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durable slate employee repairing a slate roof, with copper roof in the background

Slate Roof Repair

Slate roofs are famously durable and long lasting, but need regular maintenance and occasional repairs to help them reach maximum longevity.

Your premium roof deserves a slate specialist to be its best (for decades to come). You can rely on us to do what's right for your slate roof.

close up of steeple square copper welding work with blue sky in the backgroundclose up of steeple square copper welding work with blue sky in the background

About Slate Roofing

Slate is a classic and hearty roofing material that adds elegance and distinctiveness to your home, place of worship, or business. Although slate can cost more to install, that initial expense is mitigated by its incredible longevity, produces less environmental waste than its synthetic counterparts, and imparts a high-quality, old world durability to your home and surroundings.

Slate roofs have been around for nearly 1,000 years. Old slate roofs have been discovered dating back to the early 1200’s in the United Kingdom. In the United States, slate roofing was first used in the 1600’s and the first commercial quarry was opened in the Peach Bottom area of Pennsylvania in 1785.

With proper installation and routine maintenance slate roofs can last for a century (or longer). Amateurs often mistreat or mishandle slate, resulting in an inferior product and avoidable repairs (and expenses).

a slate roof with copper vent pipes, step flashing, and valley

Your Slate Specialists

General contractors often include slate repair services in addition to their conventional roofing services, but few roofing contractors actually specialize in the fine art of historic slate, clay tile, and copper roofing. Treating slate like any other roofing material can have disastrous consequences.

As a premium, but unique roofing material, slate demands a specialist. This is true for new roof installations and slate repairs as small as a single slate replacement. The orientation of the slate; how to match a replacement slate with existing slates; the manner in which the new slate is installed; evaluating the nearby area for wood rot or other damage; etc, are all skills unique to slate roof contractors.

And while many roofing contractors offer slate roof repair among their services, The Durable Slate Company specializes only in historic roofing, which includes clay-tile roofs, copper roofing, and copper gutters. Slate roofing is our art and expertise, as well as our business.
azola boys slate roof and copper gutter

Different Types of Slate

Welsh Penryn Purple Slate
Welsh Penrhyn Purple slate with a life expectancy of 200+ years.
Delabole Slate featuring John Chan, COO of the durable slate company
Delabole slate, life expectancy of 250+ years. Quarried since 1284.
Virginia Buckingham slate, as seen on St. Andrews Catholic Church
Buckingham slate, with a life expectancy of 300+ years.
example of vermont five color blended slate
Vermont five color blend, with a life expectancy of 125+ years.
example of north country black slate with life expectancy of 250 years
North Country Black slate, with a life expectancy of 250+ years.
example of roof with pennsylvania black slate
Pennsylvania Black slate, with a life expectancy of 75+ years
example of peach bottom slate from ivy hotel in baltimore maryland
Peach Bottom slate, with a life expectancy of 125+ years
example of trinity purple slate roof from new orleans louisiana
Trinity purple slate, with a life expectancy of 125+ years

Repairs Done Right, Once

While slate is rock hard, it is not impervious to damage. If hit hard enough – or if an inexperienced contractor steps in the wrong place – a slate roofing tile can crack. Cracks allow water into undesirable places, causing leakage, and eventually rot or other damage. Slate roof cracks should be repaired immediately. Likewise for misaligned tiles, which might let in animals or debris, in addition to water.

Worse than cracks are missing tiles. In this case, more of the underlying roofing structure is exposed to the elements, which can more quickly damage nearby tiles and other parts of your roof. Slates work best together, without chinks in the armor. If you notice any missing slates, have them fixed right away. Water can infiltrate tender areas of your roof, causing mold, mildew, and rot, as well as algae. All of these are evidence of excess moisture, cause damage to the slates and roof, and are indicators of more serious problems elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the incredible durability of slate is compromised by amateur contractors who don’t specialize in this unique roofing material. While slate is tough, it can be broken if mishandled; the true longevity of a slate roof is due to the slates working together in a mesh, like a phalanx, to prevent water and material from entering your home or business.

To save on costs and compete on price, slate roofing contractors will use poor quality slate, often imported, instead of better but more expensive options.
Let’s be clear: slate roofing is more expensive up-front than other, less durable roofing options. It's tempting, then, to cut corners and offer a cheaper slate option. But these short-cuts interfere with the natural durability of slate and the functional lifespan of your roof. It will cost more tomorrow to do it cheaply today.

We often fix damage resulting from non-specialist mistakes such as improperly soldered joints; incorrect nails; excess traffic on the slates, causing hairline fractures; incorrect underlayment; and the list goes on.

The beauty of a slate roof is, at least in part, its implied strength. It’s stone – very durable stuff, except when it has suffered a lasting injury, unknown or ignored for years, worsening. It’s tempting to use a less expensive contractor willing to make any promise necessary to sell the job.

