Slate tile roofing does not simply lend an appeal of elegance to a building. Despite the advances that have been made in roofing technology, slate remains one of the premier roofing materials in the industry. It is not only visually appealing but remarkably resilient in the face of environmental stressors.

Slate tile roofing is effectively immune to damage from insects and other pests. Likewise, slate tile roofing is extremely resilient in the face of extremes of heat and cold, as well as water damage. It absorbs almost no water, and when installed properly, will direct water away from a roof, protecting the material underneath against rot.

It is also impressively stable in the face of UV radiation, and, being a stone, it is entirely fireproof. Despite its somewhat “antiquated” persona, slate roof tiles are still considered a highly valuable, durable roofing material.

Yet slate roofs, like sheet metal roofs, require not only skill and experience but the proper set of tools to install and maintain. Because of the brittle nature and other distinct aspects of the material, highly specialized tools are required for working, forming, installing and removing slate shingles.

There are many shingle removers on the market, a tool which in the industry for slate tile roofing is also referred to as a slate ripper, but few if any of them can match the quality of our Stortz Slate Rippers. They’re specifically designed to deliver excellent performance, make the job of removing slate tiles easier, and to prevent common problems associated with removing tiles.

Problems with Other Shingle Removers

Many tools can remove slate shingles from a roof, but only well engineered tools can do so effectively and thousands of times without breaking. It comes down to a matter of the quality the slate shingles will exhibit once they’ve been removed. Slate is expensive, and breaking and chipping away at it is not always a viable option.

When installed properly, it should not be easy to get up underneath the edge of a slate tile. There should be minimal clearance and the tiles should be arranged in an overlapping pattern that both discourages vermin from getting underneath them and ensures that water flows off of them without reaching the medium underneath.

Consequently, large, bulky slate rippers cannot easily get underneath a slate tile in order to coax it free. The more pressure you exert on the tile to lift it up, the more pressure will in turn be exerted on the nails that affix it, making it difficult to remove.

Another potential issue is with improper tempering of the blades joined to these tools, which are used to slide under the tiles. Occasionally, given the lay of the roof, the slate ripper blade will need to exhibit a high degree of flexibility to get underneath the tile without exerting too much force on it.

Another problem faced by slate tile roofers is breakage or chipping, which is largely unknown to roofers working with more flexible media like sheet metal or asphalt shingles. Too much force or improperly laid out ergonomics can put undue strain on slate shingles, causing them to chip or break when force is applied to the tool in an attempt to coax the shingle free. Sometimes the problem is not the tile itself, but adjoining tiles, which can be carelessly broken when using improper techniques, or the wrong tools for the job.

Our Stortz Slate Ripper 84-A is only one of the models of shingle removers we offer here at, but it has been conscientiously designed to systematically address some of these issues.

It has a thin, tempered steel blade that is ideal for slipping underneath tricky shingles without interrupting their orientation or that of the adjoining slates. Because of this, it’s excellent for engaging the nails that secure the tiles and working them free, with minimal stress to the tile of interest, and with minimized risk to the slate tiles that lie around it.

This particular model features a one piece, forged construction; a minimum of moving parts increases the durability of the tool and the risk of breakage. However, some of our other slate rippers accept replaceable blades, so if the metal becomes stressed or fatigued, you can replace it very easily.

A tough temper, high degree of flexibility, thin profile and durable design make this tool optimally designed for working shingles loose while minimizing the chance of breakage, chipping or other damage. This shingle remover, like our others, is also ergonomically designed to offer maximum mechanical advantage to remove slate tiles in short order. Here’s how it works.

Using the Stortz Slate Ripper 84-A

Although we offer several different types of shingle removers here at John Stortz & Son, many of them operate according to the same principles. The blade features a divot at one end and is flanked by slots on either side.

Operation could not be more simple. To remove a slate tile from a roof, simply slide the blade underneath the tile in question and engage the nail that secures it within the depression at the end of the blade. Using a hammer, tap the handle of the shingle remover in order to dislodge the nail. At that point, you may be able to lift the tile free, but if not, you can secure the nail in one of the slots on either side of the end of the blade in order to pull it free.

Efficient, practical and expedient, the Stortz Slate Ripper 84-A is one of our most durable and effective models, but we also offer smaller slate rippers with replaceable blades that can be used in the same fashion. In addition, we carry slate rippers that also have angled claws on one end. These are useful for general applications where prying leverage is requisite as well as those in which remaining nails need to be pried up.

Great for Wooden Shakes, too!

Another feature of our slate rippers that adds value is that, despite the name, they are useful for more than just slate tiles and shingles. They’re useful in the lines of work for all tile roofers – even those that don’t work with stone like slate.

For example, consider the strong list of benefits offered by wooden roof shingles. Like slate, it might seem as though wood – like cedar and oak – is an antiquated material that has been eclipsed by modern engineering, but the opposite is actually true. Not only are wooden shingles and shakes surprisingly expensive, they are considered a premium roofing material.

