Slate roofing is a great value in that it can last for a century or more. As a solid rock, slate presents an nearly impervious surface to the world, but over time this surface can break down. It is typical for individual shingles to fail before your whole roof is in need of replacement. You can call in professionals to do these repairs for you, but as long as you know what you are doing, you should be able to fix your roof on your own.
How to Walk on a Slate Roof
One of the common mistakes that homeowners make with a slate roof is walking on it. You cannot just nonchalantly walk across a slate roof. Instead, you have to pay attention to every footfall. Avoid the middle of a shingle, and instead aim for where the bottom of one shingle rests on the underlying shingle. The middle of a shingle is unsupported and can crack if you step on it, but the supported bottom edge should be fine to walk on. When you reach the place where you need to make a repair, you should put down a piece of plywood to distribute your weight over a greater area to reduce cracking.
How to Make Repairs
Repairing a slate shingle is different than making repairs to an asphalt or wood shingle, but it is still within the skill set of a homeowner. Use a slate hook to hold replacement shingles in place. A slate hook will look somewhat similar to the number "5." Use a slate hook in the following way:
1. If your piece of damaged slate is still in place, use a flat nail puller to remove the nail that secures it to your roof.
2. Use roofing cement to fill the nail hole.
3. With a straight edge and a piece of chalk mark where the bottom edge of your new shingle should fall.
4. Mark the middle of this line.
5. Making sure that the bottom edge of your hook extends just below the chalk-line you drew and that it is on your middle mark, drive the straight end of your slate hook into your roof.
6. Slide your new piece of slate into place and make sure that the bottom edge fits nicely into the curved end up your slate hook.
As you can see, making repairs to a slate roof is not all that difficult. In fact, the trickiest part of making a repair is simply walking on your roof. If you don't have a head for heights, or you are worried about creating more damage to your roof, you can always call a roofing professional like Calgary Onit Roofing & Exteriors Inc who are experienced in working with slate to make repairs for you.