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Under One Roof

Canadian Roofing Reference Manual

2.2.4 Roof Cutter

Roof cutters are used exclusively for reroofing to cut large areas of roof membrane or roof system into smaller manageable pieces. The cutter can be fitted with one or two cutting blades depending on the job. These blades can be adjusted to a desired depth, that will allow you to cut only the membrane or through all of the roof assembly to the deck. However, roof cutters are not self-propelled and must be pushed and manoeuvred by you.

You can control the cutting depth by an adjustment screw located on the handles of the cutter. Turn the screw clockwise to lower the blade and counter clockwise to raise it. To engage the cutting blade, slightly lift up on the handles to release the adjustment screw. To stop the cutting action, simply push down on the handles and the adjustment screw will pop up and lock into place. Some models of cutters can be used as spudding machines for scraping off gravel if the proper blades are attached.


  • Always wear safety shoes.
  • Always wear eye protection.
  • Always keep hands and feet away from the cutting blade.
  • Always operate the cutter parallel to roof edge.
  • Always ensure there are no electrical wires or conduit inside the existing roof system.
  • Always make sure that the blade is tight, and all safety guards are in place before operating.