Installing a slate roof is challenging but provides an aesthetic quality that can last for 150 years or longer. Although slate roofs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, installation is faster and less problematic with larger-sized tiles and may be more suited to a “do-it-yourself” project. Slate is suitable for roofs with a minimum slope of 4 inches of height per 12 inches of length and requires a 3-inch headlap to ensure water tightness. Fitting a slate roof requires the correct preparation and application techniques to complete the project effectively.
Aluminium nails should be used in preference to galvanized nails as aluminium will not corrode whereas the galvanise coating will tend to. Alternatively copper or stainless steel nails can be used.
Slates can be either nailed at the center line or near the top. When slates are nailed at the top, the nails are covered by two slates and so are less exposed, but, being secured at only one end, they are at risk of being lifted by the wind and are more likely to be broken. Nailing slates at the centre line reduces the protection to the nails but reduces the risk of them being lifted by the wind. Generally, it is better to nail them at their center line using non-corroding nails.
Do not overdrive the nails, just pinching the surface of the slate is enough – over-driving the nails risk damaging the slate (from the head of the hammer hitting the surface) and putting unnecessary stress onto the slate which will make it more likely to break.
Most artificial slates come with the holes already drilled, where necessary nail holes should be drilled at least 30 mm in from the edge and 25 mm in from the top.
Start aligning and nailing at the lower row of half slates at a verge or other appropriate place – work away from this point along and up the roof. Keep an eye on the position of the holes in relation to the battens, this should prevent you from going off line.
The most notable con when it comes to installing a slate tile roof on your home is its high cost, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Other than that, the negatives of slate roofing tile that homeowners should be aware of include tough installation requirements, the fragility of slate tiles, and complications that arise in replacing damaged slate tile.