off a small part of it.

The only blade size that, according to Euromet’s experts, can be suitable for cutting siding is T101. The main purpose of this very fine tooth blade is for cutting laminate. You shouldn’t even try to cut the siding with other canvases, they inevitably break the panels. With a jigsaw with the recommended size of the canvas, it is quite simple to make longitudinal and transverse cuts, but it is completely impossible to cope with the cuts at the ends. Another point when using a jigsaw is that the cut is largely ragged, so the jigsaw can only be used in warm weather.

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Hacksaw for metal. As siding manufacturers assure, you can cut siding with a hacksaw in any weather, giving it any desired shape. Having made a number of experiments in this direction, we can say that the hacksaw copes with the notorious ends, but each cut takes more than 5 minutes, and the panel has to be turned over several times. As for the cross-sections, the length of the working blade for their execution is clearly not enough.

Perhaps with some persistence and dexterity, you will still be able to cut the siding across. But it will take a lot of time, because you will have to cut with short strokes. But at an angle, with all your desire, you will not cut the siding with a hacksaw. Soffits of the panel for processing roof overhangs, you should not even try to cut it with a hacksaw, even at right angles.

Metal scissors. For cutting siding, they can only be used in warm weather; at low temperatures, siding will inevitably crack. You should be very careful when choosing scissors: some models can crack in the warm season. Referring back to the instructions, you can get the following information from it: when cutting siding with scissors, it is not recommended to completely close their edges. We are advised to start cutting siding from the upper edge, where the fastener is located. But what happens in practice? Having started cutting from the upper, multi-layer part, a person will inevitably make certain efforts, and when this part is cut through, the movement of the edges of the scissors can no longer be stopped.

As a result, the ends of the scissors close together and the siding will crack. To follow the recommendations given in the instructions, you will either have to practice for a long time (on your own siding), or you must have tremendous physical strength. However, common sense helps to solve the problem very simply start cutting the panel from the bottom side.

If you try to cut vinyl siding with scissors, you will encounter the fact that in those places where the panel bends, under your efforts the siding crumples, and in cold weather it completely cracks. And, of course, again the end cuts can be made, showing a certain ingenuity. But along the panel, it is easy and convenient to cut with scissors until the cutting line reaches the bend of the panel.

Knife. Let’s return to our instruction, which has already provided us with such invaluable help. She advises to first draw a groove on the panel with a knife, and then bend and straighten it several times until it breaks. For flat areas of material, this method is not difficult. For example, to make a drink under a window, you first need to make two cross cuts, attach a ruler, make a long cut with a knife, and then just bend the cut off part, it will gently break off. But you shouldn’t try to cut the siding with a knife in the transverse direction, as well as make end cuts.

Angle Grinder. The majority of siding manufacturers are very hostile to this tool and do not recommend (and some even prohibit) cutting the siding with an angle grinder. According to the manufacturers, this will lead to edge embrittlement and cracking of the panel. It is very rare to find in the installation instructions for siding a mention that an angle grinder can cut siding, but at low speed.

To verify this thesis, we used a 1400 W angle grinder from Bosch. A less powerful unit can also be used. It is only important that the motor winding of the machine is protected from dust, which inevitably appears in large quantities when cutting siding. This dust is very fine and corrosive, and settles on the surface of the processed materials and on clothes. This dust, clogging up in the cracks of the tool, can even cause its failure.

What experiments have shown with an angle grinder? And the fact that siding with its help is perfectly cut both along and across. It is only important to choose a thin disc, in our case it was a disc with a diameter of 125 mm and a thickness of 1.5 mm, as well as a certain rotation speed. Difficulties arise only when making end cuts, since in this case you have to work on weight, which is both inconvenient and even dangerous. It is very difficult to cut off the bead in the upper part of the panel when making an end cut, it is important to stop the angle grinder in time and not cut through the entire blade.

Straight grinder. Such a tool is still little known in our country. One of the models that has appeared in the Russian market in recent years. Dremel 400 digital (Bosch). It is light (weighing only half a kilogram), compact and easy-to-use device, its power, despite its small size, reaches 140 W. The rotation frequency can be adjusted from 5 to 33 thousand revolutions per minute. The convenience of using the device lies in the fact that it can work without problems on weight. If you take a thin cut-off wheel, even with end wheels it can be done in just a couple of minutes, and the cut is extremely clean and accurate. If the required precision is not achieved when cutting the parts, the final trim can be performed on the already installed panel. However, you should not perform longitudinal and transverse cutting with this tool, its power is clearly not enough for this, it is better to use an angle grinder.

