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  Broken roof slate            
 

If you've got a cracked or missing roof slate rain water will get in and could cause considerable damage. You'll need to replace the broken slate. Sometimes you may find the slate is not damaged and has simply slid out of place (probably caused by corrosion on the securing nail)

The tricky thing is due to the way slates are laid on a roof. They are nailed onto the roof battens starting from the bottom. The next tiles up is overlapped thus covering the nails. So the problem when removing the odd tile is to get it out and secure a new one in place without disturbing the surrounding tiles

     

How to repair a slate roof
Removing a tile
This is easy with the correct tool. You'll need a tile ripper. This is a specially designed tool which slides under the tile. You hook it over the retaining nail and either pull down sharply or use a hammer. This will pull out or snap the retaining nail. With the nail ripped out the old tile should slide out.
Roof tile ripper
 

With the old tile out the new one will simply slide in but you need a mean of securing it. Several method are available.

For a quick temporary fix you could simply glue the new one on place with some high performance instant grab adhesive like Gripfill. Make sure that under the tiles are clean and dry. And use a weatherproof waterproof adhesive.
Remember, you'll need an applicator gun for this product. (see my tools section)

 
 

For a more permanent fix:
Make yourself a "tingle" from a piece of sheet lead or aluminium, or any non rusting metal that is easy to bend.

Cut a long strip approx. 25mm. wide and drill a small hole in it. This is nailed in the gap between the underlying tiles onto the wooden roof batten.(you should be able to estimate where the batten is underneath the roofing membrane by looking at the position of the tiles and comparing where the nail hole is on the new tile). Make sure you use a galvanised (non rusting) nail.

With the "tingle" nailed in place slide the new tile in place on top of it. You need to plan the length of it so that a small amount is left sticking out. Finally bend the sticking out bit over the tile to form a hook which stops the tile slipping down.

 

               
A tingle made from thin metal sheet with a hole in for nailing. Bend the end over as shown when the tile is in place to secure the tile.  
     
   
New tile slides in place with tingle bent over to hold it
     


There are a number of specially made slate fixing brackets available which do the job of a home made tingle

Ubbink make an adjustable nylon strap which they say is virtually invisible when in place
http://www.ubbink.co.uk
(click on "product downloads" and scroll down to Simfix slate strap)

 

NB WARNING Working at heights can be dangerous. You must ensure that you use appropriate access equipment. It is your responsibility to ensure your own safety.