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How to replace a broken or missing roof slate

IMPORTANT WARNING: Working at height and on roofs is potentially extremely dangerous – take adequate safety precautions at all times.

How to replace a broken or missing roof slateWe have spoken before about the importance of regular checks on your roof, in particular after the last few severe winters we have had here in Sheffield and Yorkshire. High winds and rain as well as a few sharp cold snaps have done their best to loosen or break roofing slates. Left un-repaired and water will soon start to find its way into your home.

The main problem you may have in getting to the securing nail which holds the slate in place. This is because it tends to be secured underneath the slate above – either it has corroded away or come out. Either way, getting the new nail secured without disturbing the surrounding roofing slates is the problem.

How to remove the slate

As with all DIY – if you have the correct tool then the job suddenly becomes easy. In this case it is a tile-ripper – specially designed for the job of removing slates and tiles from roofs. Slide the tool under the tile and over the retaining nail you wish to remove and then either tug or hammer the tool downwards to extract or snap the nail. The slate should then easily pop out.

Replacing the old slate

The old tile has gone, now you just need to slide in the new one in its place. Due to the overlapping nature of the slates however, the difficulty lies in securing the new tile with a new retaining nail. Temporary fixes can be achieved using specialist adhesives where no nail is required however make sure you use the correct product and in general we recommend that this is only a temporary fix until a more permanent roof repair can be made.

The permanent fix

This is done using something called a tingle or roofing strip – it is a long piece of non-corroding soft metal (often copper or aluminium) which is nailed into place prior to putting in the new slate or tile. You place the new tile into place on top of the tingle, and then fold the bottom edge back around, so holding the new slate in place. You can make tinges yourself, or buy then cheaply from hardware stores or ebay.

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