A slate roof replacement or repair is not expensive if it is installed correctly and maintained properly. Slate roofs accidentally sabotaged by laymen roofing contractors are a slowly unfolding tragedy; they fail too often, degrading what should be a century strong roof, and add unnecessary expense, worry, and heartache to what should be a nearly maintenance free investment in your home.

Stick with the slate specialists. You’ll save yourself time, money, and worry. The Durable Slate Company is an award winning slate roofing contractor. We provide premium slate roof repair services nationwide. Our training and apprenticeship programs are industry leading and our quality control is detail oriented and comprehensive. Using traditional tools and methods, we make (and repair) the best roofs on Earth.
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Examples of Slate Roof Damage

example of chinese multicolored slate rusting out after only five years of roof use
Example of Chinese Multicolor slate rusting out after only five years.
chinese black slate rusting out
Chinese black slate rusting through after only two years.
Chinese slate rusting after only two years
Another example of Chinese slate rusting after only two years of use.
obvious hail damage to a slate roof
Storms can damage slate roofs if there is strong wind or large hail.
vermont unfading green slate roof with wind and hail damage
Home owners should review their insurance policies to see whether storm damage is covered or not.
another slate roof with hail and wind damage
Hail stones the size of baseballs were reported as far south as north Texas.

Common Slate Roof Repairs

There are several common repairs that homeowners may need to make to their slate roofs. These include fixing loose or broken slate tiles, replacing damaged flashing, repairing leaks, and removing moss or algae growth. In some cases, the entire roof may need to be replaced if it is too damaged to repair. It's important to regularly inspect slate roofs and address issues as soon as they arise to prevent further damage and maintain the integrity of the roof.

The most common slate roof repairs include:

1. Fixing loose or broken slate tiles: Over time, slate tiles can become loose or even break, due to factors such as heavy winds or the natural expansion and contraction of the roof. These loose or broken tiles can be a source of leaks and other damage, so it's important to identify and fix them as soon as possible. This can often be done by re-securing the tiles with nails, hooks, or adhesive, or by replacing the damaged slates.

2. Replacing damaged flashing: Flashing is the metal or plastic strips that are used to seal the intersections between the roof and other structures, such as chimneys or skylights.
Over time, flashing can become damaged or corroded, allowing water to leak into the roof. To fix this, the damaged flashing must be removed and replaced.

3. Repairing leaks: Leaks are one of the most common problems with slate roofs. Leaks can be caused by a variety of factors, including broken or loose tiles, damaged flashing, or a lack of proper ventilation. To repair leaks, the source of the leak must be identified and addressed, which may involve making repairs to the roof itself or to the flashing or other components. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove and replace damaged sections of the roof.

4. Removing moss or algae growth: Moss and algae can grow on slate roofs, especially in areas with high humidity or poor drainage. This growth can cause the roof to deteriorate and become less effective at protecting the home from water damage. To remove moss or algae, a homeowner can use a specialized cleaning product or hire a professional to perform the cleaning.

In general, it's important for homeowners to regularly inspect their slate roofs and address any issues as soon as they arise in order to prevent further damage and maintain the integrity of the roof. If a homeowner is unsure of how to make a particular repair, it's always best to consult a professional.
a poorly installed slate roof with overlapping slates
Poorly installed slates that are overlapping (and shouldn't be).
a bad chimney repair without copper flashing and leaks
A slate roof without copper chimney flashing.
New slate roof without copper flashings
A new slate roof without any copper flashing.
example of badly installed slate roof damage
Bad slate roof installation can result in avoidable damage that needs to be repaired.
example of bad workmanship on badly installed slate roof
Improper use of nails or screws can cause damage that looks like storm damage.
another example of a badly installed slate roof that needs to be repaired properly
Another example of bad workmanship resulting in premature slate roof damage.

Choose Durable

We are available to work throughout the Eastern United States, with offices located in Washington D.C., Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. We service Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas, and beyond.

Durable Slate craftsmen continuously improve their skills in the field, as well as through our industry leading, in-house training program and facility. Slate roofing expertise is a rare skill and we’ve trained some of the best.

Our roofing estimators do not work on commission, so there is no incentive to bloat your bottom line. Our honest and free* roofing evaluations are thorough and we do our best to inform you every at every step. It’s important to us that you, our customer, understand the process, its beauty, and why attention to detail matters for the health and longevity of your slate roof.
We are committed to excellence in all things. We call this The Durable Way. Business integrity, honesty, and transparency, and an obsession with doing the job right the first time. We believe that work done right shouldn’t be repeated fruitlessly. It should last. And so should your roof.

Our work is award winning, long lasting, and true to our name, incredibly durable. We are more than mere roofers; we are master craftsmen and this is our art.

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More than a roof. A legacy.