How to Fix Your Slate Roof Tiles: Proven Strategies for Homeowners
Repairing damaged slate roof tiles is not a straightforward task. It requires skill, patience, and the right tools. Slate roof tiles are one of the most aesthetic roofing materials; combining character with definitely durability. If well-maintained, they can last 50 years or more. But, even such durability can be put to the test when damage occurs.
There are a few different ways that slate roof tiles can be damaged, but the most common cause is stress. Stress can be caused by an overly tightened nail, a heavy limb hanging above the roof, or an individual attempting to install a satellite dish incorrectly. Before replacing any tiles, it is best to determine the source of stress so that the problem can be tracked to its core and not just dealt with superficially. “Band-aid” types of repairs are short-term solutions and not necessarily long-term fixes.
If the source of damage is due to a shifting roof structure, investigate it further and take necessary measures. Wood sheathing or boards may expand or contract due to exposure to moisture and that can cause cracks in slate tiles. If the source of water damage is determined, take necessary steps to fix it, or look out for signs of structural repairs.
When the source of damage has been determined, and it is necessary to replace a slate roof tile, the first step is to secure the replacement tile. This is done by using a slate ripper, a specialized tool inserted underneath the overlapping tile to hook and pull out the nails. Removing nails can be challenging, so take care not to damage the upper tiles while pulling out the nails.
Then, a new tile needs to be inserted in place. Make sure the replacement tile has the same color tone and is of the same size as the one being replaced. Artificial slate tiles made of polymer or concrete are also available, designed to look like real slate tiles but have a much longer life-span.
The replacement tile can be nailed back in place, or better yet, a slate hook can be used, which holds the bottom edge of the replacement tile so that it does not slide downwards, even without nails. Copper hooks are recommended if you want the repair to be less visible. Insert the hook in the middle of the vacated slot and let the bottom edge of the replacement tile rest inside the hook.
Slate roof tiles are considered a great addition to any house, and repairs such as these will ensure that it looks its best for years to come. It is still important to inspect the roof regularly for any potential signs of stress or weight, and to make repairs as needed.