78 year old pennsylvania grey... at i... Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Slate Roof Central Message Board » Slate Roofs » 78 year old pennsylvania grey... at its' useful end? (pic) « Previous Next »

Author Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ben s
Posted on Monday, August 29, 2005 - 11:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My wife and I just got an inspection on a place in Pittsburgh, PA that we put an offer in on. One of the characteristics of the house that we liked the most was the original slate roof (they last "forever", right?). Today, our inspector got out on the roof and told us that the slate was in pretty poor shape, probably necessitating full replacement. The slate was identified by the inspector as PA gray, which matches up with the pics from the identification page on this website. It did appear to be in fairly crummy shape, with many slates having a very cardboard-like feel. It was quite easy to press a key through an example slate. (hopefully I'll have the pic tomorrow, I can't get it uploaded tonight). There are signs of previous leaking (though no current leaking today in the rain), and there is (ugh) some tar on the slate in several places.

That all being said, my wife and I are wondering what to do. I've read extensively through this and other websites today to do some research. My wife and I are of limited means, and the idea of replacing the entire roof with slate again, well, chills me. If the roof is 12/12 slope, which is just my guess, the total area of the roof is almost exactly 1600 sq. ft., or 16 square, I suppose. The roof is not terribly complex, it looks like a 'T', and has two peaks and two diagonal valleys. It also has box gutters that should probably be relined when the roofing work is done. According to estimates on this site, that'd run from $11k-$24k for replacement - is that right?

Would the next best step be to get a slate roofer to give me a bid for repair or replacement? Do these roofers typically charge to give a bid?

And, is it typical to try to (and succeed at) limping along a slate roof "on its last legs" for another 5 years or so?

Thanks in advance!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

admin
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 12:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lots of people with older PA black slate roofs are limping them along, and many are older than 78 years. You should be able to get 5 more years out of it (I would like to see a photo, however). You are correct in your price estimates, possibly low. You need to get a competent slater to look at your roof. Recently, we had two good slate roofs in the Grove City area condemned by home inspectors (we were able to save them, however). Home inspectors are notorious for knowing. nothing about slate roofs.

Joe Jenkins
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ben s
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 09:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ahhh... finally got the pictures uploaded.

Here's a picture of some fantastic repair work:
http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b185/knightpitt/gutter.jpg


And a picture that is typical of a fair amount of the slates on the roof plus an added bonus of some more terrible repair work on the side:

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b185/knightpitt/roof_key.jpg

The "repair" work, well, I figured that would be repairable, but the degree of the wearing of the slate actually concerns me. A repairable roof is one thing... one to replace (with an estimate of $11k-24k being "possibly low") is entirely another.

Judging by the quality of the previous repairs, I'm sure that the roof will leak again, and soon. I am just trying to figure out whether it's smart to try replace the entire thing now, or patch it (and keep patching it). If it's eventually a lost cause, I'd rather not put money into repairing it year after year.

Thanks again!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Anonymous
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 10:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes,from your picture the Slate are at the end of their life and in poor condition,78 years -they have done well,they may turn water for a little while longer,but if you are going to be doing any interior work that you do not want to get wet ,I would replace the roof soon.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

admin
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 11:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The roof looks shot. Are you sure it's only 78 years old?

Joe
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ben s
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 01:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The house was built in, at the very earliest, 1926. A better guess, I think is 1927. All of the archetectual and physical evidence points to 1927 or 1928. So, that puts us at about 78 years.

I was also very surprised at the condition of the roof for its age. When this house was built, it appears that no expense was spared. So, I don't know if this is attributable to a bad batch of slate or from yahoos walking all over the place on old slate to do some tar patching.

The rest of the place (interior) is in fantastic condition. It's really an amazing house, and I'd hate to not be able to afford it due to the roof. Almost worse than that, I believe, is to replace it with ugly (and temporary) shingles. I am going to be asking for concessions from the seller, but I sincerely fear how much a new, beautiful, and perminant slate roof will cost me. It actually kept me up last night, and I've had a knot in my stomach all day long.

Thanks so much, guys, for providing me good advice and thanks, Joe, for providing such a fantastic internet resource on slate roofs. I will be sure to purchase (and thoroughly read) the SRB *before* any work is done on that roof, if my wife and I decide that we can follow through with purchasing the house.

So, is there anyone who wants to give a bid on re-slating a ~16 square roof with two peaks and two valleys for a young, energetic, but poor (well, not affluent) couple in Pittsburgh, PA?? Anyone?

Also, I believe that it's worth it to ask you guys (since I know where the experience lies)... If I am going to be able to get the roof re-slated, is it appropriate to take this time to re-deck the roof as well? What about insulation under the decking? The 3rd floor is finished, but there is no insulation under the roof. If the roof is going to be off, there's no time like the present, right? This house was built to last, and I'd love to have it last through to my kids and grandkids, if I'm that lucky.

