Slate rippers are a central tool in the arsenal of a roofer that works with shingles. The basic design is simple. It usually consists of a long, thin, tempered blade with a notch at the end and a few hooks or notches along the side. These are coupled to a shaft that reaches a handle at the other end.

These tools are instrumental in removing old slate tile shingles and cedar shakes in order to prepare a roof for maintenance or the addition of new shingles or shakes. Though the premise of their operation is very basic, a well-engineered tool can save a roofer a lot of trouble, enable the speedy and efficient removal of shingles, without breaking them or unseating or breaking the shingles adjacent to the one in question.

The most basic method of operation is to use one of the rear facing hooks to “catch” onto the nails that secure the single in place on the rooftop. Since these nails are located underneath the shingles and are difficult to access, the thin blade of the slate ripper must be slid underneath the shingle to access it. Then, by pulling backwards, the nail can be coaxed free. See below for an example.

That is not the only method of operation that concerns a good slate ripper. Thoughtfully designed models will also have a notch or a divot along the leading edge of a blade that can also “catch” a nail. However, this method of use is different.

If a nail is stubborn and can’t be easily worked free using one of the rear facing notches on the blade, then the nail can be engaged by the notch in the leading edge of the tool’s blade. Once the nail is seated firmly in that notch, the user can hit the handle of the tool with a hammer or a mallet in order to coax that nail free. It’s a simple tool, but a surprisingly effective one, and quality slate rippers can be used to efficiently and quickly strip old shingles from slate roofs, without damage to either the roof itself or to the adjoining shingles or tiles.

With that emphasis on quality, we designed and developed the Stortz Heavy Duty Slate Ripper, which is, as we call it, the best on the market. It boasts a number of features that improve the ergonomics of its design while also enhancing its leverage and durability.

The Stortz Heavy Duty Slate Ripper is made with a 25.5 inch hook to handle length, for extra reach under longer shingles or in situations in which it is harder to hook the nail, or the nail is further out of reach. That extra length makes the tool much more practical in a wider range of scenarios.

Yet size is not the only asset that the Stortz Heavy Duty Ripper has in its camp. It has a one piece forging that will better stand up to the hard use of hitting the handle with a hammer so as to dislodge stubborn or persistent roofing nails. Some of our slate rippers accept replacement handles, but that design is inherently weaker than a one piece forging and will reach its breaking point sooner.

The blade and midsection are both slim and sturdy, and more than capable of sliding underneath tiles, even underneath broken pieces, where other rippers might not be able to reach. Also, due to the unique design of the tool, in the hands of a skilled roofer it can be used to remove old tiles without breaking adjoining slates.

Though this is the toughest slate ripper we offer, even our 84-A Model Stortz Ripper boasts of uncommon quality. This slate ripper also features a one piece forging to stand up to years of hard use. The blade is made from tempered spring steel. It is not only very strong but also flexible, making it ideal to enable the ripper to access hard to reach places, such as to slide underneath broken pieces of slate and hook the nail to pull it out. It is also useful for removing slate shingles without breaking the adjacent tiles.

These are only two of the rippers that are highlights in our collection of slate roofing tools. We also feature smaller slate rippers, along with replacement handles, blades, and other traditional rippers.

Like everything that we sell here at John Stortz & Son, we place quality at the forefront of the process. We believe that a purchase should be made one time and that a tool should go the distance, especially with proper care. We understand the meaning of the statement, in for a dime, in for a dollar – and better than most.

That is why you can trust the quality of our tools, including our slate rippers. With proper care and maintenance they will last for many years – and as for the parts that will wear down over time, for those we offer replacements.

If you still have any questions about the design of our tools, how to use them, or what the difference is between any of the models, get in touch with us at 888-847-3456 and we will answer your questions.