New tricks to installing polymer slate and shake

Some say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Not that I’m an old dog, but some around here have been calling me “gramps” lately (although not to my face).  When I complained about installers not spacing their starter tiles properly, a friend of mine, Mark Clement, said the tiles are 3/8” thick, “why don’t you use those?” What a good idea.  So I did learn a new trick and I’d like to share.

When installing DaVinici Composite Shake, Slate, or Bellaforté it is important to make sure there is a 3/8” gap between tiles. One way to achieve this is to lay down the first DaVinci starter tile and then put a starter shingle on edge as a spacer for the next tile. This method allows for perfect spacing every time.

Please keep in mind that although DaVinci shake and slate field tiles need to be spaced too, their spacing is not nearly as critical as the starter tiles. In fact, the spacing can be adjusted a bit with multi-width tiles so that the installer doesn’t need to cut tiles at a wall or gable end. Our steep slope roofing field tiles, with exception of Bellaforte, should have a minimum 3/16” and maximum ½” spacing.

Mark Clement and his wife Theresa host a talk show called MyFixItUpLife. Check them out at

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