Understanding Slate Roof Repair Maintenance and Replacement

When is it Necessary to Replace a Slate Roof Instead of Repairing it?


slate roof optionsSlate is one of the most elegant roofing materials on the market. When aging slate roofs begin to fail, homeowners are faced with the dilemma of either replacing an expensive slate roof or continuing to repair it. How old does a slate roof really have to be, to be considered “old”? A 50 year old slate roof in most cases still has another 50 to go before it reaches “old” age for slate roofing material. Most homeowners would rather do inexpensive repairs than a very expensive slate roof replacement. Making recommendations can be a slippery slope for a roof contractor. The costs of replacing a slate roof is very expensive.

Premier Roofing has been installing custom slate projects for nearly 35 years. There are literally thousands of different slate roof designs and styles. Contact us for a free estimate for repair or replacement of slate roofing.


Slate Roofing Projects are Custom and Costly


Replacing a slate roof can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Though slate roofs can last a very long time, most slate roofs after 10 years will require some form of annual maintenance. The most common repairs is securing loose slate tiles and sealing flashing around chimneys and roof joints. One of our most common service calls is repairing leaks around chimneys. Premier Roofing specializes in slate roof contracting and we offer slate repair and replacement. As slate roofs age more repairs will need to be done. Most commonly, slate tiles will come loose from the roof. The most common repair is replacing loose slate tiles. At a certain point repairs will get out of control and it will make more sense to replace the roof with slate. There are also many alternatives to slate roofs worth considering. But none of the slate alternatives are as beautiful as natural stone. 


What is the Average Cost of a Slate Roof? 


The highest quality slate roofing materials can cost upward of four to five times the cost of a traditional 3-tab asphalt shingle roof. The actual cost will solely depend on the size, the complexity of the roof, the style/color of slate, and how steep and difficult your roof is to work on. A slate roof will easily last a 100 years or more if properly installed.  And more than 4 times the life expectancy of asphalt shingle roofing and 2-3 times the life of most other roofing materials. 

Advantages of Slate Roofing? 


First and foremost, homeowners are automatically attracted to slate due to its beauty and simplicity. There is no other roofing material out on the market that offers a classier, more commemorate appearance. Additionally, slate roofing tiles offer more choices than you as a homeowner realizes. Slate is available in varying sizes and thicknesses, as well as a wide range of colors to choose from that will best suit your needs and your home. If you’re in the market for a superior durable roofing system that will in turn give you a touch of timeless beauty to your home, then you want to consider a natural slate roof. When it comes to asking how long will slate roofs last and talking about different types of roofs, very few materials can compete. 

Different Types and Styles of Slate Roofing Tiles?


  • standard slate roofStandard (uniform) slate The most common slate installation consists of pieces of uniformly-cut slate. The slate is arranged like asphalt shingles, which enables easier repairs. 
  • Patterned slate – Slates of different shapes and colors can be presented into the standard slate installation method, which can be used to create different patterns that can be noticed from a curbside view.


multicolor slate roofMulticolored ( blended ) slate – Slate is naturally produced in many colors. Various slate colors combined onto a roof adds character to an otherwise static-looking roof.

Textural slate – Uses rough-textured slate varying in thickness and size, ensuing in a rough appearance.



What Constitutes a High Quality Slate Roof Installation?


  1. Check the angle / pitch of your roof, depending on how steep or shallow your roof is; this will dictate how much overlap or head lap is required on your slates.  
  2. Make sure that the wood underneath is cleared of old nails and splinters that may damage the integrity of the roof.
  3. Roll out the chosen underlayment which will add another layer of protection from severe weather from your home.
  4. Secure the underlayment with preferably copper or galvanized nails firmly into position but not too hard that the underlayment is damaged or ripped. 
  5. Mark reference points are level while laying the slate tiles. 
  6. One of the most important things with slate tiles is to use copper nails when installing. This is because standard metal nails will rust and fall apart after 40-50 years and the slate ties will start to loosen up and fall off the roof one by one. In fact, our number one service call with slate roofs is re-securing the tiles where the roof was not done with copper nails.  
  7. When securing the slate, make sure the nails do not penetrate through and out the other side and puncture the underlayment which will cause water to seep into your attic space.  
  8. Install proper drip edge and ensure that all roofing penetrations are properly flashed and sealed. Drip edges should be installed to prevent water from being blown up under your slate tiles. 


How to Choose the Right Slate Roofing Specialist?


The installation process of installing a slate roof is a difficult and complex process that involves a lot of skill and should not be done by a normal roofer. Premier has experienced roofing crews for all types of roofs, including slate. Installing slate is unlike installing any other roofing material when comparing the types of nails used or the process in which you install the underlayment.  Everything has to be handled carefully and secured properly to ensure that none of the tiles are damaged in a way that would compromise your roof if inclement weather passes through your area.