How to Install a New Slate Tile Roof How to Install a New Slate Tile Roof

What You'll Need
Slate Ripper (or Cutter)
Slate Hammer
Slate Starter Strip
Chalk Line
Stainless Steel Nails
Tape measure
Drill with 1/8 Bit

A slate tile roof is one of the most durable roofs of all. Slate tile roofs need very little maintenance and can last up to 75 years depending on the kind of slate used. Slate tile roofing can stand up to extreme weather conditions. Slate tile roofing is not very hard to install, but takes longer than regular roof tiles since each tile has to be fixed one at a time. Before installing a new slate tile roof, it is recommended that you find out as much as you can about the different styles and patters of slate. Follow up with the manufacturer and the quality they offer. You will need the tools and instructions listed below for this project.

Step 1 – Drilling the Tiles

All of the slate tiles will need to have a hole drilled in them. This will allow you to nail each one to the roof. Where you drill in the tile will depend on the particular pattern you want to create. The manufacturer’s instructions will have helpful tips on where to drill the holes. If possible, drill the holes before hand to save time from doing it at installation.

Step 2 – Marking the Center Point

On the lower edge of the roof, find the central point. This is where you can snap a chalk like to mark the center point from the lower edge to the top. This will look like the roof is divided in two. 

Step 3 – Starter Tiles

Lay down the starter strip. The starter strip will actually overhang at the end by about 1.5 inches. Be careful nailing in the tiles so they won’t crack from being driven in too far. If they are not driven in enough, the heads of the nails will be up above the tile level, and the next set of tiles will not sit correctly.

Step 4 – First Set

The first set of tiles can be attached with the slate hammer and stainless steel nails using the holes you created in them beforehand. When a set has been installed, snap a new chalk line to let you know where the next set will sit. Snapping the new chalk line will mark the tile's exposure. This lets you know where the next set will sit.

Step 5 – Staggering the Sets

Each tile will need to be installed so that the head lap will be at least three inches to allow protection from moisture. Stagger the tiles starting from the bottom of the roof up to the top so that each tile overlaps the one below it. Staggering will create separate layers that serve as a protective barrier. 

Step 6 – The Remaining Roof

Snap a chalk line for each set of tiles to show their exposure so you know where they will sit. Keep staggering as you work up to the ridge. On the other side of the roof, you will install the slate tiles in the same fashion. The V-shaped ridge tiles will be installed last at the top.

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