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Slate Roof Installation – Cutting & Punching Slate

In this segment we will show some basic techniques for cutting slate and punching nail holes.

Techniques For Cutting Slate

The two most common ways to cut slate include a stake and slate hammer or a guillotine style cutter. To use stake and slaters hammer the slate is marked on the back side and then laid across the stake with the waste side overhanging the stake, then using the side of the slater’s hammer carefully chop along the line.

Another method for cutting slate is the guillotine. The slate is marked on the back side, and then use short, firm strokes to cut across the slate. With a little practice, a guillotine is very easy to use. The stake is more difficult to master although many experienced slaters prefer it.

Technique For Punching Nail Holes In Slate

A nail hole can be punched in the slate using the pointy end of the slaters hammer. One firm strike on the back of the slate will punch a clean hole on the back and a spalled hole on the face. This will allow the nail to countersink. Some guillotine style cutters have a built-in punch on one end. I hope this helped you understand the basics of cutting and punching slate.

For part 5 of our series, on Installing Slate, click here.

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When our clients are looking for a natural slate roof, we highly recommend North Country Slate.

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We have used North Country black on a large number of occasions, and we’ve found it to be an excellent quality slate it is very “workable”.

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Looking for a slate roofing contractor?
We work with the top “slaters” to ensure quality installation from slate roofing repairs, restoration or new construction. Read More
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The standard sizes for roofing slate start at 12″ in length and increase by 2-inch increments up to 24″ in length. Read More
How much does a slate roof cost? We are often asked by designers, architects, home and building owners “What will a slate roof cost me”?
On average, North American produced S-1 rated roofing slate will cost $400 – $600 USD per square (100 square feet) or $4.00 to $6. Read More

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