When slate tiles are damaged there are normally remnants of the tile left behind including nails. As a result, the second step in replacing a missing or damaged slate tile is to remove those remnants. This includes the nails used to attach the slate. This must be completed prior to the installation of the new slate tile.
Insert the top end of the slate ripping tool under the bottom edge of the slate tile or into the location where the tile is missing. You will notice that the slate ripper has a hook on either side of the top of the flat end of the ripper. The hooks are used to catch and cut the nails. As you catch the nail with the hooks use your hammer to hit the handle of the slate ripper to drive the hook down against the nail. This will either cut the nail or it will rip the nail out. Afterwards, use the slate ripper to lift up on the slate and slide the slate out from its position.
Once you have removed the damaged slate and nails from the repair area, lay the slate over the area to be repaired to confirm that the size of the slate meets the dimensions required to complete the repair. It may be necessary for you to trim the slate to meet the dimensions needed. This can be accomplished by using a slate cutter.
If you are able to retain the slate that is being replaced, you may use the slate as a template for the new replacement slate. Overlay the original slate onto the new slate and confirm that the size matches the slate being replaced. Trim the slate as necessary to match the slate being replaced.
The fourth step is to install the replacement slate. When installing the slate, it is important to remember that slates are not to be nailed tight. They are to be hung in place. In order to accomplish this copper roofing nails should be driven to a point where they are flush with the surface of the slate while being careful not to overdrive the nails. If you overdrive the nails you can crack the slate which may cause the slate to break.
Begin by sliding the slate into place. You do this by placing the slate tile under the slates directly above the location where the slate is to be installed. Slide the slate up and into place. You may feel some resistance to the slate being slid into place. If this happens just apply pressure to slide the slate into place. If there appears to be too much resistance it may be due to a small piece of the slate or a nail still in the way. Use the slate ripping tool to clear the area under the slates and remove any obstructions. Slide the slate to a point where the bottom of the slate is flush to the bottom of the slates on either side.
Once positioned, you will attach the slate using copper roofing nails. Place the first nail between the two slates directly above the repair slate. The nail should be installed approximately 2” above the bottom of the slates. Begin by tapping the nail gently and then increasing pressure. If you attempt to drive the nail on the first hit you will risk splitting or cracking the slate. The second nail should be installed approximately 2” above the first nail. Two nails are required in order to prevent the slate from rotating once in place.
After the slate is nailed in place you will need to insert the copper slip. The copper slip is used to shingle the water over the nails and onto the exposed portion of the slate. Begin by cutting the copper slip so that it is approximately 4 to 5 inches wide. The length of the copper slip should be the full length of the exposed portion of the roofing slate plus an additional two inches in length in order to extend past the bottom of the slate two courses above the replacement slate.
After measuring and cutting the copper slip, place a slight bend in the copper in the middle of the slip along the longest dimension. This bend in the copper slip helps to create tension and keep the slip in place after it is inserted. Slide the slip under the bottom edge of the two slates directly above the installed repair slate so that it extends from the bottom two courses above the repair slate and over the nails used to secure the repair slate. It may be necessary to use the hammer to gently tap the bottom of the slip in order to fully insert it.
Slate roofs provide homes and businesses with a very durable and visually appealing roof system. They can enhance home value by improving the curb appeal of the home. By maintaining your slate roof system and completing repairs when needed you can be assured that your roof system will perform for many years to come.