Common Problems With Old Slate Roofs

Slate roofs have long been acclaimed for their aesthetic appeal, classic look and durability. Many existing slate roofs are over a century old, and have the potential to continue offering protection to homeowners for many more decades with the right maintenance.

A slate roof is the model of simplicity, assembled from overlapping slabs of stone held together with flashings and nails so as to remain waterproof and intact for decades. However, this is not to mean that a slate roof is indestructible, as there are a few things that could go wrong, necessitating a restoration. Here is a look at common problems that your old slate roof is likely to encounter, and how to fix them.

Failing flashing and gutters

Slates are fastened to the roof using nails and metal flashings that hold the individual slabs of stone together. These metal flashings can sometimes wear out before the roof slabs disintegrate, causing leakages that could infiltrate the roof and cause damage.

Metal flashings often fail in the slab joints, chimney and along the dormer walls, so regular inspection is necessary to ensure that these metal reinforcements are in good shape. Typically, older flashings can be replaced without having to repair the entire roof. Old copper flashings should be painted to reduce corrosion, while already corroded flashings should be replaced with new ones.

Replacement of failing flashings is routine wok that can be performed by a professional roof repair expert, ensuring the life of your slate roof is extended. In-built gutters are also a weak link in many old slate roofs, as they deteriorate and leak with age. As with flashings, corroded gutters should be replaced with new, painted ones that are more resistant to rusting.

Disintegrating slate slabs

Slate roofs owe their longevity to the fact that they are carved out of rock that can remain intact for decades. However, rock is a natural material that can develop imperfections and disintegrate over time. Fractures and cracks can develop, causing slabs on your slate roof to break and come off. Damaged slates can be replaced with new ones to preserve the structural integrity of the entire roof and extend its life.

The type of slate used on your roof will determine its durability. Soft slate usually disintegrates after a few decades, while hard slate can serve you for as long a century. Experts in slate roof repair can examine your roof and advise you on how long the roof is likely to last before needing restoration, depending on the original slate rock used to make it. To find out more, speak with a business like Jeff Blaisdell LLC.


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