Today, let’s talk about slate roofs. Slate roofs are unique to any other roof-type and in order to successfully inspect a slate roof it is imperative that you first understand the various characteristics of the slate itself, as well as the ways that those characteristics impact the use of slate as a roofing material. Those characteristics are beyond the scope of this blog post. Instead, we will focus on problems that are often seen with slate roofing.
One of the potential problem areas with slate roofs occur around the points at which the slate is fastened to the roof. As the slate ages, these fasteners can break free. This is something that often occurs during winter when snow and ice weigh on the slate and add stress to the fasteners.
All slate roofs have snow and ice breaks on the roof, which helps to slow the progress of snow and ice sliding down the roof. These are often referred to as ‘ice bars’. During an inspection it is important to ensure that these bars are inspected as well considering that the pressure of snow and ice can cause them to loosen.
As slate roofs age, the need for annual maintenance increases and can become costly. The level of maintenance required is dependent on a number of factors, including: the area of the country in which the house is located, the size of the roof, the number of qualified slate roofing companies in your area, and the type of slate that is used. Some slate-types have only a 20-30 year expected life span. If you are considering purchasing a home with a slate roof, we highly recommend getting additional information about the type of slate roof particular to the home in question/ It will also be important to talk with a qualified roof inspector about the risks and potential costs inherent to that particular type of slate.