Article provided by: Salford Roofing
Slate Roof Replacement and Repairs
While slate roofs tend to be built to an incredibly high standard, just like any other roof they are not going to last. Sooner or later you are going to need to call in a team to carry out some slate roof repairs for you.
One of the first jobs any quality roofer will do is to determine whether you need a roof repair or roof replacement. This is one of the reasons why you should choose a quality firm, you don’t really want to replace a whole roof when only a slate or two is damaged.
A good roofer will be able to check whether a couple of slates have been damaged, or the entire structural integrity of your roof seems to be going down the hill. Just because you have a single cracked slate on your roof does not mean that you only need to replace that slate. If the slate has been cracked for a while, there could be some severe water damage in your roof which would warrant a complete roof replacement.
The wonderful thing about repairing slate roofs is that you probably won’t need to use any power tools. Slate is one of the oldest materials used for roofs, and there are plenty of hand tools, albeit very specialised, built for the job.
Removing the damaged tile
When you have a damaged slate (or multiple slates), the remnants need to be ripped out before any sort of replacement can be carried out. The remaining slate will be nailed into place. Your roof restoration expert will come equipped with a slate ripping tool. It basically looks like a flat nail bar. It is a tool designed to quickly remove the tile without causing any damage to the underlying decking (this is incredibly important!). If the slate is really stuck in there, then the roofer is going to use their trusty slating hammer to knock it out. This is basically a long, thin hammer.
If the whole roof has been damaged and every bit of slate needs to be replaced, then your local roofers will follow an ever so slightly different process. By that, we mean that they are going to completely rip off every single piece of slate, although they will likely take a lot less care with it as the decking is going to be replaced too.
Installing a completely new roof
The process for installing a new slate roof is completely different. With this process, your chosen slate roof installer is going to need to do a bit of carpentry. This means pulling out their saws and installing some new rafters (if needed), and some decking that the slate slates can be attached to. This all needs to be weatherproofed, because that decking is going to be your protection should a tile end up cracking.
Getting the slate ready
Chances are that the bit of slate being replaced is not going to be exactly the same size as the slate that your roofer brought along. Not to worry, though. Your roofer will have brought along a slate cutter. It does exactly what it says on the tin. They will probably also use this tool if you are going for a slightly more ‘decorative’ finish to your roof.
Installing the slate
Installing a completely new roof is ‘easy’ when it comes to installing the slates (well, as easy as it can be), because it is somewhat of a methodological process. Replacing a tile is a lot more difficult as it means you need to slide the tile into an established position. This often means putting it under other slates. Thankfully, slate hooks exist.
Slate hooks are lined up with the slate course and then hammered into place. The new piece of slate (already cut to size), is slid onto this. The slate hook will remain in place. Don’t worry; they look good and your roof is already using slate hooks anyway!
A restoration hammer may also be called into action here. It will be used for all sorts of jobs on the roof. It can cut. It can nail. It is fantastic when the roofer is working in a position with limited space, or maybe even installing a whole new course of slate. The hammer your installer will carry around with them will often have a bit of weight behind it. It means they can ditch the idea of a slate hammer and just carry a couple of tools with them.
Remember; slate roofing repair is a job best left to the experts. While you could feasibly hop along to any tool shop and pick up slate hooks, cutters, and maybe a bit of slate to use, it is just not advised. If you do that, chances are you will make a mistake and could completely mess up the roof. Not ideal!
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