Asphalt Shingle Cutting: How to Choose the Right Saw Blade Complete Guide

Have you ever wondered which saw blade is the best for cutting asphalt shingles? With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming. But worry not — this complete guide will help you learn how to choose the right saw blade for the job. You’ll have your roof repairs completed in no time!

The choice of saw blade for asphalt shingle installation can make a big difference in the final results. A quality saw blade, correctly chosen for the type of asphalt shingle you’re cutting, will save you time and money by making the job easier and more efficient. Before choosing a saw blade for your project, be sure to read our complete guide to selecting the right saw blade for asphalt shingle installation.

In this guide, we give an overview of the materials used in asphalt shingles so that you can choose a suitable saw blade based on material hardness and abrasiveness. We also discuss different types of blades available and help you select the right size and specifications for your project requirements. Finally, we provide information on proper care and maintenance tips to keep your saw blade in optimum condition. After reading this guide, you’ll be well-equipped with knowledge to ensure success with any asphalt shingle cutting project!

Types of Saw Blades for Asphalt Shingle Cutting

When it comes to cutting asphalt shingles, you have several saw type options. Each type has its own nuances and may require additional skill or tool knowledge. Here’s a look at the different saws you may choose to use and some tips on how to choose the right one.

Circular Saws: Circular saws are a common choice for cutting asphalt shingle. They are usually available in medium-grade carbide blades that can make straight-line cuts of various depths, depending on your shingle thickness. The downside is that you need to be sure of the depth you need so that you don’t cut too deep which can result in chipping of your shingles.

Jigsaw Blades: Jigsaw blades work very well on asphalt singles and can be used with portable jigsaws or stationary tabletop units. These blades offer a high degree of accuracy compared to other saw types but can be less powerful than circular saws when cutting tough materials such as thicker shingles or denser types of asphalt roofs. A slower speed is recommended for jigsaws for greater control and accuracy when cutting shingles, though speeds vary greatly depending on blade size and material being cut.

Reciprocating Saw Blades: A reciprocating saw is one of the most powerful options when it comes to cutting asphalt shingles and offers excellent flexibility when making angled cuts, as well as curves due their more aggressive blade profiles that allow for easier carving through tough materials like roof tiles and heavy-duty single sheets. However, these blades wear much more quickly than other options due their thin profile design which requires frequent blade changes when tackling larger jobs involving tougher materials or thicknesses.

Circular saw blades

Circular saw blades, often the first choice when cutting asphalt shingles, come in several configurations and with a variety of features. The right saw blade to use depends on what type of cut you are making and how thick the material is.

For general asphalt shingle cutting, a standard circular saw blade with medium teeth and a hook angle of five to fifteen degrees is ideal. It can cut thick asphalt shingles easily and quickly in both straight or curved cuts. Blades with fewer teeth will give you a smoother finish but take longer to complete the job, whereas a blade with more teeth will have faster cutting speed but rougher edges.

Another option for circular saw blades is specialized roofing blades which feature modified hook angles from 0-5° and high hook angles from 25°-45°. These blades reduce the buildup that often occurs when using standard circular blades. They are specifically designed for cutting asphalt shingle roofs effectively and efficiently.

To get the best results when cutting asphalt shingles, be sure to select an appropriate blade for your machine type, as well as match it correctly to the size of your task – bigger tasks can handle bigger blades while small jobs will require a smaller one. Lastly, always take safety precautions when operating power tools – wear safety glasses at all times!

Reciprocating saw blades

Reciprocating saw blades are the perfect choice for cutting asphalt shingles, thanks to their versatility and abrasive nature. Available in a wide range of sizes and styles, they are optimized to produce clean cuts with minimal effort. When purchasing reciprocating saw blades, consider the saw blade length, material type, number of teeth per inch (TPI), and tip constructions.

The ideal saw blade length is determined by your Sawzall model. Most standard models use 6-inch blades suitable for cutting up to 2-3 inches in thickness. For thicker asphalt shingles, you may want to opt for a longer blade such as 9 inches or 12 inches. The material type should also be taken into consideration when choosing the right size; metal cutting blades can break quickly when used on asphalt shingles, so it’s best to opt for one specifically designed for cuttings masonry or wood materials such as a bi-metal blade.

