How to Remove Interlocking Roof Tiles

Written by andrea stein
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How to Remove Interlocking Roof Tiles
Removing interlocking tiles takes only a few steps and requires no nail removal. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Roof tiles, or thin slabs of slate or fired clay used to protect a roof, often come in interlocking or overlapping systems that remove the need for nails. Replacing cracked or otherwise damaged roof tiles requires removing them from the interlocked system. Taking off these roof tiles requires a little time and extra care to ensure the tiles remain watertight, but a pair of pliers and a few other simple tools should help you complete the task.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hand brush
  • Hammer or timber wedges
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Ladder
  • Work gloves

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  1. 1

    Position a ladder beneath the area of the roof that contains the roof tiles in need of replacement. Ascend the ladder carefully and climb onto the roof. Take special care when moving across the roof to make sure your balance remains steady.

  2. 2

    Lift the row of tiles positioned directly above the row that contains the tiles to be replaced, using your hand. Wedge a hammer's handle under the row to keep it lifted while you remove the tiles beneath that row.

  3. 3

    Lift the tiles in need of replacement, and check for any wires connecting those tiles to the batten, or plastic sheeting, that covers the roof. Use a pair of wire cutters to cut the wires.

  4. 4

    Use a hand brush to brush off any dirt or sediment that may be lodged into the grooves of the tiles used to interlock the freed tile. Take extra care to remove all traces of sediment. Any remaining dirt or grime in the grooves may lead to a loose connection between the tiles, which can result in water leakage.

  5. 5

    Hold the tile at an angle as you slide it into the grooves and press down. The tile should lock in place on either side, fitting securely into the grooves of the other tiles. Remove the hammer handle from the upper row of tiles to lower them back down in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Substitute timber wedges for a hammer handle to securely brace the row above the tiles that require replacement.
  • If the tiles to be removed are not wired to the batten, you will need to free the tiles through the roof space.
  • To avoid injury, always wear work gloves when using hand tools and handling roof tiles.

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