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When To Replace Slate Roof

Benefits Of Slate Roofing

Slate Roof Repair – How to replace a slate & broken slates

Depending on the square footage, a well-installed slate roof can end up costing you up to $38,000 for a 3,000 square foot roof when all is said and done. This can be an intimidating number. But before you resign yourself to asphalt, make sure you are taking into account the several strong advantages, as well as the disadvantages, of slate roofs.

How To Replace Damaged Or Lost Roofing Slates Using The Copper Tab Method

A proper slate repair involves several steps:

  • Cut the concealed nails, holding the damaged slate in place. There are usually two nails.
  • acquire the properly sized replacement slate. If the exposure is ten inches the slates should be twenty-three inches long. A proper slate application uses slates which are twice the exposure plus a three-inch allowance for head lap.
  • slide the slate into place, use the gap between the sides of the above-course of slates to mark the location of a single holding nail.
  • the nail hole is punched into the slate from the back, so that the ragged part of the hole is on the front or face of the slate. This will allow the nail to sit flush in the hole. It’s a crude form of counter-sinking.
  • nail the replacement slate into place with a copper nail. Sometimes the edges of the nail head have to be cut off to pass between the sides of the two slates in the covering upper course.

Who Manufactured The Shingles

In any given neighborhood where multiple homes have slate shingles, the quality of the slate is liable to vary. The disparity between each roof will often be due to the age of the shingles and the maintenance, or lack thereof, employed by successive generations of homeowners. However, the differences in slate quality will often boil down to the company that manufactured the shingles.

As noted, there are hard and soft forms of slate. Shingle manufacturers that use only the former quality of slate will generally produce the longest-lasting shingles. That said, other differences separate the best manufacturers from some of the lesser brands on the market, and it all boils down to those who use real slate versus cheaper imitation productions.

One of the telltale signs of genuine slate is its inconsistency. Slate shingles will have a rough, rocky texture and vary in color from tile to tile. Imitation slate, on the other hand, will usually have a consistent appearance and a flatter, smoother texture. Some manufacturers try to pass imitation slate off as the real thing on unsuspecting homeowners. Therefore, it is important to know real slate from fake slate, as the latter has neither the value or longevity of the real thing.

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Hard Vs Soft Slate Roof

You should also think about whether you want to go with a hard slate or a soft slate. Hard slate is extremely durable and long-lasting. It’s also more resistant to fire and excessive moisture. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, and don’t require s durable a material, soft slate may be a beneficial choice.

As you can see, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from, even within the category of slate. Base your decisions on the aspects that are important to you, such as appearance, authenticity, durability, cost and longevity.

Examples Of Slate Roofs In Poor Or Worn

Natural Slate Roofing Tiles

This poor condition slate roof sports many loose slates. Eflorescence almost fills the upper slates, and there are many thin delaminating slates: more than 25% of this roof is bad, beyond economical repair.

Watch out: don’t confuse superficial or light surface delamination that appears on the surface of roofing slates that remain in good condition with delamination that indicates that the whole slate is soft and shot.

It often requires an up-close look and probably some gentle “touching” or probing for a roofer or roof inspector to conclude with confidence that slates are in good condition with surface delamination versus in poor condition and worn out.

See DELAMINATING for clarification about delaminating roofing slates..

This point of confusion is another argument that a “roof inspection” performed only from the ground is, of necessity, incomplete.

At above left is a poor condition slate roof – close up photograph , of a roof beyond economical repair – a patch and struggle policy may be tolerable.

The dark colored slates are areas where bad slates have been replaced.

We’d love to see this replacement pattern continue. Many roofers opine that when more than 25% of the slates have to be replaced in a short period, the roof is beyond economical repair..

Worn slates at end of life, lost slates, delaminated slates, broken slates on this small roof make re-roofing necessary

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Slate Roof Underlayment Replacement Price

The average cost to replace underlayment in slate roofs is between $350 and $550 per square, with one square being equivalent to 100 square feet. Depending on your roof size and damage, you may need to replace multiple squares of underlayment, leading to high costs. Underlayment may need to be replaced if it has holes or tears and is causing leaks.

Slate Roof Tiles Cost

If your roof is leaking and its not the fault of aging flashing, you most likely have one or more broken shingles. Replacing a broken shingle is usually relatively cheap. A single slate roof tile doesnt cost a lot and the labor involved is minimal.

A common mistake homeowners make is to wait until a few shingles are broken to call out a roofer. While they may imagine that saves money, it is a dangerous game to play. Just one broken tile can let water through to your roof deck. Once water starts to damage the roof deck, youre in for some very costly repairs or even a full replacement. Waiting for another shingle to break is like waiting to get a cavity filled until you have two or three more. It just doesnt make sense.

