Guide to Replacing Damaged Slate Roof Tiles

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How to Repair a Slate Roof

Slate roofs are known for their beauty and durability, and they are commonly found on older residences and structures. Although such roofs may sometimes last a century or more, some individual tiles may crack or otherwise deteriorate as a result of ageing or weather conditions. When this occurs, water can potentially seep through the roof, causing possibly extensive damage to the building. Homeowners have a few options when it comes to repairing a damaged slate roof. They can replace the entire roof, which can be an unnecessary and major expense if done prematurely. Another options is to do a quick “repair” using a sealant, but sealants can detract from the appearance of a slate roof, and they can complicate future repair efforts. Sealants can even corrode metal flashing in some cases. To avoid the expense of replacing an entire roof and repairing a roof poorly, homeowners only need a few tools and supplies to replace damaged slate roof tiles.

Supplies Needed to Replace Slate Roof Tiles

A few basic tools and roofing supplies are needed to complete a slate roof tile repair. A ladder of sufficient height to access the roof and non-slip shoes that make it safer to move about on the roof are needed. Protective eyewear is highly recommended as it is possible for slate chips or slivers to fly as the old damaged tile is removed. The use of leather work gloves is also recommended.
Other necessary tools include a nail ripper, slate hammer, and copper nails. A nail ripper can cut or pry loose nails holding broken or damaged tiles. A slate hammer is specially designed to handle roof tiles that are difficult to remove. Unlike asphalt shingles, slate tiles are rigid. As a result, care must be taken when replacing them. A claw hammer may be substituted if necessary. Copper nails are traditionally used in slate roof repair because they do not rust. Streaks of rust can quickly deface slate tiles that may be held in place by the wrong nails. Likewise, slate roof hooks, used to hold new slate tiles in place, are often made of stainless steel so that rust cannot become a factor when the hooks are used to secure new tiles.

Slate Roof Colour and Texture Matching

Of course, slate comes in different shade of colour, so attention to the colour of the replacement tiles is important. Also, some tiles are smoother and other are quite textured, so attentiveness to texture is also recommended.

How to Replace Slate Roof Tiles

Once the proper replacement tiles have been acquired, the slate tile roof repair can proceed. Used roof tiles can be employed in the repair if they are in good shape, and if they are cut to the exact size needed.

Remove Damaged Roof Tile

A nail ripper is specially designed to slide under a tile where it can be manoeuvred until it hooks onto the nail holding the tile in place. Use the hammer to tap on the end of the nail ripper until the nail is cut or until it breaks free. Once the nails are cut or loosened, the damaged tile can be pulled out and disposed of. If it is stuck in place, use the slate hammer to hook the tile and to pull it out.

Install New Roof Tile

Match the old tile to the new one for a precise fit. Use a tile cutter to create a slate roof tile if necessary. Usually, only tiles in the top or bottom row, or along the edges, will require cutting. If a replacement slate tile of a matching width is being used, tiles being replaced across the rest of the roof may not require any cutting at all. Once the replacement tile is correctly sized, it can be properly positioned. Secure it in one of two ways:

Slate Hook Method

Position a slate hook in the gap between the two tiles in the row above the spot where the new tile will go. Nail the hook up far enough so that it will hold the tile tightly in place. Slide the replacement tile up under the tiles in the row above, and let it drop down so that the lower edge rests in the curved end of the slate tile hook.

Copper Nail Method

Position a copper nail 2.5 cm below the bottom edge of the tile two rows above the replacement tile and between the two tiles in the row directly above it. Drive the copper nail through the new slate tile to hold it in position.

How to Buy Slate Roof Tiles on eBay

To locate slate roof tiles on eBay, select the “Home & Garden” category on the eBay home page. Next, select the “Building Supplies, DIY” sub-category. Then, select “Roofing.” Next, enter “slate roof tile” in the search box. From there, buyers can browse through the listings or further narrow down the results by filtering for a price range, item location, and more.
Do-it-yourself slate roof tile repair can be accomplished with a few tools and some common-sense safety precautions. It is important to locate replacement tile that reasonably matches the colour and texture of the rest of the roof.

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