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Slate Roof Maintenance Tips

There are huge benefits to installing slate roofs, including their beautiful appearance, the fact that they can last a century if they are well-maintained, fire resistance, and environmentally friendly aspects. However, in order to get the full effect of these benefits, homeowners need to understand slate roof maintenance needs. In some ways maintenance is the same as any other roof styles, but there are a few specific things that must be done for these unique roofs.

Avoid roof walking

When doing any form of maintenance on your slate roof, make sure that you avoid walking on it as much as possible. Thin slate shingles may break or crack due to the surface weight, causing further damage to the property. Use a pair of binoculars or a camera to take a look at the roof from ground level, and determine damage from there.


Much of the slate roof maintenance you need to perform is to regularly assess your roof. Look for broken or cracked areas. If you see any, contact a roofer immediately. Cracks or breaks in the roof can allow water to seep under the roof and result in water damage occurring. A roofer can repair the damaged areas quickly and much more affordably compared to what it would cost to fix extensive water damage.

Check the flashing on your roof

Next up is to regularly keep an eye on the flashing around your roof. It can wear much more quickly than the slate. As a result, you’ll likely need to replace the flashing sooner than you’ll have to do any major repairs on your roof. If replacing your flashing requires you to replace the sheathing under the slate, make sure you get advice from the professionals. Not all sheathing materials are created equally and not all will work equally effectively on slate roofs.


Hit all the important check points

Slate roof maintenance requires more than just looking at your roof from the exterior. You should also check it from the attic so you can see the interior layers of your roof. Use a flashlight to check for stains on the timbers of your roof, especially if it’s just rained. If your tiles have water stains, then you’ll need to do a deeper check for hairline checks.

There are also several things you can see from the ground. Look for sloped slate tiles. If tiles have a powdery appearance, then it means the tile is deteriorating and needs to be replaced. This is known as delamination. Also look for gaps in your mortar joints along the ridge line. If you see cracks or splits, then it may be time to replace the mortar.

Are you concerned about the quality of your roof? Do you need slate roof maintenance from the professionals? Contact Heather & Little today for more information.

Check out these slate roof projects:

Branksome Hall, Toronto
St. Michaels Cathedral, Toronto
Queen’s Park, Ontario Legislature

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And if you are looking for a second opinion on your project or have a particularly complex issue that needs a fresh eye, we’re here for that too. Tackling tricky challenges is our specialty and we welcome the opportunity to provide consulting advice, with the same exacting attention to detail we bring to all our commissions.
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