How To Use A Slate Ripper To Remove Damaged Slate Shingles

Construction & Contractors Articles

Slate is one of the most durable, long-lasting types of roofing materials, and its life expectancy in some American homes is estimated to exceed 200 years. However, as durable as slate is, it is somewhat brittle and can crack or break. A cracked or broken slate shingle is then likely to become a source of leaks. However, before a roof repair can be made, the damaged shingle needs to be removed. Using incorrect removal techniques can lead to damage to not only surrounding slates, it can also even damage the underlying lath. Below is how you can successfully remove slate shingles without causing needless damage to your roof:

Tools and materials needed

  • Slate ripper - sometimes called a shingle ripper or slate cutter, a slate ripper consists of a flat, hardened steel shaft with nail removal tools at the fore-end. These tools include a bladed nail cutter that is used on thrusting strokes and two nail pulling tools located on both sides of the shaft.

  • Claw hammer

  • Gloves

  • Eye protection

  • Whetstone

Step-by-step procedure

1. Be alert and protect yourself while working - any kind of work on a rooftop can be potentially hazardous, but removing slate shingles offers unique challenges. The surface is more slippery than asphalt, and the hard slate can contain sharp edges that cut. In addition, flying chips can break off during removal and pose a threat to your eyes. That's why it is important to wear the appropriate protection for your hands and eyes and never work on a wet rooftop. Be sure of your footing at all times and wear the appropriate footwear for moving around on the slate.

2. Sharpen your slate ripper's blade - the nail cutter on the slate ripper is useful for shearing nails underneath the adjacent layer of slate. However, it only works effectively when it is sharp; a dull cutting blade can cause your tool to slip or ride up on top of a nail. This can cause damage to surrounding slate shingles.

To avoid this possibility, you will need to sharpen the edge of your slate ripper's blade with a whetstone. Hold the slate ripper firmly between your legs while in a seated position with the nail cutting blade facing up. Next, pull the whetstone down into the blade edge at an angle just a few degrees more than the edge itself. This will permit the stone to cut into the blade and slowly hone it to a fine edge. Perform this action on both sides of the blade to obtain the sharpest edge.

3. Insert the slate ripper under the shingle - once the slate ripper's blade is sharp, insert the slate ripper's fore-end underneath the slate lying on top of the damaged slate that you wish to remove. After inserting the fore-end, carefully maneuver it around underneath the slate shingle and feel for the nails that hold down the bottom slate. The damaged slate is fastened to the other shingles and lath by at least two nails that lie about two-thirds of the way up from the bottom of the slate. Once you locate the nails, you are ready to commence cutting.

4. Cut the nails with a thrusting stroke - shearing the nails is simple with a sharp blade and good alignment. Pull the slate ripper back toward you, keeping it flat against the shingles beneath it, and drive it up toward the nails in a sharp, swift stroke. Keep a firm grip on the slate ripper handle and do not allow it to ride upward during the stroke. In addition, be careful not to drive the ripper too far, or you may inadvertently strike the shingles above and cause damage. If you fail to cut the nails on the first stroke, repeat your strokes until they shear.

5. Remove the slate shingle - once the nails are sheared in two, grasp the lower side edges of the damaged shingle and push down on the shingle. This will lift the top edge over the now-headless nails and will permit you to easily pull the slate down toward you.

6. Remove the nail stubs - with the damaged slate removed, the last task is to remove the nail stubs. These need to be removed to allow you to insert a replacement shingle. In some cases, the cutting process used in step 4 may also dislodge the nails and you won't need to worry about removing them. However, removing them is also an easy process.

Slide the slate ripper under the overlapping shingle and use the hooks located on both sides of the cutting head to find the protruding nail stubs. Once you locate them, pull one of the hooks down until it rests against the nail stub, then strike the flat striking surface located by the slate ripper's handle with the claw hammer. This sudden action will jerk the nail stub out of its hole. As with thrusting cuts, be careful not to elevate the slate ripper during this process or it may do damage to adjacent shingles.


27 July 2015

Exploring Contractor's Hand Tools

Welcome to my site, my name is Hugo Ciela. I'd like to talk to you about hand tools used by contractors of all kinds. Although air and power tools frequently make jobs easier, and sometimes even more enjoyable, hand tools have not lost their place in this industry. Many jobs cannot be completed without a hand tool or two due to their versatility and precision. Contractors of all types, ranging from roofers to foundation specialists, keep a plethora of hand tools in their worksite kit. I will discuss the types of hand tools you might see in those kits. I will also explore all of the different ways they can be used. Please stick around to learn more information about contractor's hand tools.