Damaged Tiles On Your Roof

January 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Home Improvement & Extensions

Can I replace missing and damaged tiles or shingles on my roof without calling a contractor?

It is always recommended that you use a professional to do any work on your roof, but in case of an emergency, it is possible for you to replace a shingle or broken tile on your roof yourself.

Composition shingles:

For composition shingles, roof cement can be used to repair torn or curled shingles. Stabilize repaired shingles with nails or a heavy board until the cement has dried.

To replace a composition shingle, carefully lift the shingle above the missing shingle, then trim and place the new shingle underneath so that it doesn’t catch on any edges (it may be necessary to remove excess staples or nails). Carefully nail the new shingle into place.

Wood shingles or shakes:

For wood shingles, repairs are best done with an aluminium piece that can be slid under the shingle. This should protect the exposed area, while not being visible from below.

To replace a wood shingle requires a special tool, a shingle ripper, to slip under the shingle and hook and cut the nail. The nail can also be cut with a hacksaw, but is difficult to do. Slip the new shingle into position. Then nail it into place right below the end of the overlapping shingle above. Finally, with a block of wood against the shingle butt, drive it up the last inch to bend the nails under the shingle above.


To replace a tile on a roof, remove all of the broken pieces, then gently lift the tiles and slide the new tile into place until it hooks over the batten.



  • Select up to three roof contractors to look at the job. If possible, obtain recommendations from family, friends, neighbours or a reputable trade association.
  • Ask each of them to give advice on which materials they would suggest using on your roof.
  • Invite quotes from each contractor but do not automatically take the cheapest option. Base your choice on the quality of the advice given and your confidence in the contractor.
  • Ask for a guarantee on new or refurbishment work. Remember that even the best contractors can go out of business whereupon their own guarantees become worthless, so make sure you will be covered.
  • Ensure that the quote or estimate selected is given to you in writing – except possibly for small emergency repairs.
  • Bear in mind that ‘estimates’ for refurbishment work can change once the chosen contractor has removed the main covering (e.g. tiles/ slates) to expose the sub-structure underneath.



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