Does anyone know of an objective way to decide whether
a salvaged roofing slate is in useable condition or not?
I've got a whole pile of them in my basement,
so they're free; if they'll last as long as a cheap-ass
asphalt shingle, that's a win for me, because it means
I don't have to replace the skip-sheathing with plywood.
On Wed, 21 Dec 2005 22:53:11 GMT, Commodore Joe Redcloud
I'm not sure I beleive that slate tiles ever contain any
measurable amount of asbestos. I do know that some asbestos
tiles/shingles were CALLED "slates", but that's not really
the same thing.
In any case, I seriously doubt that they've got more
asbestos in them than my asbestos siding, or my vinyl-asbestos
If the edges are in good shape and they are not spalling or delaminating
(splitting along the layers) and the nailing holes are intact, I'd say they
Try soaking one in water and freezing in the fridge overnight to see how it
stands up if they look porous (they should not).
Installed properly, they will last a heck of a lot longer than cheap ass
shingles. Could be a big win for you.
I will only add that there are many kinds of slate. The good stuff has
a life span rated in centuries, while the cheaper stuff may be rated in
decades. Even the cheaper ones last a long time.
The life of the slate depends on the region the slate came from. The
slate in my region usually lasts 75 to 100 years on the roof. Some slate
belt's slate can last a few hundred years, but the hardware that holds
the slates on the roof rarely lasts as long, so the roof would generally
have the slates removed and re-installed after about 100 years. My slate
roof is 75 years old and I expect it to last about another 25 years
(according to a roofer who looked at it).
Does anyone remember during Katrina when they were doing that one rescue by
helicopter of the people on the roof? Those diamond shaped slate roof tiles
were blowing away with the propwash from the helicopter.
I have seen houses in the South with those old diamond shaped slate
shingles. They looked like they did the day after installation, and they
looked like they were good for another 500 years unless a helicopter landed
on the roof, or a large meteor crashed. Unless you walk on them, I think
they are indestructible.
I had a house here near Chicago built in 1899 the original roof is
still on it! It's that greenish gray slate that came from somewhere in
Vermontt.Since we bought the house in 1977 there has only been two
problems with the roof.
Once the roof started leaking in a certain area. The great thing about
these roofs is you just look at it and see the problem. I could see a
missing tile in the leaking area. I found the tile in the gutter and
"sistered" it back in. Working up there was a bit of a pain because (as
noted) you can't walk on the roof (used "chicken ladders") and the
pitch is rather steep.
Another time a "roofer" worked on a flat roof that was at the base of a
portion of the slate. After the job was done the slate roof was
leaking. I went up there and I could see where he had "helped me out"
by mopping in the bottom few courses of slate with hot tar. I solved
the problem by cutting the tiles lose again.
There seems to have been maybe 30 to 40 repairs done on this roof in
the 105 years it has been up. You can tell because previous owners
apparently couldn't match the tile so they took tile from a portion of
the roof you can't see from the street and replaced it with a non
My mom owns a Timber Frame English Tudor built in 1829 in New Jersey and it
has a Vermont Roof. It also has copper gutters, she has lost 1 slate in 50
years she knows of. Its a very steep roof and the snow never sticks to it.
"you can lead them to LINUX
but you can\'t make them THINK"
Vermont Structural Slate is one quarry. Gorgeous slate.
I worked on one project (that unfortunately never got built) where the
roof was a combination of the three different slate colors in the top
row of the linked page above. The roof was designed so that the lower
rows of slate were thicker and bigger and tapered off in thickness and
size as the rows progressed up the roof. An exceptionally beautiful
roof with almost a forced perspective look.
It kills me when I see a prime Vermont slate roof and some idjit
patched it with some Pennsylvania ribbon slate.
I used to live near Slatington, Penna. There were small pieces of
slate lying around on the highway, and I figured if I looked down the
smaller roads, at least the ones leading to the quarries, I could find
enough good pieces to do my bathroom floor. Unfortunately I was a
renter at the time, and my floor was fine.
Now I live near a stream that goes through a tiny gorge with a lot of
slate. I've intended to ask if I could have some, or buy some, for
flagstones, but I never get around to it.
It would have been much easier when she was selling and moving.
Proably a new owner by now.
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
I dunno that the slates actually ever die, just the nails rot away. Or
the house burns out from under them[slate was so popular on balloon
Bet a slate roof with stainless nails would last ferrrever
Just demo'd a house with slate roofing nailed down with copper nails. Roof
90 years old, hemlock struts under like new. Lead valleys like new.
This roof would have lasted another hundred years easy if the new devel did
not necessitate leveling it. Amazing to see workmanship and materials so
great even time can't destroy it.
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