Although roof tiles can last a long time, up to fifty years in some cases, there are odd times they need replacing. And, as their purpose is to protect the home underneath, when a problem develops, it needs immediate attention. It is not a job that can easily be put off until another day. Whether the tile damage is due to high winds, or severe frost, roof settling or as a result of fallen debris, delays in response will compound the problem, increasing the risk of costly damage.
While replacing a roof tile is in itself not a particularly difficult job, it is carried out at height so poses serious risks to personal safety. For this reason it’s important to consider all aspects of safety before tackling this job. This begins with stable, secure access, and not taking unnecessary risks. Never work on a roof during windy and wet conditions, no matter how good your equipment is. Wait, or call in a professional.
Replacing a nailed roof tile
A broken tile or one that has slipped cannot normally be simply nailed back into position because the original fixing nails will be hidden behind the bottom edge of the tile above. The replacement tile must be secured in place with a clip (known as a tingle). This consists of a piece of lead sheet approximately 300 x 15mm.
The first step is to remove the broken tile. This is done by gently sliding it downwards, ensuring that the overlapping tiles above are not disturbed. Remove the old nails from the batten using pliers if possible. If this is too difficult, then cut them off flush using a cold chisel or bolster.
Then attach the clip to the batten in the gap between the two slates in the course above, fixing it with a galvanised nail, through the clip, about 25mm from the end, into the batten. You will end up with the short side of the clip running horizontal and the long edge vertically down.
Then, gently slide the new tile into position from below so it sits on the new clip. Fold the bottom end of the clip over the tile to complete the repair.
Replacing a non nailed roof tile
These tiles are even easier to replace because they are not nailed to the roof battens. Rather, they are held firm by the use of nibs that protrude from their top edge. Tilt the tiles, in the course above the broken one, upwards so you have enough room to free the remnants of the broken tile from the batten. Use a small wedge underneath the adjacent tiles to hold them in place while you carefully insert the new tile by sliding it in position from below.
Make sure the nibs are securely hooked over the timber batten. Once in place, ease the tiles above back to their original positions, again making sure that the nibs remain hooked over the batten. When securely in position, remove the wedges from the adjacent tiles.