I was told that my house's slate roof was installed in the 1940's. In
the last few years a few slates per year fall off in the winter with the
ice, but it has never had even a slight leak. I was told by a roofer
that my roof probably has only about another 10 to 15 years left. He
said my roof has "band" slate (I think that is what he called it), and
that this type of slate will fail at some point. My question is, will it
be obvious when I gotta replace the roof, or should I just continue to
replace some slates every third year or so and just wait until it starts
to leak? It still looks fine and even the slates on the overhang at the
gutters have not started breaking like you see on some houses with late
stage failing slates....
Rob wrote:>I was told that my house's slate roof was installed in the 1940's.
Hang on to it as long as possible. And when you do decide to go new, make sure
you get a price break in trade for any full slates removed for resale. The
roofer should deal with you. I would. Tom
Work at your leisure!
Replace broken slates when they fail not every three years. Unless it is
cracking or deteriorating keep it . Valleys fail first but can be
fixed. Removing the slate will lower your house value. Slate maintained,
if good slate will last hundreds of years. Slate roofs cost a small
I am asking the following just out of curiousity. I see you answering
technical questions in many of the fields of home repair. Can you give us a
little background as to how you obtained your expertise? If I am expected to
take your advice I'd like to know that you are qualified. This is not meant
to be a flame but an honest inquiry.
I own Apt Buildings I manage buildings, and had a construction -
remodling co for 20 years employing 15. I rehab and like fixing up
Dont take what I say as being " Correct " its just my opinion and Im
still learning ..
Yes I have a slate roof , Ive also repaired them. Slate quality is
important but in europe there are 1000 yr old buildings with slate,
Slate is the best, roofers often rip off the public on Slate and Tile
tearoffs as each piece can sell for 5- 20 $. Keep your roof fixed ,
slate is good till it discintegrates from age
On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 10:10:59 -0500, email@example.com (m Ransley)
It is not an uncommon practice to remove a slate roof, make any needed
flashing or valley repairs, and then put the same slate back up with
new nails, etc. The slate itself can last almost indefinitely. Its all
the copper flashing and nails that give out every 75 years or so...
From what I have heard what you say above is often the case, but it
depends on where the slate came from. I've heard that slate from this
region lasts usually between 70 to 150 years on a roof depending on the
specific vein. There are other regions that produce harder slate (south
central PA, New Hampshire, etc.) that lasts several hundred years or
more. I was more interested in when to replace the roof in terms of
symptoms since I am relatively sure that my home's slate is in its later
stages of life. In this slate region, 20 years ago over 90% of the homes
had slate roofs. Now it is probably down to 25% with slate roofs as many
of them have failed....
I have a tile roof that's 83 years old. Like a slate roof, the best
way to deal with deterioration is to simply repair the deteriorated
areas as needed. The roofing company I use simply takes off the tiles
and stacks them to one side on the roof, repairs or replaces the
roofing felt, the lathe "tile hanger" strips, and the underlying wood
as needed, and then replaces the old tiles. Because this is the 21st
century, they also lay down a modern waterproofing rubberized membrane
against the wood and under the felt. My neighbor with a slate roof
slightly younger than mine goes through essentially the same
I would never consider replacing the entire roof all at the same time.
For one thing, the cost would be staggering, and the tiles on mine are
no longer made anyway.
In 25 years I've had to repair the roof four times ... five if you
count the time the tree limb fell during a major storm and tore off
the corner of my detached garage. Two repairs have been to find and
repair leaks and two to replace rotten copper valleys. I've also
replaced several cracked tiles myself.
Several neighbors have taken the easy way out and had the tiles
stripped from their roofs and replaced with regular asphalt roofing.
The result looks OK, but ordinary, and removes considerable character
from the house. It's fine by me, however, as these projects are my
free source of replacement tiles.
Repairing slate or tile roofs is not rocket science, if you can stand
to go up on the roof. I have my own personal height limits, and my
roof is very high and very steep, so I often chicken out. For many
repairs, you need merely replace a single tile or slate.
From the trips I have made to New England, it looks like most of the slate
roofs fail from the bottom up, due to ice damming. Suspect it may be a side
effect of people adding modern insulation and heating systems to these
antique houses, especially if the attic is no longer 20 below in winter. A
common repair is eaves or patches of standing seam metal, with the upper
roof still in slate.
Even in a cost-is-no-object new house, doubt I would install slate. If I
wanted that look, I would go with the fake slate made out of plastic?
rubber? unobtanium?, simply becaue it isn't brittle and won't shatter. They
used slate because that is what they HAD, not because it is a great roofing
material. If you have a choice, whatever you put up there should be able to
take at least some impact stress, and be resistant to weather and ice moving
it around. More likely I would go with standing seam in a good grade of
stainless. It'd last longer than I would.
I'm going with a metal roof when I ultimately replace it. This house
would have originally had a wood shingle roof when it was built since
the house was around before the slate industry here which started in the
1850's. Either wood shingle, slate or metal roofs are "right" for older
stone farm houses like mine in this region. Asphalt shingles on a stone
house like this just does not look right..... Any other type of house
and I'd get an asphalt roof since they're cheap and easy....
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.