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K. Cavanaugh
Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2001 - 09:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am buying a home that has been vacant for 2 years. I do not know how much upkeep was provided for the roof prior to that. The home inspection is still pending, but I am just wondering what to expect... I know little to nothing about slate roofs.
1)What general adivce can you give me about the price of repair, yearly upkeep?
2) If it is recommended that the roof be replaced entirely, what would the price be for converting from slate to something else?
3) The attic is uninsulated, when I went up I was looking at the underside of the slate and the daylight I can see between them. Is this normal? Would there be any reason why I could not insulate my attic?
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Joe Jenkins
Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2001 - 10:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

First, you should get a copy of the Slate Roof Bible. Maybe you can find one at your local library (also available on this web site). It will tell you what you need to know. You will know more about slate roofs than probably any roofing contractor in your area after you read that book, which is a good defense against the production roofers who just want to rip off your slate roof, no matter how good it is, and staple down asphalt.

Daylight in the attic is common and not necessarily the sign of a leak. However, your roof may need some repairs. And yes, you can insulate your attic.
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Jim Germond
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2001 - 04:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, read The Slate Roof Bible. Become as self-reliant as possible and DO NOT rely on Home Inspectors to correctly assess your slate roof.

I've gotten many. many emails from people who were given the "thumbs-up" on their slate roof by the inspector, only to learn a few months later that they needed thousands of dollars of repairs or even worse, a new roof..,
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Tom Loughlin
Posted on Tuesday, July 03, 2001 - 01:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Joe-
Help! Bought a house circa 1925 with a slate roof (half slates w/ back-board; tongue 'n groove deck). Home inspector noted moisture on interior (attic side) of decking. In fact, he noted black powdery mold on the decking. His assessment: roof needs some caulking/tarring at ridges. I know you don't have photos (yet, anyway), but what's your initial assessment?
Tom
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Joe Jenkins
Posted on Tuesday, July 03, 2001 - 06:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What are "half slates w/ back-board"?

If the ridges leak, they probably need replaced if metal, and repaired, if slate. On the other hand, it may be something as simple as one nail hole on the ridge which can be repaired with a dab of silicon caulk.
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Robert Farber
Posted on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 05:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

We recently purchased a one-room schoolhouse built in 1895. The slate roof has one sizeable hole on the south side of the roof near the ridge and several other small holes on the south side as well. The north side of the roof appears to be intact. A small roof at the rear of the structure(300 s.f) is completely missing. The school is located in Marion, Ohio.

The slate is a dark grey/black in color.

Here is the question? Do we attempt to repair the roof given its age? I hate to repace it with metal, but that is one option we are discussing.

The total square footage of the roof is 1500 s.f.
what would the cost of a total repacement with slate be? vs. repair? Is it worth it.

Thanks for your comments/help.

Robert
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Tim Dittmar
Posted on Monday, September 23, 2002 - 11:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bob?- Slate is a roofing material that usually requires only specific(rather than general) maintenance for periods exceeding lifetimes- that is probably, in precise terms, what you are observing. The majority of your roof is performing perfectly? with little or no attention and will probably continue to do so for decades- the holes are from neglect that has "metastized" to cause deck damage which has caused more slate nails to loosen and drop their slates- I've seen measures of neglect before such as you've described but that was followed by recognition and respect for the material/system and how durable it truly is- it's admissable that any other shingle system(at least) would have lacked the longevity to triumph over the aggravated neglect and the building would have "caved" a long time ago. There are other issues/findings that will address the less obvious, potential complications but the sheer age of your roof and the fact it's probably not even had the benefit of climate-control says you are in the presence of excellence. Unquestionably, Sir, you would do well to honor this roof by preserving it- even if the available craftsmanship of your era makes it a bit of extra bother!
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Vidhyu Rao
Posted on Friday, October 11, 2002 - 11:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi,

We are planning to buy a house in Pennsylvania. This is a 45 year old house with a Slate roof (which is original to the house). We are first time home buyers and have no idea about slate roofing. The home inspection is pending. The owner informed us that slate roofs life time is much longer than the regular roofs. Can you throw some light on this pls. What is the life time of a slate roof? What kind of problems can we anticipate? how expensive can a slate roof repairing reach to?

