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A DIY Guide To Replacing Broken Slate Tiles

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A DIY Guide To Replacing Broken Slate Tiles Staff
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For decades, Slate has been used as a roofing material and continues to be quite popular these days. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, it is also long-lasting. But like other roofing materials, your slate roof may also deteriorate over time or can get damaged due to negligence, you may even see water dripping from the ceiling.

For exactly this purpose, you may need to learn how to replace a broken slate roof tile and fix your roof in specific circumstances. This is going to be a DIY article about replacing broken slate tiles. If you need more information about flat roofs, and especially TPO roofing, you can visit which has all you need to know.

While this article will give you the basics on how to replace a broken slate tile we strongly recommend hiring a contractor to fix your slate tile or at least let them have a look around your roof.

What Equipment Do You Need To Replace Your Roof?

Now that you have taken matters into your hand, here’s a list of tools, equipment and materials you’ll need to help your project go smoothly.

Tools/ Equipment

  • Slate cutter
  • Slate ripper
  • Caulk gun
  • Tin snips
  • Chicken ladder
  • Hammer
  • Flat pry bar


  • Copper roofing nails which penetrate the decking approximately. 3/4 inch
  • Sheet copper with 5-inch attention on slate plus an additional 2 inches
  • Polyurethane caulk or asphalt mastic tubes

What Do You Need To Consider When Replacing A Broken Slate Roof Tile?

The only consideration you need to make when replacing your slate roof tiles is how much damage has and how long it’s been since the tiles were installed. Immediately reinstalling the slates after removal would be the most efficient method of doing this.

What Are Slate Tiles?

In addition to shingles, slate tiles can be found on a wide range of roofs, including steep-slope metal and even shingle roofs. By heating and pressing shale rock, slate is formed with a distinct pattern that can only be achieved through the process of tiling. When it’s time to reroof a home, many homeowners are drawn to the rustic charm of slate, but they question if it will be feasible to install new slate tiles themselves.

Preparing The Area For The Roof Tiles

Hail, fallen trees, and vandalism are all potential threats to slate roofs, so it’s important to take precautions. But they don’t have to be replaced every time they become a little scratched. If your slate roof has been damaged modestly, you may just need to repair a few tiles.

Before you begin the process of replacing your broken slate, remove any loose pebbles, moss or debris from the area. Grab the edges of your removal area and pull them apart. Now, gently lift your target slate using a pry bar (or similar instrument) to reach below it and remove any nails or staples keeping it in place. Once the nails are out it’s as simple as prying up one side, flipping it over, and repeating on the other.

Keep an eye out for nearby tiles that could be damaged or knocked loose in the process. The previous nail-down flashing tape can also be removed at this time.

How To Install The New Tile

When you install new tiles, you’ll find that they’ll overlap with your old ones. The following instructions will show you how to replace a slate roof tile.

Copper roofing nails are usually used to fix the slate once it is in place. Lay the repair slate between the two existing slates and hammer in your first nail directly through it.

The nail should be positioned 2 inches above the bottom of the slates. To begin, lightly tap the nail, and then progressively increase the pressure you apply to the nail over time.

If you try to drive the nail in on the first try, you run the danger of breaking or cracking the slate. The second nail will be about 2 inches higher than the first. Two nails are needed to hold the slate in place once it has been installed.

Install The Copper Slip

In order to stop water attacking the nails, a copper slip is used to shingle the water away from them and onto the slate itself. Once the tile is installed you can slide the copper slip plate into place.

You’ll need to make sure that the slip plate is sized correctly – this is usually the full length of the slate plus an additional 5cms (2 inches) so it extends past the bottom of the slate.

After you’ve measured and cut the slip, put a light bend the in the middle along its longest edge. This will help create tension and stop the slip moving once you’ve pushed it into place.

Finishing Touches

It is impossible to find another tile like a slate, and that is because it is so diverse in terms of its appearance, size, and thickness. As a result it’s important to try and get a close match as possible to your existing tiles. This will ensure that not only do they look the part it will ensure they fit well together as well. If you have mismatches in sizing water may seep into your home due to small gaps between the tiles.

In advance of making a trip to the store, make sure you know exactly how wide and long each slate will be. You’ll know exactly how much material you’ll need for each area of roofing, even if none of them perfectly match.

In addition, you need to know how many holes your old slates had; if there was only one hole (in which case one new piece will serve), then cut it into smaller pieces to fit correctly between existing slates.


The task of replacing a cracked slate tile on a roof is not a simple one but it can be done with the right tools and a little patience. The best course of action is to work with professionals who have experience in replacing these types of tiles in the past.

The beauty of slate roofs comes at the cost of their fragility, which necessitates only the most experienced of roofers to maintain them.

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