The number of teeth per inch (TPI) and tip construction of an asphalt shingle cutting blade will determine how clean and easy the cuts will be. The higher the TPI count, usually ranging from 8 to 24 TPI’s, the more aggressive and efficient your cut can be made when trying to penetrate through materials such as asphalt shingles but with shorter life span due to more teeth wearing out quicker than lower TPI tips that are able less aggressive but last much longer between changes out based on their construction style. Common tip constructions include flat ground reciprocal tips (FGR), side set tooth tips (SST), carbo-honing tooth types (CHTT) , among others that each have an intended target usage application they excel at depending on your needs then take into account cost versus benefit before making a sound decision on which one is ideal for you.

Factors to Consider when Choosing the Right Saw Blade

When choosing the right saw blade for asphalt shingle cutting projects, there are several key factors to consider. Here, we’ll discuss the goals of any project and the types of blades available in order to help you make an informed decision when selecting the tool or blade best suited for your needs.

Your project goals should play a large role in deciding what type of saw blade is best suited as certain blades perform better in specific applications. For instance, if you’re looking to cut straight lines with minimal effort and cost, then a reciprocating saw may be ideal. On the other hand, if you need to make intricate cuts or need more precision, a jig saw may be ideal due to its improved accuracy and versatility.

Various types of saw blades are specially designed for different materials with some being more durable than others. For asphalt roofing projects, it’s important to remember that blades require high-quality construction and features such as anti-kickback teeth or tipped carbide teeth which deliver greater strength and longer life when cutting through tough materials like asphalt shingles. Additionally, gauge size should also be taken into account depending on whether thinner or thicker material is being used for the project as thicker materials will require more force and heavier blades with large gauge sizes than thinner materials that can use light weight blades with small gullet size.

Blade Material

Choosing the right saw blade for asphalt shingle cutting is very important, as it can impact the quality of your work and even reduce safety risks. When selecting a saw blade, a number of factors should be taken into account, including blade material. It is important to know what type of material the blades are made out of in order to ensure that they can withstand the heat and friction generated during cutting asphalt shingles.

The most common materials used for saw blades are carbide-tipped metal (typically steel or stainless steel) and diamond. Carbide-tipped metal blades are the cheapest and most widely used – they’re durable enough for single use with asphalt shingles and offer good value for money. However, if you want an even longer-lasting tool, then a diamond-tipped saw blade could be worth the investment. They remain sharp through many uses and require less frequent replacement than other blade types, making them ideal for frequent asphalt shingle cutting jobs.

Number of Teeth

The number of teeth on the saw blade is an important factor when selecting a saw blade for asphalt shingle cutting. A larger number of teeth provides a smoother cut, while a smaller number gives a rougher cut. The size of the saw blade will also affect the number of teeth; blades that are larger tend to have more teeth than smaller ones. Generally, it’s best to choose asphalt shingle blades with 8-10 teeth per inch (TPI) for light-duty cutting, 10-14 TPI for medium-duty cutting and 14 or more TPI for heavy-duty cutting jobs.

Additionally, you should look at the gullets between each tooth; larger gullets make it easier to clear away dust and other materials from a cut created by the blade’s teeth. Also pay attention to the type of material used in constructing the saw blade; some blades are better suited for certain types of asphalt shingles than others are. Look for blades made of high-carbon steel specifically designed to cut asphalt shingles if you need extra durability and strength while working on your project.

Blade Thickness

When selecting the right saw blade for asphalt shingle cutting, the thickness of the blade should be taken into consideration. Asphalt shingles range in thickness from 2mm to 5mm and require a different saw blade for each range of thickness. For example, a thinner saw blade will work better with 2-3mm shingles while a thicker blade is recommended for 4-5mm shingles. It’s important to choose the right saw blade thickness as this will ensure the most effective and accurate cut.

The depth of cut that is needed should also be considered when selecting a saw blade. Depending on the size or length of a single piece within your project, you may need a deeper or thinner saw blade. This can also help you determine if an extra-thick or thin blade is necessary, ensuring proper accuracy and measurements throughout all cuts. Additionally, if an extra-thick or thin saw blade is necessary then it’s important to gauge how much life span these blades will have in comparison to standard blades used with average 3mm asphalt shingles. Ultimately all considerations should be taken into account when selecting an appropriate sawblade for your asphalt shingle cutting project.

How to Choose the Right Saw Blade for Asphalt Shingle Cutting

Selecting the right saw blade for asphalt shingle cutting will depend on several factors, including the type of saw and size of the shingles. Before purchasing a new saw blade, there are a few crucial elements you should consider.

