Slate roofing is one of the most timeless and enduring roofing products available, so purchasing a home with a slate roof can be a very good investment. However, slate roofs must be installed correctly and maintained in order to last. It is a good idea to have a professional inspect a slate roof prior to purchasing a home. Consulting with certified Morris County roofers is the best way to ensure that your roof does not have defects.
Slate is such a versatile roofing product that it was heavily used in the early part of the 19th century in America when it became easy to transport via railway or canal. Though costly, slate was considered the most practical choice because of its longevity and because it is virtually fireproof. Slate roofs have been used on the most majestic of mansions and the coziest of cottages since that time, and some are more than 200 years old.
Some of the most enduring slate tiles are quarried right here in America, but newer homes with slate roofs may have been constructed using imported slate in order to save money. While some imported products are of very high quality, not all are, and it pays to know where the slate originated prior to purchase.
Unlike other roofing products, slate requires no felt or synthetic underlayment. Properly installed slate is nailed directly onto the roof decking.
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The best decking material is a rough-hewn wood, not plywood or particle board. Softer woods such as pine are preferred because hardwoods don't take the roofing nails well. Decking should be 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch thick for residential applications.
Your roofer should inspect how the slates are nailed to the roof. Well-crafted slates have the nail holes drilled at the quarry so that the roofing nails will sink down into the slate to lie flush with the surface. Over- and under-nailing are common problems with improperly installed slate roofs. If the nail is driven too hard into the slate, it will crack; if the nail isn't driven far enough, the slate located above it will eventually crack.
Another common problem is inadequate head lap. This problem is less common on older roofs. On newer constructions, when the slates do not overlap properly, leaking can occur. Proper flashing is also essential to preventing leakage. Aluminum flashing, usually the most economical, is not appropriate for slate installations. Stainless steel or copper are more costly, but they will protect the roof better in the long run.
Purchasing a home with a slate roof is a considerable investment. Talking with a roofing professional ahead of time can ensure that your money will be well-spent.