How To Repair A Slate Roof Using A Slate Hook

Posted on: 21 May 2015

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Slate is a good building material in that it can last for between a hundred to two-hundred years. That being said, slate is not impervious to damage. If individual roofing tiles break down, water can seep through your roof and destroy the roof deck and/or allow water to leak into your home. In order to get the most life from your roof, you need to remove and replace any damaged tiles that you find. The trick to doing this is to use a ripper to remove the old tile and a slate hook to hang the new tile. 

How to Use a Ripper

A ripper is a flat piece of metal with a hook at one end and special ears sticking out at the other end. You slide the eared end up under your roofing tiles to hook onto the nails that hold the damaged tile in place. You then tap the hooked end with a hammer to pull the nails out. There should be two nails holding the tile in place. Once you have removed these nails, you can slide the tile out of the way. 

How to Use a Slate Hook to Hang a New Tile

When you hang a new roofing tile with a slate hook, you first mark where the bottom edge of the tiles in the same row fall. Run a straight edge from the tile on either side of the missing tile and scratch a mark into the tiles from the row below the missing tile. Next, line your slate hook so that the hooked end hangs just below this line. A slate hook is an S-shaped piece of stainless steel wire. One end of the S will be straighter than the other and will have a point at the end like a nail; this is the end you drive into your roof.

Holding the hooked end of the S, you put the point against your roof, and pound your hammer where the straight section meets the body of the S to drive your hook into the roof until the body of the S is flush against your roof. Drive the slate hook so that it hangs about a quarter or an eighth of an inch past the end of other tiles in the same row. Once your slate hook is in place, slide your replacement slate into place, making sure that the bottom edge of the tile slides into the hooked end.

While you will need some specialty tools and equipment—like the ripper and a slate hook—to work on a slate roof, buying this equipment represents a minimal cost. If you own a slate roof, buying these tools to make your own repairs is a good idea. On the other hand, if you would rather not climb up onto your roof to make repairs, you can call in roofing professionals to make the repairs for you, just make sure that whoever you call has experience in working with slate. To learn more, contact a business like Lawson Brothers Construction.