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Slate Roofing

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Slate Roofing

Slate roofing has been used on buildings for more than a thousand years. This practice was brought to the New World by European settlers. Nothing else quite matched the durability, aesthetics, and fireproof qualities that were available with slate and this same quality remains today. As one of the largest installers of slate roofing in the world, Durable Slate can handle any kind of slate roof on any kind of building. With the largest stock of reclaimed slate in the country, we can match most slate roofs whether performing a complete restoration, or installing a slate roof on an addition, or repairing large sections damaged by fire, wind, storm, and other forces of nature. Reclaimed slate can also be used on a re-roof or new build should one desire a historic look without waiting years for it to age. Also, if the slate is in good condition, it is sometimes possible to re-roof using the same slate with new underlayment and flashings. The small percentage of slates that would be needed in the re-roof would be made up with matching reclaimed slate.

For installations with new slate, we prefer to install only the highest quality time-tested slates from the quarries of the Vermont Slate Valley, Virginia Buckingham, Southeastern Canada, Wales, and certain select European quarries. The combination of high quality slate, expert flashing design and installation, correct soldering, necessary underlayments for the conditions, and proper slate laying and fastening produces an aesthetic, long lasting roof that should have a serviceable life of 100+ years easily. Cutting corners on any one of these factors can shorten the life span of a slate roof from 100+ years to literally just a few years or less. We have replaced numerous slate roofs that were less than 10 years old because one or more of these factors were lacking. Though quite beautiful, many imported slates are of such poor quality that they start rusting and falling apart within a few years of installation. Starting with a high quality slate is a must. Even with a high quality slate, problems can arise when protrusions and transitions are not handled expertly as these are the areas that tend to leak the most. Common deficiencies found in slate roofs installed by novices include:

  • poor quality slate (can be from low quality quarry- a large percentage of imported slate, or low priced brokers selling seconds- i.e., slates that are warped, high amount of quartz veins, cut when the stone was too dried out, etc.)
  • uncropped and nailed valleys
  • under and overnailing
  • using non-solderable metals that have caulked seams
  • long expanses of metal without control joints
  • too large of pieces of metal used in areas which require flat lock installation
  • inexpert/incorrect soldering technique
  • soldering joints that are not cleaned, pre-tinned, well soldered, and neutralized- especially at critical points
  • soldering with too cool of an iron or too hot of a flame as in an acetylene torch resulting in seams that are “covered” with solder but with seams not filled
  • incorrect headlap and/or sidelap
  • incorrect installation of step, apron, and counterflashings
  • use of warped slates especially when laid improperly
  • nailing long pieces of metal resulting in stress cracks
  • installing over insufficient substrate (rotted, too thin, poor quality, too much flex, etc.)
  • exposed nails left from roof jacks
  • use of asphalt and caulks in a way that traps or backs up water flow
  • design for water flow that does not take into consideration settling and movement of building, capillary action, wind, drainage, or ice-damming
  • hairline cracks resulting from excessive traffic during installation
  • wrong type of nail
  • incorrect underlayment installation

Allow our experts to explain how these and other factors are important for your particular project and don’t get fooled that all slate roofs are the same. A 100+ year slate roof comes into being only with the right materials, correct design, knowledge of the correct procedure to install these materials, and the skill to actually do it.

 

Ohio Veteran’s Home, Sandusky, Ohio New Vermont weathering green slate roof with clay tile hips, ridges, and finials, and soldered copper box gutter liner.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral , Cleveland, Ohio New Virginia Buckingham slate, copper roofs and box gutters, and masonry repairs.
Greenacres Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio Restoration of graduated Vermont multi-color slate roof.
Northwood Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana New Canadian North Country Black slate roof, new copper gutter, new copper roofs including steeple.
Residences, Springfield, OhioNew slate roofs on these two adjacent Springfield residences. The left roof is a Vermont Royal Purple slate and the right roof is a Verrmont Black slate. The Durable Restoration Company completed complete restoration of the exterior of both houses including rebuilt windows, porches, new siding, and foundation work on both properties.
Church of All Saints, Keokuk, Iowa This project included a complete re-roof with a Canadian North Country Black slate, and copper roofs and gutter system. This project was awarded the 2008 NRCA Gold Circle Award for steep roofing.

 

 

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