Thank you.
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SlateGuy@neslate.com
Posted on Friday, October 11, 2002 - 02:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Greetings,
Be very, very careful. Take the time to read through this Message Board and you will come to understand that the phrase "much longer" is often correct, but not always. The type of slate, how it was produced and the expertise (or lack of expertise) of every single person who handled it from quarry to roof (not to mention anyone who walked on the roof - chimney sweeps, masons, painters, TV antenna types, dad, etc.) makes a HUGE difference. You need someone who can evaluate that roof properly and tell you what to expect going forward. We're talking about tens of thousands of dollars here.

I would recommend that you let the "home inspector" inspect the home, but let a slate roof expert inspect the slate roof. I have heard many horror stories of "home inspectors" that got the slate roof part very, very wrong.

Don't assume because the roof "doesn't leak now" or that "the roof looks good from the ground" that all is well.

Everytime I hear about an owner or realtor telling the prospective buyer "no worries" that "slate roofs last forever" the caution flags come up. I am immediately suspicious.

My email archives tell the story:

- the woman in Maryland who had an inspector tell her that 100 slates needed replacement and after the closing the slate repair guy who came to do the repairs told her the whole roof was "shot." Upon calling the inspection company she is told that "sorry, we can't help, he (the inspector) no longer works here."

- the guy in Northampton, MA who's home inspector "blessed" his roof (without ever leaving the ground) and when the leaks ensued a few months later was looking at thousands of dollars in flashing and valley repairs. "I saw a little tar," he told me, "but hey! slate roofs last forever, right?

Everyone on this board likely has several of these stories.

Joe Jenkins inspects roofs and he's based in PA. You couldn't do much better than him for an unbiased, honest assessment. Well worth the money.

SlateGuy
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Joe Jenkins (Admin)
Posted on Sunday, October 13, 2002 - 02:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Get a copy of the Slate Roof Bible at http://www.jenkinsslate.com/library.html
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karen
Posted on Wednesday, January 01, 2003 - 09:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello,

Can we get this slate roof fixed for a reasonable cost, or do we replace it with metal or something else? Our house was built in 1911, and has a slate roof on the original structure. From reading the Slate Roof Bible, we have determined it is sea-green slate. However, the roof has several areas that are somewhat concave, and sections along the edge that dip down, so that the slates are not lined up well there. Former owners have podged various areas with tar, as well. Finally, some of the edges build up quite a bit of ice, and we think there might have been an ice dam problem in one of the valleys (where slate roof connects with newer shingle roof of addition) in the past. We have electric heating cable on a portion, which seems to help. However, the falling snow rips off the cable on the south side, so we had to remove it there and just live with the ice buildup.

Here is some additional info on the roof:
It looks as if the slates in some areas have been laid over either shingles or tar paper. From inside the attic, we can see that the slates are nailed onto shiplap wood boards about 7" wide. The rafters are 2x4's (!). The attic floor joists are 2X5" that are 16" apart. The rafters on one side have been given additional 'support' by boards tied into the joists. The attic is over a room with 'knee walls', which I think makes venting difficult. The attic floor is insulated with about 3" of cellulose over about 4" of vermiculite.

What would be involved in repairing this roof so that we could keep the slate and prevent ice buildup? Is the structural work so extensive that it will cost much less to replace the slate with other material?
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admin
Posted on Thursday, January 02, 2003 - 06:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sounds like a routine job to me. Tear out and replace the tarred slates, resheath the sagging eaves with new wood, and find out what's causing the leak at the ice dam area. Doesn't sound like a re-roof if it's sea green slate only 93 year old.
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Robert McCook
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 05:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi,
We are looking at a home in Richmond Virgina built around 1947. It has a slate roof. There are a lot of slate roofs in this area. After reading through the conversations above I will definitely hire a slate roof inspector before proceeding with purchase. Can you shed any light on the type of slate this home has and what its expected life might be? Also, any other tips you might have. Thanks
Robert
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admin
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 06:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can identify your roof at http://www.jenkinsslate.com/identify.html

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