Thanks again!!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

robin
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 04:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

always wondered how american people fix bad gutters 'grin'.

this worst slate, with the key in looks like a different type than the others btw.. think repairs are still possible to last another 5to 8 years but..! A lot will depend on how your slates will hold when you pull the bottoms out to replace the gutters.. which are definately urgent! Ig u leave it like this u'll get very costly wood damage.. expect the worst if they start pulling gutters out and hopefully it ain't that bad after all..

cheers from belgium (where they repair gutters in a different way - big smile :-) )
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

slateworks
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 05:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi,After viewing your picture I have the same slate on my roof that I am in the process of replacing with Salvaged Slate, If you would like some names of Slate Roofing Co.'s in the Pittsburgh area give me a call at 724-316-7702,I do not think any are listed on Joe's website,I should list myself but I have chosen to do Sub work(slate,tile & copper roofing) on a regular basis for a while and have no time for other work,if things change I will do so. Good Luck, Ron
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

admin
Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 07:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is a list of contractors at http://www.slateroofcentral.com/directory.html.

Some are in the Pittsburgh area, and a few ar ein western PA. You can look at their profiles and see what their work range is.

You shouldn't have to resheath the roof. But I would check the deed, or do some research to see if the building was constructed in 1926 or 1927. If it was, then the slate was a poor variety.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ben s
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 10:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Robin,

Thanks for the message... however, I hope that most gutters and roofs in the states have been repaired the way this one has. What a nightmare!

As for the box gutters themselves, they didn't appear to be overflowing or causing other issues at the time of inspection - during medium rain. I would have loved to have been there last night to see how they held up in the heavy rain. Regardless, they will be re-lined and repaired when the roofing work is done.

I think that your Belgium gutters are probably repaired more professionally just because everyone is happier there, due to the abundance of good beer! =)
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ben s
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 10:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ron,

Thanks for the offer of recommending some slate roofers to me. I'll be in contact with you sometime today!

Joe,

Thanks for providing the directory, certainly another good list of names to start from. I've already started contacting people!

As for the age of the house, I am fairly certain that it is 1927-1928. Our home inspector went through the place noting everything, from the original wiring, to the archetecture, structural brick type and fixtures, to the style of the hardwood flooring... just everything. At the end, he guessed 1931. It may sound funny, but the actual date can be (reliably) determined by looking on the inside of the original toilet. The toilet had an original manufacture date of Oct 1926. Also, this was certianly the original fixture, due to attachement to the concrete floor (2nd floor). Since he studies old homes for a living, and I agree with the evidence he showed me, I trust his judgement. I guess I just shared that snippet for fun... for the interest of dating houses. But, I digress, this forum is about slate roofing!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Walter Musson
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 12:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Have you used this inspection report to try and re-negotiate the asking price on your prospective home?
If you have estimates that document the needed roof replacement and gutter re-linings that total many thousands of dollars,then you may get some movement on the sellers part.
Unless the next potential buyer doesn't get an inspection,then these issues will surface again.
I'm sure you and your Broker have probably gone over this issue,but I thiught it should still be mentioned.
As for the roof and gutter issues,Yes you can probably limp along for a while,but major inside work should be held off until your roof is redone.
Have you decided on what slate to spec for your new quotes to use?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ben s
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 02:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Walter,

That's one of the reasons that my wife and I are scrambling to find a good slate roofer now... we want to have an estimate so that we can see what the seller will do. This is an estate sale, so the person selling the place was uninformed about the condition of the roof (as was I when I made the offer), and I hope that they will respect the estimate and lower the price accordingly.

I haven't yet decided what kind of slate to re-do the roof with, but I am sure that will come in with the offer. The place was originally built with PA Black, so I think that I'd probably put on the same thing, but the thought of something longer-lasting (but more expensive) is tempting, especially if "matches" the original style of the house. However, addional expense on a probably very expensive project is not very tempting. I guess I'll see how the quotes pan out.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Walter Musson
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 02:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm just finishing a 60 sq. job using North Country Black,and it's really good product.
Very little breakage upon arrival,cuts and punches well,nice color.It's very similar to the old Monson slate which came from here in Maine.
Good luck finding a good slater to do your install.
How many lineal feet of box gutter do you have on the house?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

ben s
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 02:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'll have to check about that North County Black. How does it compare price-wise?

The total drip edge length of the roof is 55', There are 5 total downspouts, and I'm estimating about 63' total of box gutter from the pics and measurements that I do have. I haven't had the chance to make exact measurements, but I think that my guess is pretty well in the ballpark. Hopefully this won't add tremendously to the price.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Walter Musson
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 02:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For 10"x 16" standard texture 1/4" delivered to Bangor ,Me. I paid $430 per square.
Call and ask for Clay 1 888 NESLATE.
This stock will outlast the Pa. black you're considering by twofold.
Clay also sells salvage slate,so that might be another way to go.
Salvage Me. slate will outlast new Pa. slate,and perhaps be cost effective .
Steve Taran also deals in used material.Give him a call to see what he has too.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Anonymous
Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 03:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ben S-Consider Pa. 'Cathedral Grey', an S1 dark grey slate, probably a close match to your origional slate, but much higher in quality. It is quarried by Williams and Sons Slate, listed on this website. Of course Vermont slate, if you shop around, can be a very good buy. Your shipping will be more reasonable if you go with the Pa. slate. Good luck with the house!
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

admin
Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 11:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You might also consider Franvisa Spanish Black slate, also sold by Williams at a competitive price (similar in price to PA black).
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

robin
Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 01:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

^post a new picture when the work is done fine and I will send u a belgian beer, ok? (not before the work is done, only belgians can work on belgian beer.

GOOD LUCK ON THE ROOFWORKS

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | User List | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration