Reroofing is a major project that should usually be carried out by a professional contractor, but skilled DIYers can often handle small-scale repairs.
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The most common problems with a tiled roof are broken tiles (slates, or shingles), missing tiles and damage to a valley. These may be due to natural wear and tear, or as a result of storm damage, for example. This article shows steps to replacing a few types of tile, and three common valley structures.
The method needed for replacing a roof covering will depend on the type of tile or shingle in use. For instance, the steps below show a simple way of replacing a tile, but you may need to alter them slightly, as described alongside the steps. To remove a slate, you may prefer to use a slate ripper rather than a hacksaw blade (as shown). Slate rippers are specially designed to remove fasteners that are under a row of slates, but they are specialty tools and probably not worth buying unless you are likely to replace a lot of slates. With wooden shingles, the problem may have to do with waterproofing rather than breakages: damp shingles may buckle or rot. Replace split or damaged shingles so that they do not allow moisture to penetrate into or through the roof. Replacing asphalt shingles is easier because they are flexible, so they can simply be lifted up to give access to the fasteners beneath them.
Cutting a Tile or Shingle
Wooden shingles and shakes can be cut with a saw, and asphalt shingles can be cut with a utility knife. Clay and concrete tiles are best cut using an angle grinder. Slates can be scored by running a sharp nail along a guide line, and then snapped along that line, or they can be split apart by tapping the scored line with the edge of a trowel.
Tiles with nibs may be nailed in place, so those nails may need to be cut free. Otherwise, lift the old tile free of the furring strip, and lip the end of a new one over the furring strip. With inter-locking or single-lap tiles, wedge up the tiles next to the damaged one, as well as those above it, as shown here, to undo the interlocking joints.
Wedge up the tiles above the broken one, so that you can access it (Image 1). Unhook the tile from the furring strip and lift out the broken tile.
Position the new tile, hooking its nibs over the furring strip and ensuring that it is securely attached (Image 2). Remove the wedges from the adjoining tiles, and check that the new tile is sitting flush with the neighboring tiles.
Remove any loose pieces of slate, then cut away the nails with a hacksaw blade wound in tape at the "handle" end (Image 1).
Nail a strip of lead over the exposed vertical joint between slates, securing into the furring strip below (Image 2). You can use clips instead.
Position a new slate to replace the old one, ensuring that it fits well (Image 3).
Bend the lead or clip up over the new slate to secure it in position (Image 4).
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009