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Old_school (Old_school)
Senior Member
Username: Old_school

Post Number: 261
Registered: 01-2009
Posted on Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 02:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Liz, Branden, and the rest of you fine people. It is interesting to see the home owners pour their hearts out in this site. It is also wrenching for me to hear the workers (contractors and home owners) that actually install the slates bemoan the quality of a lot of the installations that are going on.

It is an issue of supply and demand. There is still a demand for slate installations, unfortunately, the biggest reward is given for quantity and not neccessarily quality. Those of us that do the proper job often do it at our own expense compared to what we could make by cheating.

I for one, and I know you for another, plus many of the slaters that are menbers of this association do it correctly. So do a lot of the slaters overseas. So did a lot of the slaters here in the states in decades past. We are now in a throw-away society and it is showing in most everything we touch. Remember when we drank most of our water from a water fountain or a glass? How many BILLIONS of plastic bottles are thrown away every year? How many thousands of slate roofs are "thrown" away every year?

I see the same complaint on the Roofers Coffee shop every day. There are roofers, and there are roofing contractors. The contractors complain about the quality of the work that their "workers" are doing; and I tell them to just do the work themselves and stop complaining. Most of the "roofers" will post pictures of their work, and are proud of it. That is the big difference.

Some of the contractors; John Chan, you are one, manage their work properly and do good jobs, but unless we can do the work ourselves, we are all at the mercy of unskilled hacks. I don't know the answer; I do know that I am addressing the problem one slate roof at a time up here in Kalamazoo. I will continue.

Stick to your guns guys. Quality will eventually win out, but I am not sure when the wheel will return to where it was.
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Branden_wilson (Branden_wilson)
Intermediate Member
Username: Branden_wilson

Post Number: 37
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 11:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

John i have to say, i loose about 90% of the slate roofs i bid to "roofing contractors". they are always less than half my price and the finished product always reflects this. i am extremely poor, my price reflects my experience with the products which is what the inexperienced roofers always overlook.

i don't think the problem is that there's so much work out there. i believe the biggest problem is ignorance. there's a lot of slate roofs going on here in south florida and i bid every single one. most end up being installed with screw guns and mortar by roofers! why? because people are always looking for their cheapest way out and we just don't put people and things to the test anymore. many times the homeowner would have done things correctly had they known but once they hand the task over to their builder or contractor what do they always do? try to save money of course!more for them!

more than anything, i get calls to fix slate roofs that just can't be fixed. first i try to attach responsibility to someone. more often than not, the poor roof can be traced back to a poor decision to go with the low bid and not put their "contractor" to the test. we could spend a lot of time getting angry at these roofers but they did what a roofing contractors only job is....to make money. there is nothing about the title "roofing contractor" that says they have experience slating roofs or especially that they've proven themselves competent enough to install one correctly. we always assume these folks know too much just because they make $$$$.

I don't think the problem is going to get any better in this country. the only trade organization for slaters here in the US is for "roofing contractors". i don't see a place for slaters. even most of the "slaters" here on this site are really "roofing contractors". what a conflict of interest if you ask me. i had to quit being a roofing contractor in order to be a real slater, the two directly contradict each other.

i see it like this; in order to properly install a slate roof, one cannot be worried about how much gets done in a day or how many squares each guy can lay or how much money one can make. these things are all a roofing contractor thinks about....the bottom line. the bottom line always forces them to make compromises. that's why roofing contractors install things like asphalt, pvc, plastic slate, elk truslate, nulok, painted galvalume, etc... none of these roofs do what they claim and all of them are responsible for helping create the prevailing mentality which is currently the exact opposite of life cycle costing. they are helping eat away at the very foundation for even understanding a slate roof, for what? to make money. they will always compromise....to make money. meanwhile guys like myself are fighting an overwhelming battle to maintain the mentality that supports not just our trade but all of the dying trades and even responsible spending.

i believe we need to create guilds for the real tradesmen out there before it's too late. it's not just slate roofing but carpenters, plasterers, stonemasons, blacksmiths, etc... these trades are all in serious trouble. drywall has made plasterers almost disappear. drywall!!! not even close to plaster! just like backer-board is doing to the tile and marble trade. ten years ago, anyone who stuck tile to backer-board was a hack and they knew it! now everyone uses it! my friends who still mud-set everything are living the same life i live as a slater! just because they refuse to turn their installs from permanent to extremely temporary!

