There are many types of roofing materials, each with its own set of pros and cons. One of the more expensive options, slate, has been around for centuries, yet little is known about it today. If you are considering slate roofing for your home, here is everything you need to know to make an educated decision.
How Long Does a Slate Roof Last?
One of the best features of slate roofing is that it can last more than 50 years. The main factor in determining how long roofing materials last is the weather. Everything from the sun's UV rays to saltwater spray can destroy a roof over time. As a natural material, however, slate is well-suited for handling anything that Mother Nature can dish out. Slate has literally been enduring it for centuries.
Is It Safe to Walk on a Slate Roof?
Unlike asphalt shingles, you should never walk around on a roof with slate tiles. Not only could you damage the tiles by stepping on them incorrectly, but -- more importantly -- you could slip and fall. Over 18,000 Americans die from accidents at home each year. Falling off a roof is not a high percentage of those deaths, but nonetheless, the deaths are completely preventable.
Slate roofs are slippery, and walking on them to inspect, repair, or replace a slate tile should be left strictly to the professionals who have safety harnesses and fall prevention apparatuses.
Why is Slate so Expensive?
Asphalt shingles are mass-produced in factories throughout the United States. The use of climate-controlled factories, assembly lines, and other types of machinery greatly reduces the cost to produce them.
Slate shingles, on the other hand, still require tedious excavation. Not only does the rock need to be quarried from the earth, but it also needs to be cut into manageable pieces by a machine and then hand-split into the final shape by skilled craftsmen. The process is very labor-intensive, which drives up the cost considerably.
Why Do Roofers Use Copper Nails?
Slate can react negatively to some metals. For that reason, professional roofing contractors use copper nails to install the slate shingles. Copper is also used for the flashing, drip edge, and eavestroughs when installing a slate roof. While this may drive the cost up, it guarantees that another metal will not corrode the slate, allowing it to protect your home for as long as possible.
Can Anyone Install a Slate Roof?
While handy folks may be able to DIY a roof with asphalt shingles, slate roofing is definitely a project best left to the professionals. In fact, you should take steps to ensure that only roofing contractors with years of experience installing slate should work on your roof.
Is Slate Roofing Heavy?
Slate is a rock and, as such, is very heavy. Reinforced rafters are used during construction and, instead of traditional plywood or OSB sheathing, plank boards are laid perpendicular to your roof's rafters. This makes it easier for them to support the weight over time without sagging.
How Do You Clean and Maintain a Slate Roof?
Like most roofs, moss, mildew, and even rust can grow on slate shingles. You can gently scrub the areas that you can reach with a mild detergent and water. Do not use a power washer or even a strong hose as it can damage the stone. If the moss is in an area that you cannot reach, contact a professional roofing contractor to do the job.
While slate is one of the more expensive choices for roofing material and must be installed and maintained by professionals, it is a wise investment in your home due to its longevity and beauty.
For more information, contact a company like Done Right Home Improvements, INC.