Slate hooks and other methods to repair slate roofs (C) Daniel Friedman How to Repair Slate Roofs

  • SLATE ROOF REPAIRS - CONTENTS: How to repair slate roofs - a guide for roofing contractors or homeowners. How to replace individual roofing slates without having to dismantle the slate roof. Comparing methods to secure individual roofing slates during slate roof repairs.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about methods for removing and replacing broken or damaged roofing slates using either copper tabs or slate hooks to secure the new slate

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How to repair a leaky slate roof: how to replace missing, cracked, or damaged roofing slates. This article explains how to remove and replace individual slates during repairs to a leaky or damaged slate roof. By using copper tabs or slate hooks it is possible to replace just a single roofing slate where needed.

We describe methods for repairing all sorts of leaks or other problems in slate roofs, and we include a photo guide to repairs in slate roofs. Photographs illustrate how to replace or patch broken, missing, or cracked roofing slates. This slate roofing repair photo library shows various kinds of roofing slate repairs for common defects.

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How to Repair Slate Roofs - individual roofing slate replacement

This article series describes describing procedures for evaluating the condition of slate roofing and for repairing leaky or damaged slate roofs. How to inspect, identify defects, and estimate remaining life of slate roofs are addressed.

The abandonment of good slate roofs which should have been repaired is a financial shame and the destruction of a valued asset. At the same time, careless optimism about a bad slate roof which is at the end of its life risks an angry inspection client. This article reviews some slate roof repair tips. We also provide slate sources and where to buy slate roofing materials and slate roofing tools and products.

This text deals with repairs to damaged slate roofs as compared with complete new slate roof installation. A key difficulty is presented by the fact that unlike asphalt shingles, slates are rigid. The repair person cannot easily "lift" adjacent slates to install the fastener for the new replacement slate.

Slate roof repair procedure sketch (C) Daniel FriedmanHow to Replace Damaged or Lost Roofing Slates using the Copper Tab Method

A proper slate repair involves several steps:

[Click to enlarge any image]

Copper bib covering slate repair (C) Daniel Friedman

Cover the new nail with a copper "bib" which is slid up under the covering or overlaying slates to cover the nail hole and to extend up below the next upper covering slate whose bottom edge covers the upper portion of the gap through which the nail was placed. the copper bib should have its edges burred, or should be bent slightly so that it will not slide out.

The top of the bib should extend well above the nail and under the slate above. Some roofers slide the bib up under all three of the slates above the repair slate making the copper totally hidden.

The bib is bent slightly arched and burred to stay in place.

How to Replace Damaged or Lost Roofing Slates using the Slate Hook Method

Another method of replacing roofing slates involves Using Slate Hooks for Inserting Replacement Roofing Slates without disturbing the surrounding slates.

This alternative slate roof fix procedure uses 3" stainless steel slate hooks distributed by Vermont Structural Slate (and possibly other companies).

Stainless steel slate hooks offer a more reliable alternative than copper strips for holding replacement slates in place.

The fastener end of the hook is nailed roughly 3" up from what will be the lower edge of the replacement slate.

The slate is slid up over the hook and seated. The illustrations below depict this easy two-step roofing slate replacement procedure.

Slate hooks are available from John Stortz & Son Inc and other suppliers.[5]

Slate hook installation-1
, the hook is driven in place where the missing slate is to be installed - nailed into the side butt joint of the lower slate course

Slate hook installation-2
, the new slate slides over the hook, is seated, and the hook, pops up into place to hold the new slate securely

Photo Guide to Slate Roof Repairs

Replacing Lost Roofing Slates - How to Secure the New Slate

Steep roofing slates replaced with asphalt

Lost slate replacement, re-using a slate salvaged from elsewhere is a reasonable repair, but if going to the trouble of replacing a roofing slate, let's use a replacement slate that itself is in good condition.

Note the exposed nail hole which would have been covered by the next course in the original placement of this slate used for a repair. It is certainly expedient to keep old, good-condition roofing slates left over from a prior repair or from another source, using them to replace broken or lost slates on an existing roof.

Loose slates do not have to mean end of life of the roof

Red slate roof, generally excellent condition is shown in our photo at left.

But with broken damaged slates at eaves, possibly during ice damming or installation of heat tapes. Heat tapes at a roof edge are themselves evidence that the building has experienced a problem with ice dams and leaks at the eaves.

Red roofing slates like this, if observed in the Eastern half of North America, probably came from the NY/VT Granville slate quarry.

Repair of Holes & Nail Pops in Slate Roofs

Copper used to repair hole in a slate roof

Slate roof hole repair, using copper slid up below perforated slates is illustrated in our photo at left. Copper is a durable repair metal that can provide a long term repair for problems like this one. The slate in the center of the photo is broken by both a hole and a crack.

Slate repair under hole

Repair: Slate repair with aluminum, on a slate roof with a coating of lichens

A simple piece of flat aluminum flashing was pushed up under the slates to cover a hole3 observed by the roof Inspector/repairman. Usually simple friction will hold this aluminum (or copper) repair plate in place for decades. Or you can put a slight Vee-bend in the metal flashing before sliding it in place if necessary.

Watch out: we're not sure how durable this particular repair will be because the poor alignment at the lower end of the slate corners between the slates at left and right over the aluminum roof patch suggest that the slate on the right may be sliding down the roof. If it's fastener has corroded away or been lost, that slate will continue to move down until a leaky opening is exposed in the roof. Keep an eye on conditions like this.

Examples of Poor Repair Work on Slate Roofs - Temporary "Fixes" to Slates

Slate roof temporarily repaired by coating it with tar or roof cement

Slate roof coated with roof cement, mostly washed-off. While roof cement or mastic is not a long-term durable repair nor even a proper one for slate roofs, we'd prefer this stopgap measure to seeing someone abandon and destroy a salvageable slate roof.

The complete coating of a slate roof with roof cement or other sealants is an extreme measure and unlikely to have a long life however.

Slate Roofing Articles


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