BTW ..things like drywall and backerboard are not actually cheaper than plaster and mud. it's just "skill-less" and therefore cheaper for those who are "skill-less" themselves. i learned building from wise, traditional real men and i can mud up a bathroom, floors walls AND ceilings cheaper, faster and much, much better than a hack can hang durarock. same with most other trades and i know guys who are much better than me. the only people that benefit from the cheap, temporary products are those who had no business selling the job in the first place. kinda like how plastic slate costs more than real slate but still ends up being somehow "cheaper".

i don't think it's helping much to force someone who's mastered their trade to build a business. it's almost impossible to convince someone to let us slate their roof as it is, without charging them for all of your overhead. folks are rewarded today for how big they can build their business. what if we could create a reward system based on the level of work someone puts out instead? i think you'd see people building better roofs instead of corporate empires. i could go on forever but this is my life....i love slate and i constantly have to watch it be destroyed by these "roofing contractors" who get all the jobs cause like the unwise homeowner, they're both focused on the bottom line. i feel very much alone in this battle, even though every time i open my slate roof bible or log on to this wonderful website i know this is not true. us real slaters know though, what we're thinking about as we're forming the stone with our hands, as we're hanging each slate to rest there indefinitely and it's certainly not... THE BOTTOM LINE!!

sorry for the rant and rave.... i appreciate feedback

(Message edited by branden wilson on October 11, 2009)
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Old_school (Old_school)
Senior Member
Username: Old_school

Post Number: 254
Registered: 01-2009
Posted on Thursday, October 08, 2009 - 05:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Liz, we are trying to "upgrade" the industry, and we are doing it one contractor at a time. The problem is with so much work to be done, everyone is going to give it a shot; whether they know what they are doing or not. A lot of them don't, or don't care.
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John_chan (John_chan)
Intermediate Member
Username: John_chan

Post Number: 36
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 08, 2009 - 04:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Liz,

You would need a roof inspection to answer those questions. Unless, the roof job is extremely poor, distant pictures can't give you enough data. You would need to know the side lap, head lap, is the roof over-nailed, under-nailed, and etc.

John
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Lizgrace (Lizgrace)
New member
Username: Lizgrace

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Thursday, October 08, 2009 - 10:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you all very much for your input in this...my [hopefully] final answer is this: Is there grounds to contest that (A) the work done by this contractor is NOT in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions [I think yes, in regards to the ridge tiles) and (B) NOT with the safety standards outlined by the National Roofing Association? I don't know what these standards are, however, I will say that, as far as the headlap goes, I think that it is 3" at minimum.

Thanks again,

Liz
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John_chan (John_chan)
Intermediate Member
Username: John_chan

Post Number: 34
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 08, 2009 - 08:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Liz,

Yes, unfortunately there were lots of bad slate jobs done after Katrina and Gustav.

Generally we install the old English Vee tiles in a bed of cement. The type you have on your house is a Ludowici Tapered Barrel Mission tile. Ludowici specifies installation with a non corrosive fastener (copper or stainless) into a wood nailer. The Ludowici rep probably doesn't know that the slate roofs here do not have such a nailer. The only ones I've seen are the ones we installed.

As far as cement, we like to use a small amount Flexim synthetic roof mortar on this type of tile, but we use a lime rich mortar for the English Vee tiles. If Flexim is used under the tile, it is fairly hidden. Let me know if you need anything else on this roof.

Thanks,

John Chan
The Durable Slate Co.
504-899-8422
www.durableslate.com
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Branden_wilson (Branden_wilson)
Intermediate Member
Username: Branden_wilson

Post Number: 35
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - 11:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

what a mess! unfortunately most of the slate roofs here in south florida are installed the same way. these slate "nightmares" used to literally keep me up at night but i've seen several hundred of them now. frankly, i'd try your best to hold someone responsible for it(good luck with that), then hire a real slater who can probably salvage quite a bit of it, blend it with a little new slate and re-do it. that's the only way you're going to get your money's worth out of the beautiful materials you paid for. good luck, really. john's right about that chimney too.
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Old_school (Old_school)
Senior Member
Username: Old_school

Post Number: 252
Registered: 01-2009
Posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - 06:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It looks like they should have fixed the chimney before they redid the rof. The bricks are falling off and need to be pointed.
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Lizgrace (Lizgrace)
New member
Username: Lizgrace

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - 05:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Another question: Should ridge tiles be installed with a cement bed? You see this sort of sloppy installation all over and so I'm thinking it can't be right. Also The Ludowici Rep said no cement-- use a copper nail or stainless steel screw and tile bond only.
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Lizgrace (Lizgrace)
New member
Username: Lizgrace

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - 05:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

John, you will find it ironic that this house is right here in new orleans. Here is another angle showing the valley flashing.
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John_chan (John_chan)
Intermediate Member
Username: John_chan

Post Number: 33
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - 05:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If the slate is one size, the vertical lines should be relatively straight. It's more cosmetics than a leaking issue. However, the slate in the picture doesn't appear to lay very flat, and it isn't installed very uniformly. It definitely doesn't look like it was installed by a "slater." It's hard to see exactly in this picture, but the vent pipe may not be flashed properly either.
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Walter_musson (Walter_musson)
Senior Member
Username: Walter_musson

Post Number: 171
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - 05:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like to see the slates laid tight side to side from center lines , so that the vertical lines are basically straight .
The roof will last better IMHO if they are laid tight side to side .
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Lizgrace (Lizgrace)
New member
Username: Lizgrace

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2009
Posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - 03:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a question regarding the correct installation of a slate roof, I guess specifically, my question is, do the horizontal bonds need to touch and do the vertical lines need to be straight? Or would this be considered a cosmetic fault, and not necessarily a serious issue?

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