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There Are A Few Things You Need To Be Aware Of If Purchasing A Slate Roof:

  • Slate roofing is more expensive than asphalt shingles, but consider the longevity.
  • Because Slate is natural and not mass produced, they can vary in thickness, but often that adds to the beauty of a slate roof.
  • Because slate is natural, it can be challenging to find replacement slates that match your existing roof, which is why we recommend saving a few extra slates during installation.
  • Slate roofs are heavy, so youll need to make sure an experienced and reliable slate roofing contractor installs your slate to make sure your roof is strong enough to support the weight.

Remove Damaged Slate Tile

roof slate replacement

When slate tiles are damaged, there are usually remnants of the tile left behind, including nails. These remnants must be removed.

Insert the top end of the slate ripping tool under the bottom edge of the slate tile or into the location where the tile is missing. You will notice that the slate ripper has a hook on either side of the top of the flat end of the ripper. The hooks are used to catch and cut the nails. As you catch the nail with the hooks, use your hammer to hit the handle of the slate ripper to drive the hook down against the nail. This will either cut the nail, or it will rip the nail out. Afterward, use the slate ripper to lift up on the slate and slide the slate out from its position.

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Slate Roofing Vs Asphalt Shingles

Natural stone is the ultimate eco-friendly, durable, and beautiful roofing material. Unfortunately, high cost and weight concerns make slate a rare sight on run-of-the-mill homes. You will most often see a slate roof on churches, libraries, and government and university buildings.

Slate tiles will not saturate with water, and offer a completely fireproof option for your roof. Since slate roofing is made of stone, it is impervious to weather, sun, heat, and cold so you can expect a slate roof to last up to 150+ years.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles , lasts only 15 to 30 years. However, it is much more affordable than a high-end slate tile roof.

Repair Slipped Roof Slate

Homeowners pay between $50 and $200 to deal with slipped tiles from a slate roof. Individual slate tiles can slip from the roof and fall due to storms, wear, and fastening problems. You usually must replace the slipped tiles and fit some new fasteners. It may be possible to put the slipped tile back in position to save money if the tile is intact.

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Cost To Reroof A House With Shingles

Reroofing a home with new shingles will cost roughly $4,707 to $15,690. The cost involves removing the old shingles, performing spot repairs to underlying shingles, and installing new shingles. The prices may fluctuate depending on the factors mentioned above.

Removing old shingles might cost you around $1,467 to $4,890 or $125 to $500 per square. The removal costs can fluctuate depending on the difficulty to remove and dispose of the old roofing material. Youll pay an additional fee if the roof has structural issues.

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Is It Worth Repairing A Slate Roof

Roof replacement with Slate

Lets be honest, a slate roof really is the Cadillac of roofs. Slate is nearly indestructible. But that nearly part is important. Many homeowners think a slate roof can last forever. After all, there are many buildings with slate roofs pushing two centuries that seem to still be doing fine. So for a roof that can last well beyond a lifetime, its understandable that some people think theyll last forever. But like all things, a slate roof cannot go on forever. So when you start to notice leaks, is it worth repairing a slate roof? Is it just time to throw in the towel and go with something cheaper? Or, if you are a historical purist, is it time for a new slate roof, despite the high cost? Eagle Watch Roofing will take a look at all the options to help you decide when it is worth repairing a slate roof and when its time to look at other options.

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When Do I Need To Replace Slate Roof Tiles

by admin | Jan 17, 2019 | blog |

If you have a slate roof, youre purchasing a home or building with a slate roof, or youre just interested in having one installed and want to learn more about slate, you may be wondering when you need to replace slate roof tiles.

Slate roofs can easily last 100 years or longer. But, in many cases, you may need to replace a slate tile. Broken slates can be caused by impact damage from branches, hail and other debris, and just like any other type of roof, your slate roof wont last forever.

So, how do you know when you need slate roof repairs? Get all of the information you need from this guide.


The preferred method of examining and inspecting your slate roof is to have a professional slater look at it once per year. This usually wont take long. They will look for fallen tiles , and for cracked and damaged tiles.

In most cases, your roofing inspection wont reveal any serious issues. But its always better to be safe than sorry. If a few of your tiles fail in the same area, the underlying roof structure could become sodden with moisture and eventually require a complete roof replacement, rather than just the replacement of damaged slates.


If youre not sure if you can recognize these signs that there may be something wrong with your slate tile, we recommend turning to a professional.

