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Home The Ultimate Guide to Refurbishing a Slate Roof

The Ultimate Guide to Refurbishing a Slate Roof

Feb 20, 2024

slate roof refurbishmentSlate is a popular roofing material thanks to its longevity, attractive appearance, and durability. But although a slate roof can last up to a couple of centuries (no, really!), it stands to reason that it will need repairing from time to time.

Poor weather conditions, falling trees, and age can all cause damage to a slate roof. The good news is, if you’re called to refurbish a slate roof, it’s relatively straightforward to do. Let’s take a look.

How to Know If a Slate Roof Needs Refurbishing

If you’re called out to a roof inspection to check its condition, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking for, the criteria to judge against, and how to tell if refurbishment is needed. Here are signs that the slate roof needs repairs.

  • A few of the roof shingles have slipped out of place or fallen off the roof completely.
  • Some tiles are damaged or broken.
  • Battens and pegs are decaying due to rot.
  • There’s water damage to the ceiling.
  • There’s discolouration across some tiles.

How to Repair a Slate Roof

Start by getting on the roof (or as close as possible) to have a detailed look. Natural slate is prone to breaking when there’s too much weight on it, so take extra care if walking directly on the roof.

You’re looking for signs that there’s any damage to the slate shingles or the fixings themselves. Often, the fixings will give up before the slate tiles. This isn’t a problem though – it simply means the tiles won’t have to be swapped out, but the fixings might.

Over time, the nails used to fix the roof slate in place can corrode, meaning slates will slip or split. In this case, replace any split slate shingles with new ones, and if the slate piece remains undamaged, simply fix it back to the roof with a new nail.

Fix a Missing Roof Slate

If one or a few slates is missing, you’ll simply need to fix another in its place. Use a copier wire and fixing nail to secure the new tile in position, while gently raising the slates in the row above to make room for the new one.

Fix a Broken Roof Slate

A broken roof slate will need to be replaced just like a missing slate, you’ll simply need to remove the broken one first, and check the area for any remaining debris that needs clearing up.

To remove the slate if it’s still attached, use a slate ripper between the tiles to remove the fixings without disturbing surrounding slates.

Fix a Slipped Roof Slate

A slipped roof slate can simply be put back into place using fixings. Bear in mind that the reason for the slate slipping in the first place might be that the fixings are in poor condition, so attach the slate with new fixings.

If the slate itself starts to disintegrate around the nail holes and it’s been in place for a long time (multiple decades or a century) it could point to the roof needing replacing entirely.

When you first install a roof for a customer, you can reduce the likelihood of refurbishment being necessary by providing the home or property owner with tips on keeping the roof in good condition.

An annual roof inspection should be advised. That way, the customer can get on top of any issues before they worsen.

When Does a Slate Roof Need Replacing?

For the most part, any issues with a slate roof can be solved through repair or refurbishment, but there are occasions when the entire roof will need replacing. Look out for the following signs that the roof needs replacing with a new one.

  • The roof is at least a century old and shows regular issues.
  • More than 30% of the roof’s shingles are missing.
  • Most of the shingles are noticeably discoloured (to the extent that the roof’s appearance is affected)
  • The roof is regularly leaking and causing issues in the property’s internal spaces.

If You Need to Re-Roof…

If the homeowner needs an entirely new roof, you’ll need to establish which material works best for their needs. Slate is a popular choice of roofing material thanks to its impressive lifespan, durability, and timeless appearance.

Its rather hefty price tag, however, means it’s not suitable for every budget. If your client would like their roof replaced with a different material, consult with the experts to find the right one for the job.

Refurbish, Repair, and Install with the Best

They say prevention is better than cure, and this is particularly true with construction projects. The better a job you do at the installation stage, the fewer repairs will be required, and the more impressive the reviews for your business.

To succeed, however, you’ll need the best tools for the job, and know-how to go with it. Here at SIG, we have both in abundance. As Ireland’s premier distributor, we can supply your projects with the materials needed to make them a success.

Whether you’re unsure about which roofing tiles to use or how best to use them, our friendly and professional team is on hand with expert advice to support you. To see how we can transform the result of your next project with a mix of decades of experience and access to free impartial advice on the best roofing materials in the business, get in touch.

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