What is a slate ripper?

When carrying out roof maintenance, it’s quite common to find a tile is cracked or broken. It’s not a problem however because single tiles can be changed quite easily if you have the right tools.

Using a Slating hammer and a Slate ripper

Some tiles are simply fitted into place by being hooked over the battens underneath, so these simply need to be wedged up and pulled to remove them from the interlocking tiles. Some other tiles are nailed to the batten, so are a little more difficult to remove.

If your broken tile is nailed to a batten, you’ll have to use a slate ripper to remove it. A slate ripper is a flat, long blade that has a head which is arrow shaped. The slate ripper is pushed underneath the tiles and manipulated until one of the slat ripper’s arrow hooks catches onto the nail holding the tile in place. When pulled sharply the slate ripper cuts through the nail and the tile can then be removed. It’s worth noting that tiles are usually held in place by two nails so both will need cutting.

The slate ripper is attached to the handle by two right angle joints which lift the handle out of the way of the slates (and prevent your fingers scraping against the slates) and which also provides a surface to hit a hammer against.   While normally, a sharp tug would be enough to cut through the nail, if a tougher material is used or if the angle precludes the strong movement necessary, then a sharp rap with a hammer (it doesn’t need to be a specialist slating hammer, any hammer will do) should be enough to cleanly cut the securing nails.

Any replacement tiles can be held in place using a metal strip which can be nailed to the batten and hooked under the replacement tile securing it.