Learning More About Restoring The Slate Roof On Your Older Home

by Claude Walters

Many older homes, especially those built in the 18th century, had roofs shingled with slate tiles. During the 18th century, slate was shipped to the early American states from Wales. Slate shingles were popular because they were stylish and provided great protection for homes. If you are planning to restore an older house with a slate roof, preserving the slate shingles can be an essential aspect of also maintaining the home's historical value and appeal. Check out these tips for restoring slate roofs.

Slate Offers Amazing Durability

One reason many home builders in the past used a lot of slate on homes was because it was long-lasting. Today, homes that are over a century old have their original slate roofs, many of them still in decent condition. In most cases, slate shingles need repairs only because they are broken or because the flashing is damaged in some way or missing. You have to keep in mind that slate shingles were put on when carpentry was a lot different than it is today. Your first task is to determine how many shingles need to be restored or replaced and then have a close look at all the flashing. If the flashing needs repairs, be sure to check inside the home for leaks where the flashing was damaged.

Slate shingles are still available today in many colors, but they can be more expensive than other roofing materials because they last so long. You can opt to use man-made slate shingles that would fit in great with the original slate shingles, but they will not last as long as the real thing.

Never Use Plywood Under Slate Shingles

Back in the day when slate was being installed on your older home, there was no such thing as plywood or any wood that was glued together in sheets. For this reason, choosing solid boards for underneath your slate shingles is best, especially when it comes to putting on the shingles. For example, if you are putting on slate shingles using slate hooks, having a solid board to nail to is good.

Using A Hook Ladder Is Vital To Avoid Damaging Your Slate Roof

When up on your roof, hanging a hook ladder on it before replacing or repairing slate tiles is important. Walking over slate will break and crack it. Also, never nail down slate shingles and do not glue them down. Removing slate tiles from the edge of your roof and working your way up to the areas that need repair is the best way to go. The shingles you removed will need to put back, but the extra effort is worth the end result of a historically accurate slate roof. You will be able to see the method originally used to put on your home's existing slate shingles. Maintaining the original method is always a good idea for successful historical restoration projects.

Once your slate roof is restored to its former beauty, you will see how the time and effort was worthwhile. However, hiring a roofer that has experience with slate roof restoration is a good idea if you have never performed any kind of roofing work before.