We have a leak in our roof and/ or box gutters and have been having
roofers come out to give us estimates. I'm not sure I trust all of the
information they are giving us though so if someone can tell me...
- Do slate roofs need regular maintenance beyond replacing broken/
missing slates? Is applying a waterproofer or conditioner a good idea?
- Our box gutters definitely need to be relined. What is the correct
way/ material to use? Does the bottom row of slate need to be removed/
replaced to do this correctly?
We have gotten different info from different roofers, so I am just trying
to figure out what's best. Thanks!
You can't do research on roofing contractors from the comfort of your
house. Get references, go take a look at their work and call some of
their customers. Ask for references from recently completed work as
well as some work that is at least a few years old.
Find out how the contractor works the roof. Walking on a slate roof is
one way to damage it. The contractor working on your roof should be
using hook ladders which hook over the ridge and distribute the weight
of the worker and materials over a greater area. If the guy doesn't
use a hook ladder the odds are good that he will damage good slate as
he's repairing the other things. Your gutter work shouldn't really
require the guys to work up on the roof as they're primarily dealing
with the lower few feet, but the guy's approach to the basics is very
important in sizing up potential contractors.
No. You don't want stuff growing on the roof, so that obviously needs
to be cleaned off. The roof needs to be inspected regularly. One of
the issues with a slate roof is that, depending on the type of slate
used, the deterioration starts underneath the top layer of slate, so
it's not always easy to determine the condition visually.
Not necessary, and it can cause more harm than good.
Copper with mechanically interlocked and soldered seams. At least one
row of slate has to be removed. If you're in a cold climate it's a
good opportunity to remove the first few courses and install some Ice &
Water Shield to prevent ice dams. Some slate roofers consider the
membrane an insult to their craftsmanship ("Our roofs don't leak, so we
don't need no steenkin' membranes!") - I disagree with this stance. If
your house is perfectly insulated and perfectly ventilated, you
probably can do away with the membrane. Hint: your house isn't
perfectly insulated and perfectly ventilated.
Here're some links to help you do your homework:
Are some roofers realy recomending a slate sealer, gee then I guess
everyone around the world has been doing it wrong for a thousand years
or so, no that guy I would throw out the door. Just keep broken tiles
replaced. How bad is the leak, pinholes in copper happen, copper gets
thin, but knowing the cost of your work, for just minor holes I would
clean well-sand the area bright and silicone or solder for a few, to
many years. For an honest opinion it might only be found from a non
roofer, a home inspector who has a moisture meter and good camera to
show you photos. You might save thousands.
Yes - some roofers have suggested a sealer. I thought that I had read
that it was not needed, but he was quite convincing :)
I have called another roofer, based on one of the links another poster
The trouble is, this house is only worth about $80k, so relining the
gutters with copper may be a bit out of line. The gutters have been
patched numerous times with silicon and roofing cement already, but
eventually something more will need to be done.
I have had another roofer replace all of the broken/ missing slate, but he
doesn't seem to want to call me back, so now I am back to having to find
Thanks to everyone for all the advise!
Are you prohibited by code from installing regular gutters? Box gutters
built into the roof (if that's what these are) have been deemed just a bad
idea from what I've read and where ver possible, the thing to do is to
remove them, slate over the opening and use regular gutters, which far
much better. It's not that big a job, providing you can find suitable
replacement slates. For an 80K house, almost anything will do, and it's
about the same cost as repairing the built in stuff.
Hit the leaks with more silicone as a temporary fix and keep calling back
the trustworthy guy. From what I've read in the slate roof bible, there
are more hacks out there fvcking up slate roofs than can be belived.
"Sealer for a slate roof" my ass.
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