Repairing A Damaged Slate Roof

30 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Slate roofs are aesthetically beautiful and provide an excellent way to keep your home insulated. Slate was once a popular material used for roofing and can be found on most older or historic homes. While slate is not typically used in roofing today, it can still be found on a number of houses throughout the United States. Unlike traditional roofs, slate can be more difficult to repair. If you've experienced damage to your slate roof, here are some tips to help you make a quality repair.

First Step

Before the repair can be made to your slate roof, the damaged piece must be removed. Slate tiles were usually hammered down onto the roof with nails, so a ripper will need to be used to pull the damaged slate from the roof itself. It is important to note that if the slate pieces that were tied down used steel cut nails, there could be damage done to other tiles when the damaged piece is removed. Copper nails should be easier to get loose since they are more pliable, so it will depend on which type of nail was used to keep your roof in place. Once the nails are loosened the piece of slate should slide loose. If it does not come loose easily, a special slate hammer can be used to knock it loose until it can be removed. The pointed end of this hammer should be used during the removal process.

Replacement Slate Pieces

Since most slate roofs are older, finding the right replacement piece can be a challenge. You will need to find a new piece or a salvaged piece from another home that matches your current roof's color, shape, and texture. Once you've found a good quality replacement piece, it will need to be slid into place where the old one was once located. There should be a nail inserted into the vertical joint between the slate pieces that should be about an inch below the tail end of the slate. This nail will help to hold the replacement piece into position so you can make the repair.

The Repair Process

Since you've created a nail hole into the roof joint, you will need to insert a piece of copper lengthwise under the joint between the two pieces of slate. This will help prevent water from getting in through the nail hole. This piece should be added between the slate and then folded over the nail. Alternative materials like metal hooks or straps that can be bent over the slate can also be used. Mastic should not be used to install replacement slate since it can harden and crack over time and cause a potential threat for water damage.

Before you secure the new piece of slate to the roof, check the joints underneath for any damage and replace them first. This will make the new piece more secure and will prevent future rotting. Install the new pieces of slate using two nails per piece, one above the other along the upper portion of the exposed edge. Make sure the sheathing is smooth and solid and that the nails are installed tightly and evenly. When in doubt, contact a professional slating company, like Legacy Restoration & Construction LLC, who can ensure that your slate roof is repaired correctly.