It may be that you’re just looking to replace the odd broken roof tile, or perhaps you’re replacing an entire slate roof. Whatever the size of the job, with a bit of patience, cutting roof tiles can be straightforward. The key, as with most DIY jobs, is to work safe, take your time, and have the right tools to hand. The good news is that there are several tools that can be used to cut roof slates, and most households will have at least one of them! 

Work Safe - At Burton Roofing Merchants we always encourage safe working practice, for this job you’ll want a pair of safety goggles (to protect your eyes from chips) and if you’re cutting lots of slate tiles, a protective face mask (to protect yourself from dust) - again, most households will have these now. 

There are several ways you can cut slate roof tiles, in this article we will cover four, the one you choose will depend on the tools you have available, how many tiles you’re cutting, and whether your slate is thick or thin.

Slate Cutter Range


Cutting Tiles With A Handle Held Slate Cutter 

If your slate is quite thin but you have several pieces to cut, or you require to cut slate on a regular basis it is worth investing in a Hand Held Slate Cutter. We sell two versions, one with a nail punch, and one without.

  1. Begin by marking the underside of your slate, this preserves the smart appearance and gives a professional finish to your job. You can do this using the edge of your slate cutter.
  2. Always cut with the grain, and if your slate varies in thickness, always work from the thickest to the thinnest part to avoid breakages.
  3. If your slate is thin you can use your cutter in one hand while you support your slate with the other. Thicker slate may require you to use both hands. Work slowly and safely for the best finish, tap the corners to shake off excess and smooth down the sides.

Right Hand Slaters Axe


Cutting Slates With A Slaters Axe

If your slate is thicker, consider investing in a Slaters Axe. Remember professional tools make jobs easier and quicker and result in a better finish.

Follow step 2 above, and then place your slate on a house brick with the edge to be cut overhanging. Use your slaters axe to remove the excess. Work slowly making repeated small strokes against the slate, this will avoid breakages and result in a clean finish. Tidy off the edges as above.

Trowel Range

Cutting Slate With A Trowel 

Not ready to invest in professional tools? If you only have one or two thin slates to cut then it’s more cost effective to use tools that you have around the home. The good news is that instead of a slaters axe, you can use a normal garden trowel, simply using the sharp edge as you would the slaters axe. It won’t be quite as accurate, but will do the job fine.


Turbo Shear

Cutting with a Turbo shear

If you are looking to invest in a professional slate cutting tool, the Turboshears are a great investment. An attachable cutting drive that fits most drills, this tool allows for cutting both natural and artificial slate with power assistance.




At Burton Roofing, we also have a large range of roof tiles suitable for all jobs, domestic or professional see our online range here.