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Historic Slate.

Expert slate roof restoration, repair, & replacement. No matter the building type, no matter the size, we provide the same premium service and attention to detail. Traditional roofing methods, lasting materials, and a classic approach to business is The Durable Way and slate roofing is our art.

More than a Roof

Natural slate has been used to roof buildings for a millennia and was brought to the New World by European settlers where the practice of slate roofing expanded significantly. Nothing at the time – and nothing since, engineered or quarried – has been able to match the durability, essential beauty, and fire-proof qualities of natural slate. Many manufactured products have tried, but true slate triumphs as a roofing material every-time.

Well made and cared for slate roofs are unique historic treasures.

Why is Slate So Good for Roofs?

Foremost, slate is formidable stuff. A slate roof that has been installed and maintained correctly can last for a century or longer. In some cases, the roof – at least the slate tiles – can outlast the building itself. As such, it is common to salvage slate tiles and recycle them into another roof or project. This helps to keep slate out of the garbage dump, making it among the most environmentally friendly options, as compared to asphalt or synthetic slate tiles which have shorter life spans and no recycled value. Once they’re time is up, into the dump they go.

Synthetic products are mass fabricated and do not present the same way a natural slate roof does. The tiny individual variations in each tile – the color, striping, edge, and shape – are woven into a roof that tells a unique story about that building, its unfolding history, and the land itself. Plastic shingles are versatile, but unromantic and less durable. There’s no poetry, no story. It’s a plastic coating; cheap simulacrum.

In contrast, natural slate is authentic historicity and modernity; a deep look into the past and a bold step into a lasting future. It’s not a me-too product. Slate roofs are timeless, thoughtful, and a testament to human ingenuity. A nod to a time when things were built to last. Sometimes they still are.
Surviving for a century or longer takes a formidable material. Slate is naturally fire resistant – making it great for drier, more fire prone climates – while acting as a natural insulator that can help to regulate your home’s internal temperature. And thanks to its density, insects cannot burrow into slate to lay eggs, deterring them from breeding there.

But longevity is also a function of maintenance. Anything left outside will need to be cleaned and patched up from time to time and slate roofs are no exception. Acts of God, like heavy branches, hail, and other intense weather can damage a slate roof. Thankfully, most slate repairs are relatively minor – a shingle cracked, missing, or askew – and can be repaired fairly easily. In general, it’s worthwhile to have your slate roof inspected annually, to catch small problems early. A slate roof is only as strong as its weakest shingle and issues detected early will save you considerable hassle and heartache. In general, though, a well built slate roof is about as effortless as one can expect from something that protects your home and all of your valuables from the ravages of time.

It’s worth repeating that a slate roof must be installed by a capable specialist. While slate is a resilient material, its incredible longevity as a roofing material depends on the skill of the roofers who installed it. Small missteps or cost-cutting short-cuts will require maintenance or repair far sooner than a job done correctly once.

Examples of Slate Roofing

A Bit About Durable

The Durable Slate Company provides slate roof repair, installation, and restoration services world-wide. We began humbly as a small slate roofing company in Columbus, Ohio, and through a mastery of historic repair methods and a focus on exceptional customer service, we have grown to become one of the largest slate roofing companies in the United States with offices located throughout Ohio and Maryland, including ColumbusClevelandCincinnati, OH, and Savage, MD.

Thanks in no small part to our extensive repair experience and history, The Durable Slate Company is able to handle any slate roof repair or installation of any size on any kind of building.

And with such a large stock of reclaimed slate in America, we can match most slate for an exceptionally seamless repair or full roof replacement. If your slate roof has been damaged by fire, wind, storm, other forces of nature, or just requires a bit of upkeep, you can be confident in The Durable Slate Company for your slate roof repair needs.

Reclaimed slate can also be great for new installations, allowing a wonderfully aged and classic look, without having to wait a century. Likewise, if an antique roof’s slate shingles are in good condition, it is often possible to install new underlayment and copper flashing, preserving the original slate, and matching damaged tiles from our reclaimed slate stores.

A thorough evaluation by a professional is provided by The Durable Slate Company at no additional cost to you to determine what is best for your slate roof.

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 or longer.

Cutting corners on any one of these factors can shorten the life span of a slate roof from a century to a few years or less. We have replaced numerous slate roofs that were less than 10 years old because an essential craft was neglected.

Though quite beautiful, many imported slates are of such poor quality that they start rusting and falling apart within only a few years of installation.

A high quality slate is essential.

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

More than a roof. It's a legacy.