How To Install Slate Roof

How To Install Slate Roof
  • Author: Amanda Arnold
  • Posted On: July 5, 2022
  • Updated On: August 21, 2023

A building gains much grandeur from slate roof tiles. They are durable and quite effective at blocking out harsh weather. Since each tile needs to be set separately, installing slate roof tiles takes longer than installing a composition roof.

In contrast to other roof materials that soak water, slate is a resilient and hard-wearing material that gives a pitched roof waterproofing quality. This indicates that the slate is resistant to freezing and frost damage.

You’ve decided that slate is the best material for your roofing job. But how to install a slate roof? We’ve put up concise instructions on how to slate a roof in this post.

Know About The Types Of Slate Roofs

Natural Roof Slate

Numerous types of slate can be used for roofing. Exactly as you would anticipate, the natural roof slate. This genuine slate roof option provides the most natural slate look, which also offers several advantages.

In addition to having a great appearance, it is also frost- and fire-resistant and needs little upkeep. Additionally, it is available in a wide range of fashions.

Recycled Roof Slate

Waste slate components are mixed to create a recycled roof slate. Given that the final project is not produced through a manufacturing process, this has even more influence on the environment. This thus implies that there is less waste.

Customized Rood Slate

Consumers believe that synthetic roof slate is more environmentally friendly. Although they were developed using a more contemporary methodology, they have a typical slate appearance. They also have a significantly lower chance of breaking because of how they were made.

Steps To Install A Slate Roof

Although hooks are used in the conventional way of slating a roof, this can be labor-intensive and difficult. Find out if your slates are pre-holed beforehand. If not, you must drill two holes into the slate, one on either side of the narrow width, about a third of the way up the length of the slate.

A variety of cutting and holing instruments can be used for this.

1) Measure Your Roof Underlayment

Compared to other types of roofing, such as zinc and copper roofs, slate roofs are heavier. Some homes and structures may require reinforcement to support the substantial weight of the slate. The first step in the procedure is to evaluate the underlying structure’s strength and integrity.

Assuring the building is sturdy enough to support a slate roof is another important step. The roof must first be strengthened, if necessary before construction can start.

2) Check The Slate For Required Overlap

Look at the slate manufacturer’s standard after determining the pitch of your roof. Each manufacturer will recommend the necessary overlap for a sturdy and secure slate roof. The membrane should be protected by ensuring your rafters or trusses are free of splinters.

After that, start from one bottom corner of the roof trusses and roll your selected roofing membrane to the opposite corner. Repeating this technique, work your way up to the top of the roof. Assemble your roof to encourage any water to pour into the gutter that gets past the slates.

3) Install Felt Underlayment

A felt underlayment should still be utilized to safeguard the roof structure while the slate tiles are being laid, even though slate roofs typically do not require one to stay watertight. This underlayment will be removed when each row of tiles is finished and the roof’s flashing is put in place.

4) Start Installing Slate Tiles

With the aid of galvanized copper roofing nails, each slate is placed in a course. The slate is softly penetrated with these nails, which are then sunk until they are flat with the slate surface. If the slate is nailed too firmly, it may break and damage.

Therefore, caution should be used to prevent overdriving nails during this stage. Each slate must create a head lap overlapping the bottom and upper course. A water-tight roof is made possible by the overlapped nature of slate tiles.

The roof will leak if there is not the required head lap and overlap. Therefore, it is usually preferable to leave slate roof installation to the experts. Even little installation errors can cause serious leaks.

5) Use Copper Flashing For Valley

During the slate installation process, copper flashing is added in valleys, close to gutters, chimneys, and other roof gaps. Because of its lengthy lifespan, a copper standing seam is recommended. After all the flashing is in place, the slate courses are arranged over the roof battens.

Add underlay and flashing until the roof is entirely covered and the project is finished.

6) Use Chalk Line For Staggering Each Course

As you progress farther up the roof, use your chalk line to mark each course’s exposure and stagger each course appropriately. When you reach the ridgeline, repeat the process on the opposite side of the roof to attach the slate tiles. Ridge tiles, typically with an inverted V shape, are used to complete the project.


Slate hooks can be used as an alternative technique for fixing slates. Hooks on roofs must be used under specific circumstances. All perimeter slates should be fastened and hook-fixed while mending slates.

It is crucial to confirm that the cut slate’s width is suitable to permit adequate fastening at hips or valleys. Half-slate should be used when necessary. Use slate and a half for alternative courses.

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Author: Amanda Arnold

Amanda has been working with ConstructionHow since 2021. Her experience spans over 5 years in the creative niche such as home decor and trends, landscaping, renovations, and custom architectural values. As a home designer expert, she has a keen eye for the latest home improvement trends with accurate facts that readers find impossible to ignore. Being invested in home-building trends is how she has gained her lucrative expertise exploring more to bring a positive ambiance for all homeowners (and even tenants!). Currently, she lives in a beautiful beach home, a source of fascination for her.