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, 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, often referred to
as ‘ice bars’. During an inspection it is important to ensure that these bars
are inspected as well, as the pressure of snow and ice can cause them to become
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,
you would be strongly encouraged to get additional information about the type
of slate roof particular to the home in question, and to talk with a qualified
roof inspector about the risks and potential costs inherent to that particular
type of slate.