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Ron Harbin
Posted on Sunday, August 18, 2002 - 11:47 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Our Central Pensylvania (Hershey) Church has a slate roof that we believe is about 75 years old. We had a local roofer give us a recommendation that we have it replaced. We are trying to evaluate whether it is time, or how much time we have until it needs replacement. What criteria should we be using to objectively determine this? Thanks in advance.
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Joe Jenkins
Posted on Monday, August 19, 2002 - 09:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The main criteria are type of slate on the roof and condition of the slate. You can possibly determine the type of slate on the roof by referring to the "how to identify your slate" page on this web site at http://jenkinsslate.com/identify.html. Condition of the slate can best be determined by a visual inspection. Is the outer surface of the slate flaking and crumbly? Are pieces falling out that have soft edges? If so it's probably time to start thinking about replacing it. If the outer surface is smooth and maybe even shiny, and/or if any pieces that come off the roof or fall out have hard edges, then the roof is most likely a candidate for repair or restoration.

The condition of the underlayment (felt paper) is irrelevent. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the longevity of the roof. The nails are also largely irrelevent. Iron nails on 120 year old roofs can still be quite good if the slate is good.

The only way your 75 year old slate roof would need replaced is if it's a particularly soft Pennsylvania black slate. Almost all other slate will last considerably longer, some hundreds of years.

Most roofing contractors do not know how to repair or restore slate roofs. They will tell you to tear it off no matter how good it is. This is very common.
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Ron Harbin
Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2002 - 06:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thankyou very much for your response. I have read everything on your site and on all the sites you have links to about slate. I have inspected our roof. I have even gotten copies of the ASTM standards associated with slate.

Our roof was installed in 1928 so it is now 74 years old. Those whom have inspected the roof have stated that it has a Pennsylvania origin. I inspected the attic after a recent downpour and found no leaks. However, the surface of the original tiles are flaking over most of their surface. There are no missing tiles but there are about 10 to 20 that are missing corners and small sections. About 10 or 20 appear to have through tile cracks. Many of the existing tiles have "soft", flaking edges and some appear to be thinner than most. About another 20 to 30 tiles have nail holes in the their face - most nails are protruding, some with caulking that has come detached.

Is it possible to forward a few digital photos of the roof and have you give an opinion on what we should do?
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Joe Jenkins
Posted on Wednesday, August 28, 2002 - 10:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Have you been to the consultations page on this site (http://jenkinsslate.com/consulting.html)? It explains about opinions rendered.

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