Cornish Rag Slating Reslating a roof

The heartland of rag slating is north Cornwall

Rag slates are nailed directly to the rafters. Usually this is not a problem because they are very wide so they overlie several rafters and can be easily nailed. Narrower slates though only lie on one rafter and have to be fixed with two nails above each other.

Typically rafters are about two inch square and the slates are torched to keep out draughts and snow.


The rag roof looked OK from the outside but when it was stripped there were two problems. The slates had been fixed with very large nails which were difficult to remove and many of them were far too low down in the slates.

The position of these nail holes low in the slates risked leaks when they were reused but this didn't mean they had to be scrapped. Instead the holes were covered with lead soakers which would stop water getting through.

Lead soker
Stripping a hip

Laying the eaves

The finished roof

© Slate & Stone 2018

Created By
Terry Hughes