Slate Roof Maintenance

For your slate roof lasts a lifetime it will need regular maintenance.

Regular Checks

At least once a year, you will need to carry out an inspection of your slate roof. Do this in the fall so your roof will be effectively maintained for winter.

As you’re inspecting your roof, take note of the flashing type. The best flashing for a slate roof is copper, since tin-plated and galvanized steel do not last as long. If you’re installing a new slate roof, consider paying the small difference for quality copper flashing.

If you believe that your existing flashing is damaged—especially in valleys, around vents or along chimneys, it’s best to enlist the help of a roofing professional, since these flashing areas can be difficult to repair.

Itís important not to introduce too much foot traffic on your roof and, when you do, a ladder safely hooked onto the roof edge is the best way to carry out a full and detailed inspection as this will help to spread your weight. If itís absolutely necessary to walk on the slates, walk on the middle of the slate and use soft-soled shoes.

Leaks

You will need to take care of leaks as soon as you notice them before the problem becomes too bad. Make sure to thoroughly check the flashings - the weakest points of a slate roof.

You also need to check the sheathing under the slates when youíre fixing leaks. If you need to replace sheathing, donít use plywood or pressure-treated materials. Be sure to replace cracked and broken tiles immediately to avoid damage in your attic.

Winter

Start by removing all of the debris and foreign matter from the roof to prevent ice form forming there and cracking the tiles. Ice dams can also form when ice melts and refreezes further down the roof and thus prevents natural run-off. To stop this a heating cable along the gutter and eaves can help eliminate the problem.

Never use a hammer to break up the ice of the slate roof. The slate will be brittle with the cold and thereís a very good chance youíll crack or split it accidentally.

Few points to keep in mind

  • You should never walk on slate roof Ė Slates will break if you walk on them. Special ladders and scaffold systems need to be setup to work on slate roof.
  • You canít use muck to repair slate roof Ė Using muck or roof cement will destroys its appearance and performance and most likely will not fix a leak.
  • Itís important to check all flashings and valleys Ė Often bad flashing or metal/copper valley cause leaks. * There are special tools to remove old nails from broken slate Ė Using improper tools will damage adjacent slates.
  • Don't use use nails Ė You need to use special slate hooks to hang new slates in place.
Handle Repairs Right Away

Broken, cracked or deteriorating slate tiles should be promptly repaired or replaced in order to prevent interior damage, structural degradation or attic moisture buildup.

Remember that, if youíre unsure about the extent of the slate damage, itís best to hire a qualified NJ roofing specialist to inspect and repair your slate roof. This is especially important since the most common reason for slate roof failure is improper repair.

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