Certain woods, like cedar, are extremely rot resistant, even in humid conditions. They contain oils that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi, giving them amazing longevity. They are also very, very strong and very flexible, as well as surprisingly weather resistant. Wooden shakes and shingles can also effectively protect a roof against rain and the elements, and are surprisingly viable insulators as well, both in the heat and in the cold.

Since they are so expensive, removing them without damaging them is the goal of many shingle roofing specialists. Our Slate Ripper shingle removers can be used to much the same effect for removing wooden shakes and shingles as for removing slate tiles.

Luckily, wooden shingles are less brittle than slate and other stone tiles, and stronger than some – but you’ll only need one shingle remover to get the job done, almost regardless of the medium. Our shingle removers are equally practical in both settings.

Be Prepared with Our Other Slate Roofing Tools

Our Stortz Slate Rippers are only one of the surprisingly effective and highly viable slate roofing tools that we offer here at Stortz. Actually, we specialize in providing high quality roofing tools to roofers and specialists around the country. In addition to our shingle removers, we also offer the following.

  • Slate cutters – Working with stone is not like working with ductile sheet metal or flexible wooden shingles. It is brittle and unforgiving, and forming it requires precision and the right tools. Our slate cutters are precision-engineered to form and shape slate tiles to fit the needs of the job. We offer handheld cutters in addition to mounted slate cutters and power slate cutters as well – whatever you need to get the job done right the first time.
  • Slate hammers – A slate hammer may appear to be a “pick” to the untrained eye, and though it categorically is not, it is designed to offer similar, precision utility. Most slate hammers have a pointed end at one side of the head and a flat face at the other. The pointed end can be used for creating precise holes and slots for nails to secure the shingles, whereas the flat face can be used for chipping and forming tiles and driving nails. Many slate hammers also feature a beveled shank or shaft that can also be used to cut or form slate tiles.
  • Slate hooks, rivets, nails and more – In addition to the tools necessary for working slate tiles and shingles, we also provide fasteners such as rivets, slate hooks and nails. Slate nails are often available in straight or ring shank, and many roofers prefer copper nails because they tend to last longer than steel. A ringed shank on a nail affords a better, longer lasting grip on the roof, but it is sometimes unnecessary and nails with smooth shanks can be removed more easily, facilitating repairs. Slate hooks, an alternative fastener, are sometimes employed for spot-fixes on slate roofs.

If you have any questions about our slate roofing tools, please feel free to reach out to us by phone or email and we would be more than happy to assist you.

Ask Us about Sheet Metal Roofing Tools

John Stortz & Son also provides a wide range of roofing tools for other disciplines, specifically sheet metal roofing. Our catalog of sheet metal roofing tools includes the following and more, so be sure to check them out if your specialty, or that of your organization, is sheet metal roofing.

  • Seamers, folding tools, pliers and tongs – Joining large plates of sheet metal together in a fashion that protects the building underneath from moisture and other elements requires precise fitting, forming, folding and seaming. We carry a variety of tools for both starting and finishing sheet metal standing seams, including hand seamers, power seamers, and even pliers for making precise adjustments to sheet metal in hard-to-reach areas. We also carry tongs, which can be used to manipulate sheet metal and form folds.
  • Sheet metal benders – Sheet metal brakes and benders are used for creating bends along the edges of sheet metal that can then be used to complete a seam, either at the edge of a roof or at a seam with another sheet of metal. We carry a variety of different benders capable of making bends and folds at precise angles and widths. Some of them also are safe for use with painted surfaces.
  • Sheet metal hammers – Sheet metal hammers have a wide range of uses, just as slate hammers do. Sheet metal hammers can be used for bending, raising, planishing, and forming sheet metal. We also carry dead blow hammers and chasing hammers in addition to our other sheet metal hammers. Some of them are even made with soft heads, like wood or PVC, to prevent marring the sheet metal.
  • Tin snips (A.K.A. aviation snips) – Tin snips may superficially all appear the same, but they exhibit a great degree of variation. Some of them are designed only to make straight cuts, whereas others can make cuts that are both straight and curved, although they curve only in one direction. Additionally, there are both simple snips and compound snips, which multiply the mechanical advantage of the tool.

Buy It Once, Buy It Right

At Stortz, we believe in quality handiwork and quality tools. Buying tools that can’t stand up to the rigors of the job will ultimately not serve anyone, and will end up costing you more. All of our tools are manufactured to an uncommon standard of quality. We’re proud of it and our customer satisfaction is all the testimony we need.

If you have any questions about our shingle removers or other tools, please feel free to contact us at 888-847-3456 and we will be more than happy to assist. In the meantime, visit our social media channels, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, where you can stay in touch with updates and learn more.