Roof repair

Slate Roof Repair

Introduction to Slate Roof Repair

Roof leaks are among the most annoying issues one can experience – they cannot be avoided and tend to occur often enough for us not to forget about them. When they do happen, it is not possible for us to simply ignore them as they need to be resolved straight away. The roof is also an uncomfortable place to repair – especially if you're in the middle of a rainy season and yet, as annoying as it is, it is one of those things that have to be done, no matter how much we grumble about it. Slate roofs are no exception.

Slate Roof Repair Particularities

People call slate roofs “100 year roofs” - leaving out the impression that they're hardly ever leaking. Yet specialists recommend us that – whether we notice any obvious leaks or not (as in, whether or not it's raining in the house) – we check even the slate roofs at least once a year. Any crack, leak, missing slate or loose slate needs to be fixed as soon as it is detected – and unlike most other roofs, with the slate roofs you may want to use an experienced person or company. Slate roofs are particular and cannot be treated like any other type of roof. Inexperienced roof repairmen may end up covering up the cracks which in the long term may lead to much bigger problems – up to the point where you may need to replace the entire roof.

In the case of slate roofs, usually the biggest problem is the flashing. Historic slate roofs usually use flashing made out of lead coated copper, coated sheet iron, galvanized steel or copper and lead sheet. If this particular part of the roof starts leaking, the rest is unimportant – the roof needs urgent fixing. The yearly checks should focus a lot on the flashing and preventing any problems in that area.

Another important aspect is made up of the fasteners. Slate roofs usually use copper wire nails, cut steel nails and galvanised steel nails. The French occasionally use hooks exposed partially right below the bottom side of each slate. Maintaining the roof and checking out the nails usually leads to a long life for both – however be careful with moisture. If absorbed by the plates, it always ends up penetrating the nails which will lead to the nails no longer holding the slates – the end result of that being the roof falling like a house of cards.

Taking it One Step Further

If the roof is damaged enough to require the replacement of 20% to 30% of the slates, you may want to consider a complete roof replacement. It is the prudent version – allows you to prevent future leaks for quite a long time (with proper maintenance, of course). It is also the economic option: usually such a state of damage means that your roof will require expensive repairs each year and as much as a roof replacement may cost, in a few years the investment will feel worthwhile.

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