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your saw is equipped with a carbide-tipped or diamond-encrusted blade. Both types offer superior performance and will help ensure smoother cuts on asphalt shingles. You’ll also need to measure the diameter and arbor size (the hole in the center) of your saw in order to determine a suitable blade size for your application.

Additionally, consider the number of teeth on the blade – this is known as “geometry.” For asphalt shingle cutting applications, look for blades with ATB (alternate tooth bevel) or TCG (triple chip grind) geometries – both will provide excellent results when cutting asphalt shingles.

Finally, select a blade with variable pitch which refers to a manufacturer’s design decision about how evenly spaced apart each individual tooth is along the cutting surface edge. The larger variable pitch helps reduce vibrations and noise while creating cleaner cuts on asphalt shingles.

By considering each of these factors before making your purchase, you can be sure that you are selecting an effective tool that will provide optimal performance when cutting asphalt shingles.

BigBlue Blades with Cordless Circular Saw | Smartman Tools

Consider the Roofing Project

When selecting the right saw blade for your asphalt shingle cutting project, it is important to consider the size and scope of the work. A smaller job, such as replacing a few shingles around a chimney flashing, can be completed with the right manual saw and blade. However, if you are planning an extensive asphalt shingle replacement project on a large roof, it may be worth investing in rental equipment or professional tools to reduce waste and speed up your progress.

It is also important to consider the material of your asphalt shingle targets. Generally speaking, most asphalt roofs consist of either organic or fiberglass/asphalt blended shingles. Selecting a wrong blade can cause damage to both materials and result in additional costs or replacement expenses. Likewise, if you are working with hardwood shakes or wood-based shingles, you will need to choose specialty saw blades that are designed for this type of material.

Finally, always wear appropriate safety gear when using power tools on any roof surface— eye protection (goggles), dust masks (preferably rated N95 minimum), gloves and hearing protectors are all strongly recommended when engaging in any type of roof repair activity. Following proper safety guidelines can help ensure that you have a safe experience while also protecting your roof from undue damage during repair activities.

Determine the Type of Saw

Before you can decide which saw blade to use for cutting asphalt shingles, it is important to understand what type of saw you will be using for the job. Different saws require different types of blades to accomplish the same task. For example, a miter saw requires a different blade than a circular saw or reciprocating saw.

Miter Saw: Most miter saws have an adjustable blade and can make angular cuts that are essential when cutting roof shingles. For this type of saw, you should use a 40-tooth combination blade. This type of blade has a high number of teeth that help create smooth cuts; however, the teeth are spread apart instead of closely together like other types of blades. The wide spacing also helps prevent clogging while cutting asphalt shingles.

Circular Saw: When using a circular saw it is important to check your manual before purchasing any blades as these blades come in many sizes and tooth counts. Generally, most circulars use 10-inch 24 tooth carbide- tipped blades that allows for deep plunge cuts with precision accuracy.

Reciprocating Saw: Reciprocating Saws allow for faster and deeper plunge cuts than even the biggest tablesaw or Miter Saw – making them perfect for asphalt shingle cutting. Blades specifically designed for cutting asphalt come in two different types – bi-metal and carbide tipped – allowing users more flexibility depending on their specific needs when it comes to speed versus longevity.

Tips for Safe and Effective Asphalt Shingle Cutting

As with any sawing job that involves cutting materials, it’s important to follow some basic safety tips to prevent serious injury and ensure a clean, professional cut. Here are some tips for safe and effective asphalt shingle cutting.

  • Use the right saw blade for the job: Using a saw blade that’s too small for the material you’re cutting can increase wear on the blade and limit your ability to make clean, efficient cuts. A good rule of thumb is to choose a saw blade that is one inch larger than the shingle material you’re cutting.
  • Wear protective gear: Wear gloves, eye protection and other protective equipment when operating power tools like circular saws. These items can protect you from injury if anything should fly off or break while you’re working.
  • Keep your workspace well-lit: Be sure to work in an area with ample lighting so that you can clearly see what you’re doing at all times. The last thing you want is to inadvertently cut into something else or accidentally cut yourself because of poor visibility.
  • Work slowly: When making any type of cut, it’s important to work slowly and carefully so as not to damage the material or create scrap pieces by overcutting corners or making angled cuts instead of straight ones. Take your time when making cuts—patience pays off here!

