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How to Cut Tin Tiles

July 14, 2014

One of the most common questions we get is, “How easy is it to cut tin tiles?” In short: very easy. Weighing just 1.6 lbs., our tin coated steel panels are flexible but not flimsy and malleable but not cheap. To cut tin, you have a variety of options, but we’ll focus on our three favorites: tin snips, guillotine cutters and having your local metal shop do it for you. While tin snips are by far the easiest and most accessible, if you’re installing tiles in a location that’s eye level like for a backsplash or wainscoting, it’s recommended to use a guillotine cutter or have your local metalworker do it to ensure a professional factory edge cut where the seams matter. You could also use metal shears (which take ¼ inch section of metal with them), a reciprocating saw or a skill saw with an aluminum blade, but all of these require more handiness and skill and wouldn’t turn out as well.

Tin Snips

Tinner’s snips, also known as tinner snips or tin snips, are defined by their long handles and short blades. They usually have extra wide jaws and are made of drop forged carbon steel with straight pattern blades ranging in length from 7 to 14”. We recommend Aviation tin snips with 3″ blades and an overall length of 11.5,” available for sale on our website for $20, or your local hardware or crafts store. The quality of the cut depends on the steadiness of your hand, and can be quite tiring on the wrist. They are better for cutting holes in the tin for lights and fixtures rather than trimming edges.

Guillotine Cutter

Similar to the paper trimmers you used to use in school or the office copy room, tin ceiling installers swear by the guillotine cutter. Our preferred model is the Martin Yale 19″ x 24″ Premiere Heavy Duty W24. As a courtesy to our customers, we’ve made them available at a wholesale price of $189 + $25 S&H. However, any brand made for industrial use, not paper, should work as long as it can accommodate edges up to 24.”

Take it to Your Local Metal Shop

Do a quick yelp search for metal fabricators or machine shops in your local area. If there aren’t any, you could also try an auto body or silversmith. Costs should be in the ballpark of $.35 to $.50 per tile.

Check out our easy how-to video for more information on cutting tin tiles. As an aside, we don’t recommend bending your tiles because you could risk damaging the powder-coated finish. If you need to join two together, it’s better to cut and secure with nails or a construction adhesive.


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