If you’re lucky enough to have a slate roof, or you’re just curious about slate roof repairs and maintenance, you may be wondering how to fix slate roof tiles. Slate roofs can easily last 100 years or longer, but individual tiles may occasionally become broken, due to issues like hail, wind-blown debris, or just normal wear & tear.
In most cases, you should leave major slate roof repair jobs to the professionals. But if you have just a few cracked or broken slates, you can fix them yourself with some specialised tools and a bit of confidence in your DIY abilities! Learn how to replace a slate roof tile now!
A Note About Safety
Fixing a slate roof will require you to stand and work on your roof for an extended period of time, so if you are afraid of heights or unsure of your ability to do this job yourself, you should hire a professional.
In addition, your roof should be cleaned before you work on it, because moss, algae, and other such dirt and debris can make the tiles slippery and hazardous.
Finally, slate does not hold up to foot traffic very well. Stepping directly on your slate roof repeatedly could lead to further damage, so you should use a chicken ladder or a similar hanging ladder for support, and avoid walking on the slate too much.
1. Remove The Nails From The Damaged Slate With A Slate Ripper
A slate ripper looks like a pry bar with a curved end, which fits around the nails used to install slate tiles. It’s used to remove the slate nails left behind when a roofing slate is damaged or broken.
Locate the nails – there are usually two – which were used to install your slate tile, using the slate ripper. Then, hook the end of the slate ripper around the nail head, and hit the back of the slate ripper with a hammer to yank the nail out. Repeat this process for every nail which required removal.
Once the nails are removed, use the slate ripper to gently lift up the remaining slate tile, and slide it out of position, removing it entirely.
2. Measure Your Replacement Slate Tile
Next, you’ll need to measure your replacement slate tile and compare it to the original slate tile, to make sure that they’re the same thickness, length and size.
If your tile is too badly damaged to compare its size, take your tile up to the roof and compare it to a tile that’s still installed on the roof, and mark areas that need to be cut. Then, trim the slate to make sure that it will fit perfectly, using a slate cutter.
3. Place Your New Slate Tile And Secure It To The Roof
Once your new slate has been measured, it’s time to install it. Grab your slate and two copper roofing nails. Then, slide it into the gap where your missing slate tile used to be. Make sure that it’s completely flush with the surrounding roof tiles.
If you feel any resistance or have trouble sliding the slate tile into place, there may be slate material or an extra nail preventing it from moving into position, so double-check and remove any such material.
Once you’ve positioned the slate, it’s time to attach it to your roof. A common slate roofing mistake is to hammer the nails down too tightly – make sure you don’t make this mistake. If you hammer your slate too tight, it could split or become damaged. Slate tiles are supposed to be gently hung in place, not nailed tightly.
Tap the first nail gently into place, in the gap between the overlapping slate tiles. Hammer it into place so that it’s flush with the slate – but no tighter. Then, place another roofing nail about 5 cm above the previous nail. That’s it. You’re all done!
Not Feeling Up To The Task? NSW Slate Roofing Is Here To Help!
Repairing a single broken slate tile is not too difficult, but if you’re not sure about your DIY abilities, or you just don’t have the right tools for the job, it’s best to turn to professionals, like NSW Slate Roofing. We can make sure the job gets done right – and fix your roof quickly.
Whether you just have a few broken tiles or need larger-scale repair services, our master slaters are always here to help. Contact us now for more information, and to get a free estimate for your repair.
Call NSW Slate Roofing on 1300 102 908.