The Replacement Of Deteriorated Roofs Return To Top

Historic slate roofs should be repaired rather than replaced whenever possible. Before replacing a slate roof, check for isolated damage, corroded and worn flashings, leaky gutters, poor ventilation in the attic, and other possible sources of moisture. All too often slate roofs are mistakenly replaced when, in fact, they could have been effectively repaired. Deciding whether an historic slate roof should be repaired or replaced can be difficult and each roof must be judged separately.

If repair is not possible and a new slate roof must be installed, it is important to remember that more than just the replacement of the slate is involved. The old slate should be removed to prevent overloading of the roof timbers. Stripping should be done in sections, with felt installed, to avoid exposing the entire subroof to the weather. ln the process, rotted wood sheathing should be replaced and the roof timbers checked for signs of stress including deflection, cracking, and twisting. If such conditions are found, a structural engineer experienced in working with older buildings should be consulted. Other repairs, such as chimney repointing, which may require access to the roof should be completed before the new roof is put on.

Prior to a replacing a roof, historical documentation is gathered to determine the roof configuration. Photo: NPS files.

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Slate Repair Requires Specialized Training And Experience

You can imagine that repairing a slate roof required different skills and tools than roofs using other materials. Part stonemason, you would never want an inexperienced roofer who had never been properly trained to work with slate to attempt working on your slate roof. Slate is a metamorphic rock formed from clay, sediment, or volcanic ash. Its extremely hard and it breaks easily into layers which is why it takes some skill to work with this material. Asphalt shingles are cut to size and nailed into place. Its not that simple with slate because it would break. Special tools and technique prevent breakage and leaking. The roofers at Jim Hicks Home Improvement have such training and experience.

Synthetic Slate Roofing Cost Vs Natural Slate

How to replace a broken roof slate. Cracked fibre cement slate repair.

In most cases, synthetic slate roofing will cost less than natural. Natural roofs are heavier, which means the materials will cost more and the labor prices will be higher.

For natural slate roofs, you can expect to pay about $10 to $30 per square foot, which can total between $5,000 and $50,000 for a house. Some homeowners have even reported projects that cost up to $100,000.

For synthetic, the costs will typically range between $5 and $10 per square foot depending on the material you choose. The overall price will probably be half of what youd pay for natural. Many people prefer synthetic for this reason.

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Replace Natural Slate With Synthetic Slate Roofing

One of the major disadvantages of a slate roof is that it can crack under pressure when someone walks on it. This makes it difficult to perform maintenance and repairs. If a significant amount of shingles need to be replaced, it may be in your best interest to replace, rather than repair the roof.

You likely wont want to replace a slate roof with another one given the difficulties of installation and repairs. Luckily, there is an alternative that will allow you to capture the beauty of natural slate without the downsides.

Brava Old World Slate gives you the look and feel of natural slate tiles but at a fraction of the weight. Our synthetic tiles are easy to install and can withstand the weight of someone walking on the roof as well as the impact from hail or a fallen tree branch.

Plus, were the only composite shingles that offer multiple color choices for a fully customized look.

Hiring A Slate Roofer

Always hire a professional with specific experience with installing slate roofing. There is no other material that goes on the same as slate tiles. There are also alternative options, hybrids that cut down on the install time, cost, and weight but with real slate. But those systems are specialized as well. Its easy to crack the stone when installing it or put it in improperly, leading to leaks and damage later on that will require extensive repairs.

You should be particularly cautious when hiring a roofing contractor to assess and service your slate roof. Not only should the roofers have years of general roofing experience, but they also need specific experience with slate tiles. Asphalt shingles may accidentally damage slate tiles, which is particularly undesirable when you own a house with historical value.

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What Constitutes A High Quality Slate Roof Installation

  • Check the angle / pitch of your roof,depending on how steep or shallow your roof is this will dictate how much overlap or head lap is required on your slates.
  • Make sure that the wood underneath is cleared of old nails and splinters that may damage the integrity of the roof.
  • Roll out the chosen underlayment which will add another layer of protection from severe weather from your home.
  • Secure the underlayment with preferably copper or galvanized nails firmly into position but not too hard that the underlayment is damaged or ripped.
  • One of the most important things with slate tiles is to use copper nails when installing. This is because standard metal nails will rust and fall apart after 40-50 years and the slate ties will start to loosen up and fall off the roof one by one. In fact, our number one service call with slate roofs is re-securing the tiles where the roof was not done with copper nails.
  • When securing the slate, make sure the nails do not penetrate through and out the other side and puncture the underlayment which will cause water to seep into your attic space.
  • Install proper drip edge and ensure that all roofing penetrations are properly flashed and sealed. Drip edges should be installed to prevent water from being blown up under your slate tiles.

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