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How To Repair A Slate Roof: & When To Call It Quits

Struggling with a damaged slate roof can be quite stressful. Did you know most slate roofs typically require maintenance after around ten years?

Our detailed slate roof repair guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to replace broken slate tiles, help identify when it’s time to call in a professional for proper slate roof repair or replacement.

A solid solution could be one scroll away!

How to Replace a Broken Slate Roof Tile

To replace a broken slate roof tile, start by ensuring safety and gathering the necessary tools and roofing materials.

Carefully remove the damaged tile and slide in a replacement slate, ensuring it is appropriately aligned with neighboring tiles for a seamless repair.

⚠️ Safety Considerations

slate roof with loose and broken slates

Safety is paramount to prevent potential injuries, and inspect the roof for loose tiles before starting work whenever possible. Avoid working during adverse weather.

Suitable safety gear includes:

  • Non-slip shoes
  • Heavy gloves
  • Industrial safety goggles
  • A safety harness to protect against falls
  • A strong and well-secured ladder on stable ground

Before You Begin

  • Plan your slate roof repair. Knowing what you need to do and what you need to hire a professional will save you time and money.
  • Familiarize yourself with what a roof deck, sheathing, and flashing looks like.
  • Inspect the overall structural integrity of your entire roof system to determine if it requires minor repairs or complete replacement.
  • The underlying decking should be checked thoroughly for rot, visible holes, or water stains.

Tools and Materials Needed

Having the right tools and materials is crucial in undertaking any slate repairs.

  • A roofing slate ripper is used to extricate damaged slates seamlessly.
  • A ladder grants safe access to the upper reaches of your roofing structure.
  • Replacement slates for when broken tiles are removed
  • Roofing nails for securing new tiles onto the roof’s decking
  • A heavy-duty hammer to drive nails
  • An adhesive may be needed. Choose one that caters to roofing applications
  • Safety equipment (gloves, goggles, harness, shoes) to avoid injuries or eye damage

Instructions for Removing and Installing the Replacement Slate Tile

To replace a broken slate roof tile, start by ensuring your safety with proper protective gear and stable footing. Carefully inspect the surrounding tiles for any signs of damage or weakness.

Take your hammer, slate ripper tool, and one of the replacement roofing slates that matches in size and thickness. Start by gently tapping the bottom of the slip to insert it fully into position.

Then, use the slate ripper tool to remove any nails holding the damaged tile in place carefully. Slide the new slate tile into position and secure it with two nails.

Signs That It’s Time to Call a Professional

Certain signs indicate it’s time to call a professional for your slate roof repair. These signs include extensive damage, widespread leaks, or if the roof’s overall condition has deteriorated beyond repair.

Knowing when to seek expert help with your roofing slates can save you from costly and potentially hazardous DIY mistakes.

When To Know if a Professional Is Needed for Slate Roof Repairs

Determining whether to tackle the repair or call roofing contractors can take time and effort. However, there are signs that indicate it’s time to bring in the experts.

Call a professional if you notice:

  • Widespread damage with cracked, missing, or damaged roofing slates scattered across your roof.
  • If 20-30% or more of the slates require repair or replacement, this could indicate a larger issue that requires a trained eye.

A soft slate roof showing signs of age and extensive wear may need a total replacement by an experienced roofing contractor.

Situations Where DIY Repairs May Not Be Sufficient

Repairing roofing slate requires specialized skills and knowledge, making it unsuitable for DIY repairs in most situations. Without professional assistance, DIY attempts may lead to further damage or even serious accidents. Slate roofs are durable but can be fragile if mishandled during repair work.

Mistakes made while repairing slate roofs could compromise the structural integrity of the entire roof system. To avoid costly mistakes and ensure the longevity of your slate roof, consult experienced roofing contractors with the necessary expertise in working with this type of roofing material.

Is It Worth Repairing Slate Roofing?

slate roof installation

Is repairing your slate roof worth the investment? Consider factors like the age of your roof, the current damage, and the cost comparison between repair and replacement.

Factors To Consider in Deciding Whether To Repair or Replace

When deciding whether to repair or replace a slate roof, several factors must be considered.

  • The age of the roof plays a significant role. Slate roofs have a life expectancy of approximately 100 years with proper care and maintenance, so if your roof is relatively young and only has minor damage, repairing it may be a viable option.
  • If your slate roof already requires frequent repairs, it might be more cost-effective in the long run to replace it entirely. Minor issues like broken or missing tiles can usually be repaired, but extensive rot or structural problems may necessitate a total replacement.
  • Consider your budget and how much you will invest in repairs instead of a new roof. Delaying necessary repairs can lead to further damage and costly repairs.

Cost Comparison Between Repairing and Replacing a Slate Roof

Repairing slate roofs can be more cost-effective in the short term, with an average cost of around $900 for replacing damaged underlayment and slipped tiles.

Replacing a slate roof can be quite expensive, ranging from $7,500 for synthetic slate on a 1,500-square-foot home and up to $45,000 for a natural slate roof.

For larger homes with 2,000 square feet of roof space, installing a new slate roof can range from $20,000 to $60,000.

Use Safety Equipment and Follow Safety Guidelines

Safety should be the top priority. Use the proper safety equipment and follow safety guidelines to help protect yourself from hazards.

Before starting, inspect your ladders for any visible defects and ensure they are in good condition. Wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a hard hat to safeguard against falling debris or accidents.

Please familiarize yourself with state and government guidelines for fall prevention and roof safety procedures. To learn more, visit


With a few considerations, knowing how to repair slate roofing can save you time and money.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you can confidently replace slate roof tiles and maintain the structural integrity of your roof. However, know your limits. There may come a point when it’s best to call a professional roofing contractor.

If your slate roofing is aging or extensively damaged, requires special materials, or if you’re unsure about your DIY skills, hiring a pro is worth considering.

Consult with an expert like the Shake Guys, who will help you make an informed choice for your home.

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