How to make a shed slate roof
Slating is a process that has happened over hundreds of years. It is a system that guarantees secure roofing with only problems occurring in extreme circumstances. Slating is relatively cheap and will not take a long time to create, however, slate roofs are becoming more and more frequent thanks to the protection they offer.
Before we look into materials and options, the first thing required is for you to find out the pitch of your roof. To do this, you can download an app onto your Smartphone which will accurately workout the angle of your roof.
Once you have your angle, this will establish what size slates you must use and how big the overlap must be to maintain the waterproof feature. Here is a link to an online calculator that will work out everything you need to know, alternatively you can contact any slate manufacturer and they will also be happy to help.
Once you have ordered your slates then make sure you check the weather report as you cannot work in the rain. A dry weekend is perfect.
Now for the slating.
1) Give you roof rafters a once over and remove and old nails or splinters and sand any hard parts down.
2) Grab yourself either under-slater's felt or roofing membrane and lay it out horizontal across the rafters.
3) Nail one side of the felting so that it is not tight but will remain in position without ripping. We advise 1 inch galvanised nails.
4) Pull the opposite side of the membrane so that it is not tight and has a little sag between each rafter. Nail down once more and then nail the rest of the rafters so that it is fixed.
5) The slates are attached to what are called battens. To work out how many battens your roof requires is easy. Using a single slate, add an overhang of the slate and then where the middle of the slate lies, fix your first batten. Then using a second slate work out the distance between the two and then you have your distance. Now we divide the distance into the overall length of the roof the find out how many are required.
6) Fix the battens to the shed roof, accurately measuring the distance each time so that you do not have problems occurring when laying the slates. An easy little hack is to cut three spare pieces of timber perfectly so you can slide them on top of a batten and then it rests whilst you nail it down. Continue until the roof is full.
7) Now it’s time for your starter course, the first layer of slates. This layer will be the edge of the roof layer, just like we added the single one before. To maintain the vigour of the roof this layer is best-done cut in half. Just above the two holes on the slate chop it off and position on the roof until the first line is complete.
8) Now you can continue each line as normal, using 40mm nails you can fix down the slates but remember not to nail down too hard as it may penetrate too far into the wood and out through the membrane. Instead of walking over your slates, start from one side and work inwards on yourself diagonally. This is ideal as it gives you more of a visual gauge to the slates.
9) Once you reach the top of your roof, again using half slates, attach them to the top of the roof and this will keep the roof weatherproof.
10) Finally, using lead toppers you can secure and finish the roof. The lead toppers fit on top of the roof corner and stop any chance of rain coming through as well as visually adding a lovely finish to the roof.
This is a simple guide to slating and we strongly recommend doing your research before contemplating the process. Online you will find loads of videos as well as tips and guides to help you build your slate roof.
If it is something you think is too much for you then either contract somebody in to do the job.
Alternatively, check out our range of new sheds and remove all the hassle of building a slate roof.
If you want to know how to build your own shed from scratch, take a look at our handy video below