How to Cut Slate Roof Tiles

Updated February 21, 2017

Slate is a natural stone product that comes in various shapes, colours and sizes and is often used as a roof covering. It is hard and durable, especially as the thickness increases. Just as with other roofing materials, you must cut the slate tiles along the sides and bottom edges of the roof to make them fit. Since slate is hard, specialised cutting techniques must be used to prevent it from breaking and chipping.

Lay the slate tile on a flat surface and use a tape measure to determine where it must be cut to fit properly onto the roof. Draw a line with a pencil along the tape measure to create a cut line.

Set a slate cutter on the table and lift up the blade handle as far as it will go.

Insert the slate tile onto the base of the slate cutter and position the pencil line directly under the blade. Push the edge of the tile forward as far into the cutter as possible until it touches the hinge between the blade and the cutter base.

Grasp the handle of the cutter blade and push it downward with firm pressure, using a slow, even stroke. Continue pushing down until the blade cuts through the slate tile by 2 to 3 inches.

Raise the blade again and push the tile forward toward the hinge until it stops. Lower the handle again to cut through the new section of slate tile. Continue cutting and pushing the tile forward until you have cut all the way through the tile.

Remove the tile pieces from the cutter. Discard the part of the slate tile that you do not need.


Another way to cut slate tile is to score the cut line with a utility knife. Place the tile on a work table with the score line hanging off 1/2 to 1 inch. Hit the scored line with the edge of a trowel to break off the section of slate that you no longer need.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Slate cutter
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.