“Slate roofing is the best of the best.” You must have heard it from almost all the roofing companies, and rightly so. Take a look at any slate roof, and you can visualise the craftsmanship that went into shaping this naturally occurring material to fit it into the roof decking. Not only is it one of the most beautiful roofing materials, but it also boasts an exceptionally long lifespan.
However, you might also be under the misconception that it lasts forever – and you are not alone.
While little to no maintenance is required to help it last decades, slate also undergoes wear and tear and might need repairs or replacements depending on the situation.
When you start noticing the first signs of leaks, is it worth repairing the roof, or should you go for something cheaper? Or should you get a complete overhaul and bear the high cost?
Let us take a look at the various options that you have in hand and decide if repairing slate roofs is worth it or not.
What causes slate roof damage
There’s no doubt that slate roofs are one of the most durable options available on the market. It is virtually indestructible due to its heavy and low profile.
However, they are also subject to direct wind damage, especially on a particularly windy day. Hail is one of the leading causes of slate roof damage, appearing as sharp-edged holes or broken corners.
As you might’ve guessed, these damages can quickly snowball into expensive replacements. Subsequent rains will enter the holes on the underside, and the decking will absorb the water that usually goes unnoticed until it turns into serious damage.
In addition, slate roofs are also subject to simple wear and tear. Depending on the composition, natural heat contracts and expands the roof, leading to quicker damage.
Fastening, flashing, and shingle damages
In real scenarios, however, fastening and flashing wear out way ahead of the tiles themselves. Flashing is usually made using galvanised copper, steel, or lead and protects the areas of the roof that receive a lot of water or have a high risk of running leaks. Over time, flashings can warp or corrode from water and debris.
Once a part of the flashing shows signs of damage, chances are that the rest of it isn’t far behind. Professional roofers will recommend replacing the entire flashing as part of roof restoration.
Repair vs replacement: when to opt for which?
If the slate roofing on your house is nearing the end of its lifespan, you might be considering restoring the roof. Ideally, you want to replace the entire roof with a new sheet of slate roof, but it can end up being heavy on the pocket.
Cracked, broken, or missing slate shingles should be replaced immediately to prevent further damage. Two tell-tale signs of slate roof replacement are major flaking and powdering on the inside of the slates. The roofing inspector will need to carefully examine the underlying deck and flashing for damage and conduct the repairs accordingly.
Due to the popularity of slate roofing, there are several synthetic lookalikes available in the market. These are available in various materials, including plastic, metal, cement, ceramic, etc. While they don’t match the durability of natural slate, they are cheaper and lighter, thus offering greater versatility. So if you are in Sydney, the South Coast of NSW or the Southern Highlands, contact us today for a Covid-safe consultation.