New Homeowner's Guide: How To Replace Broken Slate Roof Shingles


Slate roofing shingles can easily be broken by swinging or falling tree branches during wind storms. The branch smacks against the shingles and causes the slate to crack and fall apart. Water from rain and snowmelt can easily attack your roof once the shingle breaks apart, and you should fix it as soon as you can to avoid damage to the timbers and wood sub-roofing. Here is how you can replace broken slate shingles damaged by tree branches.

You Will Need:

  • New Slate Shingles
  • Slate Ripper
  • Hammer
  • Aluminum Lead Straps
  • Copper Nails
  • Ladder

Remove Broken Shingles

You should use a slate ripper to remove the nails to the broken shingles.

A slate ripper is a long flat metal bar with notches up at the top that slide over the head of the nails holding the slate shingles to the roof. Slide the bar up under a shingle and hook one of the notches around the nail head at the top of the shingle. Two nails are used to hold down each slate shingle on the roof.

Bang down on the other end of the slate ripper bar with the curved end with a hammer – the force of the hammering will pull the nails out.

Do not try to lift up on the bar to get to the nails. Slate shingles are fragile and you can easily snap unbroken shingles if you try to lift up on them.

Purchasing Replacement Slate Shingles

Slate shingles come in many different designs and colors. You should take some pictures of your roof, and a piece of a broken shingle, with you to the roofing supply store where you are going to buy the replacement shingles.

The pictures will help the store personnel see what type of design the shingles are on your roof, and they can use the piece of broken shingle to make sure they can provide you with an exact color match. Otherwise, the repaired section will look out of place on the roof once you are done replacing the shingles.

Installing New Slate Shingles

  1. Place the aluminum lead strap over the seam between the two unbroken shingles that were under the broken shingle you removed. Place the strap so it will fit partially under the replacement shingle and will still be partially exposed on the roof at the bottom of the new shingle once you have placed it into position.
  2. Secure the lead strap to the roof with a copper nail – copper won't rust and cause unsightly stains on your roof. Make sure you place the nail in the seam between the unbroken shingles so you don't damage either one of them.
  3. Slide the new shingle up under the unbroken ones above the damaged area so it fills the void of the old shingle. Make sure the bottom of the new shingle is even with the bottom of the unbroken shingles on the same row.
  4. Bend the lead strap up and over the bottom of the shingle to hold the shingle firmly in place. You can cut the lead strap with metal shears so it won't be as noticeable from the ground.

Repeat this procedure for every broken shingle on your slate roof. If you need professional assistance, visit Three Rivers Roofing.

About Me

repairing and preventing roof rot on your eaves

When the gutter system on your roof doesn't work as it should, your house could sustain serious water damage. The roof should never be exposed to more moisture than it needs to be, so the gutters are designed to carry the water away from the roof. One thing that homeowners sometimes forget is the protective drip sheeting that covers the edge of the roof just above the gutter. This will lead to expedited roof rot along the eaves. Find out what you can do to put a stop to roof rot on your eaves and how to make repairs after it occurs here on my blog.

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