Tools not listed in the manufacturer’s instructions. Siding manufacturers, of course, listed in their instructions a far from complete list of cutting tools. In addition to the above, we also tested a reciprocating saw and electric shears for cutting metal. The reciprocating saw has shown itself not from the best side, its platform when cutting must abut against a hard surface, which is difficult to achieve on a construction site. As for the electric shears, with their help it is very convenient to cut panels in the longitudinal direction and make curly cuts. But it is impossible to work with scissors on curved surfaces, since in this case it is not possible to arrange them in the right way parallel to the surface. Scissors will not be able to cut the multi-layer top of the panel.

Conclusions

Having tested all the cutting tools recommended and not recommended by siding manufacturers, the Euromet specialists came to a unanimous conclusion: the angle grinder, which is unanimously rejected by almost all manufacturers of vinyl panels, is the optimal tool for cutting siding. Our experiments, we hope, will relieve you of the need to experiment on your own and allow you to immediately apply the best method.

Cutter

This tool has proven itself well due to its low cost. Perfect for home use.

The tool has excellent performance and the cut surface looks smooth. It should also be highlighted the fact that no special physical effort is required to carry out the cutting. A huge advantage can also be called its compactness, in which it does not take up much space during its storage.

Hacksaw

A hacksaw is considered more practical to use, and it does not matter whether it is for metal or for wood. The only requirement when using a hacksaw for wood is the presence of small teeth, which should not be divorced, because this way the surface of the material that needs to be cut into pieces is destroyed. Such a tool is often used for cross-cutting.

The advantage of this tool is the ability to cut multiple panels at the same time. For this operation, you will need to stack the material.

For convenience when cutting, it is better to have the planks facing the performer. When subjecting the length of the panels to a decrease, care must be taken not to apply enormous forces when pressing the tool, because this can break the PVC sheets.

How to cut PVC panels: tool selection

  1. Application of panels
  2. Cutting rules
  3. What is needed?
  4. Cutter
    • Hacksaw
    • Jigsaw, circular and angle grinder
    • Knife

    Undoubtedly, tiles are considered to be a classic material for finishing a bathroom, however, PVC panels have an increased installation speed, and additional care of this material is not required, because neither soap nor water is deposited on their surface. Initially, plastic panels worked well due to their ease of installation. To carry out such work, you will not need help from specialists and a complex tool.

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    Cutting rules

    For safe work, you must clearly follow the following rules:

    • When working with panels that were brought in from the cold, you must wait a short period of time. This action is necessary in order to warm the material. If you do not heed the advice, then the plastic panels will break during the cutting process, thereby losing their neat appearance. There are often cases when cracks appear on the surface that is cut along.
    • In order to obtain several planks of the same length, it is necessary to lay them on at least 2 supports. This protects against sagging or displacement. It is recommended to rest the edge of the element that is not pruned against the wall. Thanks to this action, you can secure against their shift.
    • You can make the process easier by marking with a pencil or felt-tip pen.
    • It is necessary to cut correctly with the wrong side of the panel down, because during processing under the influence of a load, the profile of the strip changes and causes some inconvenience during the installation process. Microcracks often appear on the front surface, which appear in the future.
    • When using a power tool, use protective goggles and gloves that can protect against debris and sawdust flying in different directions during the cutting process.

    Application of panels

    In the process of sheathing, it is necessary to initially determine the tool used for cutting the plastic panels. This material is widely used for decorating balconies or bathrooms, because it has an excellent set of properties. It is also impossible to forget about its practicality, which makes it even more popular. Plastic panels also attract buyers with their low cost and excellent appearance.

    Each owner can independently finish the bathroom at home and at his discretion, because there are a huge variety of panel options that can be used for this. All PVC panels are manufactured with a standard length of 3 m.This is not always practical, because it needs to be cut into pieces to obtain the desired size.

    What is needed?

    Currently, a huge number of tools have been created, thanks to which it is possible to shorten the length of a particular material. When working with plastic panels, it is necessary to take into account many factors, among which the main ones are practicality, cutting speed, surface quality, as well as ease of use.

    Than cutting panels, effortlessly!

    PVC panels lend themselves well to cutting. But this business has its own subtleties. In the article we will tell you how and what to cut plastic (wall) products.