Use Protective Gear

The use of a powered cutting tool to cut asphalt shingles is a hazardous job, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions when using cutting saws. Make sure that you always wear approved safety gear, such as eye protection, hearing protection, protective gloves, covering clothes and boots. A dust mask or respirator will also help to protect you from any hazardous particulates that may be generated during the cutting process.

Some saw blades produce large amounts of fine dust, so it is important to make sure that the area where you’ll be working is adequately ventilated and equipped with particle dust collectors if possible. Additionally, when operating the saw blade, it is also wise to stand in an extended position away from the immediate danger area.

Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions

When performing the task of cutting asphalt shingles, it is important to follow the directions of your manufacturer’s instructions. Doing so will help ensure that your own safety and extending the life of the saw blade are established first and foremost.

When shopping for a saw blade to use with asphalt shingles, be sure to pick a quality model specifically designed for this type of cut. Such blades are typically tougher than standard blades; which means they stay sharp longer and offer faster cutting speeds. Asphalt shingle blades feature wide, round teeth that allow each tooth to break off chips quickly and keep you from burning or melting away too much material. It is also important to make sure that you find an arbor (or hub) size compatible with your machine’s arbor size as well as make sure that you’re using a blade for masonry applications if using a masonry machine or grinder for cutting asphalt shingles.

Additionally, note your machine’s RPM or SPM–this can be found in the product manual or printed on most machines–which helps recommend the proper diameter saw blade best suited for when making an asphalt cut.

For stick cutter machines (such as reciprocating saws), the right range is 5500-6500 SPM while conventional circular saws should have 4500-6000 RPM motors and use 8”-10” diameter blades; whereas table and chop saws have much slower motor speeds (in around 3000-4000 RPM) yet require larger 14”-16” diameter blades due to their more powerful motors allowing them to take on thicker materials efficiently and accurately.

Lastly, it is always best practice to inspect your blade prior to each use inspecting any wear areas or indents in order to be assured that this tool is in optimal performance condition before usage commences again; if any rips are present, discard immediately in order for overall workplace safety amidst production activities always remain intact until completion of tasks at hand has been achieved remaining both productive but also secure throughout whole project’s timeline until satisfactory results are achieved in conclusion!

Cut two layers of shingles and nails with a circular saw and BigBlue  Demolition Blade - YouTube


In conclusion, whether you’re cutting asphalt shingles for a new roof installation or for replacement and repair, the most important considerations for choosing the right saw blade are quality, tooth count and size.

High-quality saw blades offer longer life and produce a cleaner cut, while blade types ranging from standard-toothed to segmented should be chosen based on the type of job at hand. For example, if your goal is to minimize waste from small overlap cuts when replacing individual shingles then standard-toothed blades are best for the job. For larger cuts that require a deeper cut into asphalt roofs then segmented blades provide more aggressive cutting action.

Additionally, it is important to select the right size saw blade that matches the arbor size of your power tool in order to get the best results with minimal effort.


What is the best blade for cutting asphalt shingles?

The best blade for cutting asphalt shingles is a carbide-tipped saw blade with a minimum of 24 teeth.

How would you select the correct type of blade for cutting?

To select the correct type of blade for cutting, consider the material to be cut, the type of saw being used, the desired finish quality, and the blade’s tooth count and diameter.

What kind of saw do you use to cut asphalt?

A circular saw or a reciprocating saw with a carbide-tipped blade is commonly used to cut asphalt shingles.

What size do you cut shingles?

Shingles are typically cut to a size of 12 inches by 36 inches.

Can I cut shingles with a saw?

Yes, a saw with a carbide-tipped blade can be used to cut asphalt shingles.

What is the best roof shingle cutter?

A guillotine-style shingle cutter or a power shear is often considered the best roof shingle cutter for their ease of use and precision.

Can you cut asphalt with an abrasive blade?

Yes, an abrasive blade can be used to cut asphalt, but a carbide-tipped blade is generally recommended for its superior performance and longer lifespan.

How do you cut shingle patterns?

To cut shingle patterns, create a template or use a pre-made template and carefully follow the lines with a saw.

How do you cut shingle edges?

To cut shingle edges, use a saw to carefully trim the edges to the desired shape and size.

What tool is used to separate shingles?

A shingle ripper or a flat bar is commonly used to separate shingles during roof repair or replacement.

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