Slate is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and durable of all roofing materials. Lasting between 50 and 125 years or more, slate roofs have a long history of protecting institutional buildings like churches and government structures. That’s where aesthetics and longevity were an especially important consideration in material choices.
Dating back to 1600’s, slate roofs have slowly integrated into residential roofing. At its peak production years of late 1800’s Pennsylvania quarries were the largest producer of slate in America.
These days, homeowners are realizing the indisputable value of natural slate when selecting their home’s new roof. Bottom line: Slate is a beautiful, durable and eco-friendly way to cover any structure, and homeowners are taking notice.
Residential Slate Roofing: 7 Maintenance, Repair and Restoration Tips
With the relatively high initial cost of installing a new slate roof, it’s important to invest in regular and timely maintenance, which largely increases durability. Additionally, proper repair and restoration will save you replacement money while keeping your roof in tip top shape for decades to come.
7 Maintenance, Repair and Restoration Tips
- Your slate’s life depends largely on its style and mineral makeup. Some slate roofing materials are prone to softening and crumbling after years of weather exposure, while others remain hard for 100 years or more. A slate roofing expert should be able to tell you which types of slate material will last longest and resist cracking or leaking.
- It’s natural for slate pieces on aging homes to occasionally break or fall off. The sooner you notice these missing slate pieces, the greater chance you have of simply repairing your roof rather than replacing it. Missing or cracked slates may damage your roof’s infrastructure and lead to costly interior leaks. If you take time to replace these failing pieces quickly, you’ll extend the life of your roof and protect your flooring, drywall and furnishings.
- Many slate roofs fail because they were not installed with high-quality decking and sheathing materials. The best roof deck is made of lumber and battens that are planed or rough-sawn, and measure at least .75 to 1.5 inches in thickness. Plywood, particle board or cheaply laminated wood should not be used, since your roof will last the longest when solid (rather than synthetic or glued) boards are used. If your existing roof was installed with a substandard decking material, contact your Pennsylvania slate roofing contractor to inquire about the most affordable repair or replacement option.
- Good quality flashing and proper installment is also a key to ensuring that your slate roofing enjoys a lengthy lifespan. If you’re experiencing frequent leaks, your flashing may not be the correct gauge—or it may have been improperly aligned, secured or sealed. Single pieces of flashing are usually easily replaced, but multiple pieces may require the expertise of a roofing contractor so the slate is not compromised during repair.
- It’s important to remember that walking on your slate roof requires extreme care, and should only be done when absolutely necessary. If you—or a negligent roofing contractor—does not take the time to protect your slate, individual pieces may crack, become dislodged or even break off entirely. If slates are to be walked on, it is best to wear soft soled shoes and to step on the lowermiddle of the exposed portion of the slate unit.
- Remember about roof safety. Before anyone climbs on your roof to inspect it, make sure they (A) use a padded ladder, (B) utilize roof scaffolds, roof jacks and planks, and (C) avoid placing your full weight on delicate planes of slate.
- Finally, while slate roofs are a beautiful, enduring way to protect your home, you should still have them inspected by an experienced slate contractor annually and after several storms. Check for cracked, broken, misaligned, and missing slates, look at the the degree to which delamination has occurred, look for failed flashings and broken or clogged downspouts.
Find a Contractor You Can Trust!
Slate roofs that are properly maintained are likely to last for fifty years or more, all while increasing the curb appeal and architectural value of your Pennsylvania home for decades to come.
If you’re looking for a slate roofing contractor you can trust, call LGC Roofing. We are a DaVinci Masterpiece Contractor, install both natural (original) and composite slate roofs and are fully licensed and insured to do roofing work in Pennsylvania & New Jersey!
Backed by over 30 years of experience, we have the skills and knowledge required to handle all your slate roofing installation & repair needs!
Call (215) 932-7850 or 609-712-8157 for your Free Estimate today!