Slates can last up to a hundred years. But this doesn’t mean you should not check on your slate roofs every now and then. Though slates don’t require regular repairs and maintenance, occasional repairs sometimes need to be done there are damages caused by improper installation or accidents. If you also happen to be at the tail end of the slate life then you definitely need to regularly check the slates for any defects.
But when can you say that it’s time to have your slate roof repaired? These are the four signs that you have to watch out for:
- 1. Damaged roof area
When one area of your roof is damaged, it’s time to get a repair. Act on this immediately before the damage spread to other areas. Bear in mind though that if you notice that more than 20% of your roof is already damaged, then this entails a roof replacement and not just a repair. Flaking and powdering of the slates also means it needs a replacement. A repair can still be done if only less than 20% of the roof is damaged. The repair involves having only the affected tiles replaced and not the entire roof and its structure.
- 2. Missing or shifted tiles
Slates are properly lined up on your roofs. If you notice one or two that have gone askew because the slates have shifted or worse are missing then this is one sign that’s telling you it’s time for a repair. Don’t underestimate shifted tiles and just account it for something aesthetic that doesn’t need immediate fixing. A missing or shifted slate can cause leaks to develop on the sheathing found right under it. Don’t wait for this to happen before you get a repair. If the sheathing gets damaged and causes leaks, this may require the replacement of the entire roof.
- 3. Corroded metal fasteners
Slates are secured unto the roof by metal fasteners. When these get corroded then it’s definitely time for a roof repair. A sign to tell you that the metal fasteners are corroded is if tiles are falling of the roof. You need to make sure though that nothing is wrong with the slate itself and they are still in perfect condition. To do this you just need to tap the slate. If it gives off a dull sound, this means the slate is already in poor condition and a repair may not be the best solution. What you should look for in checking the slate is a resonant sound. If you hear this after tapping this means the slate is still in good condition and the reason for falling or missing tiles is the corroded fasteners. Once you have this on your slate roofing, make sure to have it repaired as soon as possible.
- 4. Poor flashing
Slates may last a hundred years, but roof flashing definitely has a shorter life than this. Whatever type of roof flashing you may have, whether it’s galvanized steel, copper or lead sheet, slates will surely outlive them. For this reason, it is important to regularly check your slate roof flashing even if your slates are in perfect condition. It’s important to do so because when you have poor flashing, this will cause your roof to leak. The best solution to poor flashing is have this replaced and not just apply a sealer unto it.
Quality slate roof repairs can become better alternatives to roof replacements. Aside from saving on the costs of getting a repair instead of a replacement, occasional repairs also prolong the life of your slate roof. It’s important to note though that it’s vital to get a high quality roof repair. Make sure you don’t get inappropriate repairs to prevent further damage to your roofs.
By Debra Wright
A self-professed geek, Debra Wright has dreamt of being a writer since as long as she could remember. She has recently written about a number of topics online, including home improvement, and hopes to get more people interested in home renovation through her written work. Get to know her more through twitter @debrawrites