For many homeowners, the cost of slate is worth the price because of the benefits the roofing material offers. Slate has natural mold and fire resistance and complements any home design, but how long does a slate roof last before it needs replacing?
At Elite Remodeling Services, we have over two decades of experience providing world-class roofing and siding services to residents of Farmington, MN, and the Twin Cities South Metro area.
If you suspect that you need slate roofing services, don’t hesitate to contact our licensed team. Call us at (952) 646-2480 to speak with one of our trained Elite Remodeling Services consultants about your needs.
What Damages Slate Roofs?
Slate roofs come in two varieties: hard and soft. Hard slate roofs can last between 75 to 200 years, while soft slate has an average lifespan of 50 to 125 years. However, the material can sustain damage and wear.
Because slate tiles are generally heavy and rigid, they don’t get damage like wood and asphalt shingles do. However, slate roofs are susceptible to direct and indirect damage from strong winds and hail.
Hail can be a significant issue because the force of the ice balls can create a small hole on a slate tile and a larger exit hole, which weakens the tile and compromises the roof’s structural integrity.
Water can seep into the puncture and damage the roof decking. Unfortunately, hail damage isn’t always noticeable when viewing the roof from the ground.
The most common way for slate roofs to sustain damage, though, is due to weak flashing and fastening. Metal flashing often consists of galvanized steel, lead-coated copper, or lead sheets. However, these essential components wear down faster than the slate. They create leaks, causing slate roofs to weaken prematurely.
Repairing a Slate Roof
The best way to get the most out of your slate roof is to maintain it properly. Your roof needs regular inspections by a qualified slate roofer who can promptly replace broken or missing slate tiles.
Putting off the repair would likely lead to more extensive damage.
You should schedule a roof inspection at least once a year to check for signs of wear and tear. Periodically cleaning slate tiles with mild soapy water and a brush with medium-roughness bristles also keeps a slate roof in excellent condition.
When Does a Slate Roof Need to Be Replaced?
Sometimes, repairing a slate roof isn’t enough to save the structure, and as a result, the slate roof needs replacing. Ideally, you should consider replacing a slate roof if 20% to 30% of the tiles are missing or broken. By that point, it’s more cost-effective and less stressful to the roof’s structural integrity to replace the roof.
Another sign that it’s time to replace a slate roof is flaking or de-laminating. De-laminating is the result of the slate’s surface reacting to minerals in moisture. Over time, the minerals expand and cause the slate tile’s layers to separate, making the bottom layers susceptible to moisture damage.
How to Assess the Condition of a Slate Roof
A careful inspection of your slate roof from the inside and outside of your home will give you an idea about its condition and let you know if it’s time for repair or replacement. Here are the steps to a basic slate roof inspection.
- Check for moisture damage in the attic. An obvious sign of roof damage is a leak. Check the attic rafters for signs of water damage like water stains and rot.
- Use binoculars to inspect the slate roof visually. If you notice signs of a roof leak, use binoculars to examine the structure from the outside. Check the gutters near the suspected leak site as well. Gutters can cause leaks into the house, but they are repairable.
- Tap fallen slate tiles to check for firmness. If a slate tile falls, tap it with your knuckles. A resonant sound means that the tile is good, and the problem is likely weak fasteners. A dull sound means the tile is fragile.
- Estimate the percentage of broken or missing tiles. Any figure over 20% will likely require a roof replacement.
When does a slate roof need replacing? Skilled contractors know how to perform thorough inspections, make repairs, and replace your roof if necessary.
At Elite Remodeling Services, we proudly serve Farmington, MN, and the Twin Cities South Metro area. Call us at (952) 646-2480 to request a consultation for our roofing services.