A natural slate roof is a great investment, and with proper care, a high quality roof built with natural slate can last 100 years or longer. Despite the overall durability of slate roofs, though, minor roof damage is not uncommon.
Slate roofs can be damaged by impacts from wind-blown debris, resulting in broken slates, and also from normal wear and tear. If a slate roof was not installed properly, the tiles may also come loose and fall out.
So, how can you repair your slate roof, and make sure it stays in great shape? Here are our top tips for repairing your slate roof.
Examine Your Roof Every Spring To Check For Damage
The perfect time to check your roof for damage is during the spring, as you’ll likely need to clear out your gutters and perform other basic maintenance tasks. Just take a look at your slate roof. You should look for any issues like:
- Broken slates
- “Hanging” or loose slates that are out of alignment with the rest of the root
- Cracks or damage to a slate
- Missing slates, resulting in gaps in your roofing tiles
If you only notice a few issues with your roof, you may be able to fix them on your own. But if you notice a large number of damaged or missing tiles, it’s probably better to let a professional handle the repair.
Make Sure You Have The Right Tools
Repairing a slate roof does require some special tools. Before you attempt to repair your own slate roof, we recommend that you make sure that you have all of the following tools on-hand.
- A hammer
- A flat pry bar
- A slate ripper to remove nails from your slate tiles
- A slate cutter to cut your replacement slate to size
- A chicken ladder
Depending on your roof, you may also need:
- Slate hooks
- Copper roofing nails
- A copper bib
- Replacement slates
- Caulk and a caulk gun
Understand The Difference Between Slate Hook And “Nail And Bib” Roofs
The two primary types of slate roofing installations used today are the “nail and bib” and “slate hook” methods.
In the nail and bib method, each slate tile is nailed to the roofing underlayment, using copper roofing nails. Then, a copper “bib” flashing is placed over the nails, and held in place underneath the slate, to protect the nails from corrosion and water.
Slate hooks, on the other hand, are nailed directly into the underlayment. Then, the slate slides down the hook, and rests loosely on the hook. The slate is held in place by the hook, and the slate tiles that surround it on both sides.
Make sure you know what type of roof you have before you try to replace a slate tile on your own. This guide may help you understand the difference in more detail.
Learn By Watching – Before You Learn By Doing
So, you’ve identified the troublesome, broken slates on your roof, acquired the necessary tools, and identified whether your roof uses a slate hook or nail and bib installation. You’re ready to get started, right?
Not quite. Even if you’re a hands-on learner, we recommend watching a professional replace a roof tile before you attempt to do it yourself. How can you do this? Thanks to YouTube, there are a number of helpful guides to slate roof repair. Here are a few videos which can help you get a better understanding of the slate roof repair process:
Take a look at a few reference videos before you try your own repair. If you don’t think you’ve got the skills to follow the instructions in the video, or you lack the proper tools, we recommend that you turn to an expert – don’t attempt the repair on your own.
Know When To Call In The Experts At NSW Slate Roofing
With the above tips and instructions, you’ll be able to do most common slate roof repair projects on your own. But repairing a slate roof that has been damaged or neglected and has a lot of structural issues is a big project – one that’s best left to professionals.
When it comes to slate roof repair, it’s often best to leave the job to a master slater from NSW Slate Roofing. We have more than 30 years of experience with slate tiles and roofing materials, so we can take care of even the most difficult repair projects. To learn more about our roof repair services, contact us for a free estimate and consultation. Call NSW Slate Roofing on 1300 102 908.
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