How to Repair a Slate Roof

Hi. I’m Deanna Meske here with HRC TV. HRC provides you with subject specific videos that you can use to learn from personally or train others with. We also feature qualified businesses and let the world know about the amazing work they’re doing in their communities. Today, we’re here in New Orleans, Louisiana, and with us is John Chan one of the master slaters in the country.

He’ll be showing us how to repair a broken or damaged slate. Let’s just see what Mr. Chan has in store for us.

John Chan: Hi I’m John with Durable Slate and we put this mock roof up so that I can show you how to do a slate repair. This is a new, semi-weathering gray-green slate from Vermont and we’re going to go ahead and take out this slate right here.

All right, I’m going to show you how to do it. So, first thing you need is one of these it’s called a slate ripper and this will pull out the nails from the slate. You don’t want to cut the nail, you actually want to pull it out.

So, what you want to do is slide this up, slide your hook onto the nail, and you can either pull on it or you can pound your hammer right here. We’ll just pull on this one.

See how I pulled the nails completely out. There’s two acceptable ways to repair this. One is by using a slate hook. And it’s made out of stainless steel, so it won’t rust and it will basically be on your roof forever.

So I’m going to go ahead and line it up right here and nail it into the roof.

Now I’m going to take this slate and with slide it up in here. And we use my slate ripper to pull it back down into place.

Okay, so as you can see this slate is held at the bottom by the hook, it’s held on the sides by these slates, and held into position by these slates. And from the ground, you can barely notice that hook. That’s one acceptable method of repairing a slate. The other is by using what we call a center nail and a bib.

So, I’m gonna go ahead and take the slate out.

All right, so here’s my repair slate. I’m gonna go ahead and slide it in to position. Alright, that looks pretty good right there. I’m going to use a galvanized nail that is spiral twisted. If you can see that, it’s got a small head on it. So what I’m going to do is nail it in between these slates up here.

I’m going to pound this nail all the way in, but not through.

So, that nail is in place. I’m going to use one of these, this is aluminum, you can also use copper or stainless steel. This is what’s known as a bib and what would do with my bib flashing is I’m going to barb it.

I put these three cuts into both sides. And what that point does is it grabs the slate, so it doesn’t want to fall out because these are going to eventually fall out with gravity.

I’m going to slide this up past my nail. So now that nail is completely flashed, I’m going to push my slates back together. And you can’t tell that this slate has ever been repaired. It looks just like the rest of the roof. That’s how you do a slate repair with The Durable Slate Company.

Deanna: Well, that was some amazing work with John Chan at The Durable Slate Company. And that about wraps up this segment on HRC TV. Stay tuned for more educational videos in the historical restoration and construction world.

See you next time.

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