Replacing broken slates


If a slate has been cracked by someone clambering on the roof without using proper access equipment, or by a falling chimney pot for example, you may not be able to obtain a matching replacement slate immediately. Make a temporary repair to prevent water from penetrating. You can make it as for a tile. Alternatively, you can coat the slate with mastic, cover this with a piece of roofing felt or cooking foil cut to fit, and spread a layer of mastic on top.
Fit the replacement slate when you obtain it.


Things you will need
toolsLadder with a stand-off bracket, roof ladder, slate ripper, a bucket on a long rope, hammer or screwdriver. Perhaps a power drill fitted with No. 6 masonry bit, or nail and hammer.
materials Replacement slate, strip of lead, zinc, aluminium or copper 1in (25mm) wide, and long enough to reach from the hole in the slate to the bottom plus 4in (100mm), large-head galvanised clout nails 1&1/2in (40mm) long.

1. Cut through the nails that are holding the slate, using the slate ripper.

Roofing Tools
2. Draw the slate towards you, wiggling it from side to side to ease it from under the slates overlapping it. Take care not to let any broken pieces slide off the roof, They are sharp and can cause damage or injury. Put the pieces in a bucket and take it to the ground or lower it down to a helper.

3. Nail the metal strip to the batten which will just be visible in the gap between the two slates the replacement is going to lap onto. Put the nail in the ready-made hole or about 1in (25mm) down from the top of the strip.

4. Carry the new slate up to the roof in a bucket or put it in a bucket and pull it up with a rope.

5. Slip the new slate, with bevelled edges upwards, under the two slates in the course above. Wiggle it a little to right and left to work it upwards until its lower edge aligns with the slates on each side. Its top edge will fit tightly over the batten to which the course above is nailed.

Roofing Tools
6. Turn up the end of the metal strip over the lower edge of the slate, then bend it double and press it down flat against the slate. The double thickness prevents snow and ice from forcing the clip open.


You will be able to nail the lower courses of slates in place, but the top course and the course below that will have to be fixed with metal strips because the battens to which they should be nailed will be covered by slates (see Replacing Single Lap Tiles). If necessary, cut the slates to size and drill holes in them.

Things you will need
tools Ladder with a stand-off bracket, roof ladder, slate ripper, hammer, a bucket on a long rope and a screwdriver.
materials Replacement slates, size 6 aluminium alloy or copper nails 1&1/2in (40mm) long, strips of lead, zinc, aluminium or copper 1in (25mm) wide and long enough to reach from the hole in the slate to the bottom plus 4in (100mm).

1. Cut through the nails securing the damaged slates, using a slate ripper. Deal first with the highest course to be removed. Ease each slate out in turn from the overlapping slates and lower it in a bucket to a helper or take it to the ground. Do not let a slate slide from the roof, it is sharp and can cause damage or injury.
Work down course by course, removing the slates. The lower ones will not be overlapped and are easier to remove.

Roofing Tools
2. Fix the bottom course of replacement slates first. Butt neighbouring slates closely and fit them with the bevelled edges upwards. Nail the slates through the holes to the batten.

3. Work upwards course by course nailing the slates in place. When you can no longer see the battens to nail the slates to, cut metal strips to secure the slates and fit them as described in Replacing Single Lap Tiles.