    Let’s start with the main point, plastic panels can be cut up and down. It depends on which in a particular case it is better to cut the panel. This can be done with the following tools.

    Angle grinder (angle grinder)

    Not every angle grinder is suitable for cutting panels. It should be small so that you can easily hold it with one hand. You can’t use a large angle grinder.

    The thinnest disc of 0.8 mm, 1 mm or a maximum of 1.2 mm is installed in the angle grinder. The disc is used ordinary for metal.

    An angle grinder gives a strikingly even cut, without chipping and, as they say, snot among the people.

    The angle grinder does not tear plastic. It doesn’t matter what part of the panel you cut and in what weather. Whether it’s cold or hot, using an angle grinder will give you a smooth cut.

    With an angle grinder, you can literally cut off millimeters from the wall panel.

    The disadvantages include the fact that it is heavier than a jigsaw and even more so a knife. But the biggest disadvantage of an angle grinder gives a lot of fine dust. She hits all the places.

    Universal cutter

    The multi-cutter has many names. He has many manufacturers. When we bought our tool, one of the leading manufacturers was Bosch.

    The tool is not cheap. But having bought it, you will not be able to get by with something else.

    The cutter, unlike all other tools, oscillates.

    We mainly use two main types of files: wide 25mm40mm and narrow 10mm20mm.

    Very often during installation, it is necessary to cut the PVC panel in place. Often this can only be done with a Bosch cutter. No other tool can crawl into difficult places.

    The cutter greatly simplifies and speeds up work. You can cut wall products along and across. You can even cut the top or bottom layer of the panel.

    Let’s talk about the cons. The price of the tool and consumables for it goes through the roof. For example, a jigsaw file will cost 100r, and a file for a cutter 800r. Files quickly deteriorate.

    Jigsaw

    It is widely used in construction and decoration. Features of use:

    • The tool is provided with a file. For working with PVC panels it is necessary to choose a cutting element with small teeth. At the moment, there are special files for plastic of famous brands on sale. An alternative can be a metal file, but its small teeth clog very quickly.

    When working with plastic, it is advisable to insert a cutting blade with the smallest tooth in the jigsaw

    • It is better to cut smooth parts with a jigsaw, since the paw must reliably rest on the base, otherwise the tool will begin to hit and jump out of the hands. That is why it is not suitable for sawing double break panels.
    • All work is performed on a rigid base. The long section should be held by yourself or asked by an assistant. The area for the movement of the file must be completely free.
    • The speed is selected individually, but the optimal number of revolutions is above average (depending on brand 4 or 5 on the body).
    • Difficulties can arise when working with the main part of the panel and the lock connection with fixing holes. If the material is made from cheap raw materials, this area is often damaged.

      Vinyl panels are cut at high speed, supported on a rigid base

      An electric jigsaw can be effective and can cut the part to length if necessary. For this, it is supplied with a special holding device, set to the desired size.

      Jigsaw

      This tool can be called basic. A jigsaw is good for everyone, it has a minimum of flaws. You can cut the panels up and down. You can cut shapes with ovals and other broken things.

      The jigsaw has a special feature. It tears the edge of the panel in places where very little remains to cut. At this time, very often the panels burst (especially in cold weather).

      Therefore, it is worth using a file with a minimum tooth. For ourselves, we have chosen a Bosch metal blade with a 0.8 mm tooth. This file will protect you as much as possible from a torn cut.

      If the jigsaw is working at high speeds, you can cut with such a file very quickly. This file is for metal, it does not dull from cutting plastic products.

      The main advantage of the jigsaw is its versatility. Cut PVC panels, you can both along and across. In any spatial position.

      The minus of the jigsaw is weight, the presence of a wire. Ragged cut with wrong blade.

      Shears for cutting metal

      It is necessary to use scissors for PVC siding very carefully.

      When choosing scissors for metal, their type should be taken into account, since there are right, left and straight models

    • Works are carried out in warm weather. This is true for all instruments as vinyl becomes brittle at low temperatures.
    • Scissors are only suitable for medium density panels, not too hard or cheap.
    • The cut is performed in the same way as when working with metal, only a part of the blades is involved in the process, without completely closing. Otherwise, there is a high probability of a crack.
    • Difficulties arise when trimming complex shapes and when working with the upper locking part of single-fracture parts, since it has a thickened bend.

    Cutting vinyl panels with metal scissors is quite difficult, and your hands quickly get tired

    Such a tool takes significantly longer than the previous version, but the result will not meet expectations.