Stripping and recovering a slate or tiled roof Information and articles for roofers

Stripping and recovering a slate or tiled roof Information and articles for roofers

Stripping and recovering a slate or tiled roof

by admin on March 26, 2011

Your slate and tile roofing should last a number of years, depending on the material and quality of workmanship done on your roof. However, there comes a time when some or all of your roofing tiles may need to be removed and replaced.

Why strip a tile or slate roof?

Slates or tiles may become worn out over the years due to the sun, rain and general wear and tear. When significant damage occurs your roof may start to leak or show signs of sagging. There are some quick fix solutions such as stripping and replacing only the broken tiles or even installing a layer of slate directly over the worn layer but these wont fix the problem in the long run.

When your roof tiles or slate wears out it is likely you will need to strip them, together with the underlay and roofing nails and install a completely new layer.

Stripping and recovering slate roofs

A slate roof is laid in an interlocking pattern. This can make stripping and replacing your tile roof a bit tricky and it can be time consuming. With the right tools, and once you know the right technique, this process can actually be fairly simple. Although slate is a very durable roofing material, it is also quite fragile and extra care needs to be taken not to damage your slate unnecessarily.

  • First you need to remove your slates. Using the claw end of a hammer pry the slate up so you can get to the nails underneath. Now, using a nail ripper, cut away the nails. Alternatively you could use a hacksaw blade for this. Note that slate tiles are usually secured with two nails.
  • Once the nails are loosened you can pull the slate towards you, away from the roof.
  • Remove any remaining nail pieces from the slate with the claw of a hammer and the broken slate can be lowered to the ground.
  • Take a strip of metal and place it where the new slate will need to be placed
  • Your new slate now needs to be positioned making sure it fits properly. Check that the lower edge of the slate is in line with the other slates in the row.
  • Take the bottom edge of the metal strip and fold it over the slate so that your slate is now secured in its position.

When you are stripping and recovering the entire slate roof you need to make sure that you strip your slates from the top working down to the slates at the bottom. Fitting your roof with new slates, you will work in the opposite direction, from the bottom to the top. Fix the lower row of slates to the roof battens with nails, making sure beveled edges are facing up. The top row of slates are fixed using the metal strip.

Repairing tile roofs

Repairing or recovering your tile roof is much the same process as for a slate roof as the tiles are also laid in this interlocking pattern. You will however need to lift the tiles from the row above your broken tile to be able to remove it.

  • Once you have lifted the upper row of tiles you can start to remove the old tiles one by one. You can use a trowel to slide under the tile and lift it. Sometimes a tile may be nailed to a batten in which case you may need to gently move the tile back and forth to loosen it.
  • Once all the old tiles are removed you can start putting in the new ones starting from the bottom and working your way to the top. It is best to work in a direction from right to left. Tiles are fitted by hooking the nibs of the tiles over the battens of the roof.
  • Make sure each tile you fit is centered over the join between the two tiles that are sitting directly below.

Every third course of tiles should be nailed to the battens to keep your roof in place.

The procedure of stripping and recovering your tile or slate roof may seem quite simple but it is always better to consult with a professional roofer before attempting such a project on your own.

Liverpool has a massive amount of slate and tiled roofs, so if youre looking for a roofer in Liverpool. make sure you ask if slate or tile roofing is a speciality of theirs. For most roofers in Liverpool, of course it will, but not all Liverpool roofers will work on domestic properties.


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