Disaster has struck after excessive weather problems – your roof tiles are damaged and need repairs. Well, there’s no time to wait around, you need to perform a roof tile repair as soon as possible before it gets any worse. That’s where our guide comes in.

Here, we’ll teach you how to replace roof tiles and what you can do to prevent these issues in future.

Table of contents

Roof repair safety tips

Before any roof repairs, you must have the correct workwear and equipment. While that may include simple hand tools or roofing tiles, you must not forget safety equipment.

One of the first things you’ll need is a ladder. The ladder must be strong, stable, and able to reach the roof. If your ladder is damaged or broken, do not use it because it is a health and safety risk. The ladder must also sit on flat, level ground, and an assistant to hold the ladder is recommended to prevent the ladder from wobbling. Some ladders have special hooks to hold them to the roof’s edge, so consider this to ensure further safety measures have been taken.

Safety ropes are also a good idea for protecting you in cases of slips and trips. The steeper the pitch of the roof, the higher the risk. So, think about getting some for current and future repairs – you’ll thank yourself later.

If you want that added protection, gloves would be a good choice since you’ll be handling materials that could damage your hands. Safety boots (strong ones) are also highly recommended to prevent the slip risk.

Dry weather is also prime time to perform roof repairs as your roof is less likely to be wet or slimy from rain, moss and any other debris. So, it minimises your risk of slipping.

The most important thing to realise is that safety is a priority when performing roof repairs, as falling off the roof is incredibly dangerous, with many cases leading to severe injury or death. As expressed by the Health and Safety Executive guidance for working at height:

  • Plan extensively in advance of the work.
  • Have supervision to ensure your safety while working at height.
  • Ensure you feel competent enough to carry out the work yourself.

How to replace a broken roof tile

A single broken tile is typically easy to deal with, depending on the severity of the damage. Now, if the tile is broken in half or severely damaged, you must replace it. So, how do you replace a roof tile?

Tip: Check out our roof tiles buyer’s guide to learn more about the tiles we have right here at our superstore to find the right replacement.

First, let’s take a look at what you’ll need:

  • New roof tile
  • Pry bar
  • Sealant or roofing cement
  • Nails (optional)

Step one: Gently pry off the tiles around the broken tile

Using a pry bar, remove the tiles around the damaged tile, then take out the damaged tile.

Step two: Apply sealant or roofing cement to the new tile

Apply sealant or roofing cement to the underside of your new tile (checking manufacturer’s instructions) and slot the new tile in place. Repeat this for the other tiles you removed to access the damaged one. You can nail the new tile in place for more secure positioning, but this is optional.

Note: Make sure the new title is positioned correctly and securely with no noticeable gaps.

It’s as simple as that!

How to repair a cracked roof tile

A cracked roof tile is much simpler in terms of repairs. In fact, all you have to do is apply roof sealant along the crack to prevent leaking.

In some cases, for larger cracks, you may need to remove the surrounding tiles (as you would when replacing a broken tile) to reach all points of the split.

How to replace a slate roof tile

The easiest way to replace slate roof tiles is using a slate ripper. So, let’s look at what you need for this:

  • New slate tile
  • Slate ripper
  • Tin snips
  • Hammer
  • Strip of lead

Step one: Use your slate ripper

Apply the slate ripper underneath the damaged slate, this will trap the nail in the hook, then hammer the handle of the slate ripper. The hammering will force the nail out of place. Do this for both nails.

Step two: Slide the broken slate out of the roof

After you have removed both nails, slide the broken slate from the roof. Compare it with the new slate to make sure the sizes are matching. They must be an exact match for suitable repairs, so trim to size if needed.

Step three: Use your lead strip to hook the slate in place

Using your strip of lead, nail this into place against the timber batten. Then, push the new slate up and into position, levelling it with the other slates. At this point, you can fold the lead strip over the bottom of the replacement slate to hold it in place like a hook.

There you have it! Your new slate tile should be secure.

There is also an alternative solution that involves a HallHook®. This handy little tool can save you the trouble of invasive slate replacement solutions, so check out the video below for guidance if you’re intrigued.

Are you considering a complete slate roof replacement or transitioning from clay or concrete roof tiles to slate? Check out how to slate a roof, as well as roof slate prices, slate buyer’s guide and much more to help you make the right decision for your requirements.

How to repair roof shingles

If the roof shingle is broken, you must replace it. A shingle replacement has typically the same process as a roof tile, so difficulty should be minimal.

Over time, roof shingles can also curl at the corners. This is common, but they will still need repairs as they can be a source of a leaking roof.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to deal with this issue:

  • Trowel or similar tool
  • Roof sealant

Step one: Smooth the edges of the roof shingle

Using the trowel or a tool of a similar style, press against the edges of the shingle where it has curled to smooth it out.

Step two: Apply roof sealant to the corner of the shingle(s)

Using roof sealant will help keep the shingle in place. Apply the roof sealant as needed, then press it firmly to allow for a secure repair.

Tip: Provided your roof isn’t sloped on a steep angle, sitting a heavy object on the top of the shingle overnight can help ensure it stays in the intended position – take great care if doing this, ensuring it doesn’t fall and injure passersby.

Cedar shingles on a roof

Can’t I get help with roof repairs near me?

You can indeed! A professional is always a good idea if you’re unsure about carrying out repairs personally. In fact, check out the average cost of roof repairs via how to repair a leaking roof. Learn how to save your furnishings and take immediate action when you notice water falling from the ceiling.

You can also learn more about the causes of roof damage in what to do if a storm damages your roof to help you identify potential causes and what action to take following the discovery.

If you already have preparations in place but your property is suffering from dampness, we’ve got a guide dedicated to ways you can damp-proof your home. Go ahead and check it out amongst the array of other Help and Advice we have available to ensure your property is taken care of.

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