How to Cut Vinyl Siding With Tin Snips

A tin snips is a handy tool.
Tin snips make it possible to cut siding without power tools.
In design and use, it's a lot like the familiar scissors, but is capable of cutting through things that are much tougher than an ordinary scissors can handle. As the name implies, tin snips are designed to cut metal, but it certainly is not limited to that. If you're installing vinyl siding, there are a number of ways to cut the pieces. One of the easiest ways to make a simple, straight cut is to use a tin snips, particularly if you want to cut along the width of the vinyl. .

Step 1

Measure the piece you want to cut using a measuring tape. Mark the desired length on the vinyl with a pen or pencil.

Step 2

Butt a right angle against the small notch running along one side of the vinyl, with the outer edge against the mark. Draw a line on the vinyl along the side of the angle.

Step 3

Don safety glasses and work gloves. Cut along the line with the tin snips, just as you would with ordinary scissors. Be slow and careful; for best results, don't close the snips all the way after each cut. When you reach the notch, carefully turn the piece and snip through it.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pen or pencil
  • Right angle
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves


  • If you need to cut trim, a similar but smaller tool called an aviation snips is a better choice. Aviation snips also are better for cuts that aren't plain, straight lines.


  • Keep your fingers away from the blades.
  • Never force the snips or use other items to help you force the snips closed. If you can't get a good cut using your hands alone, the snips may be too dull, or may be damaged. The bolt also may require oiling or adjustment.