Slate Roofs >
Given the relatively high initial cost of installing a new slate roof,
it pays to inspect its overall condition annually and after several
storms. For safety reasons, it is recommended that building owners
and maintenance personnel carry out roof surveys from the ground
using binoculars or from a cherry picker. Cracked, broken, misaligned,
and missing slates and the degree to which delamination has occurred
should be noted, along with failed flashings (pin holes, open seams,
loose and misaligned elements, etc.) and broken or clogged downspouts.
A roof plan or sketch and a camera can aid in recording problems
and discussing them with contractors. In the attic, wood
rafters and sheathing should be checked for water stains and rot.
Critical areas are typically near the roof plate and at the intersection
of roof planes, such as at valleys and hips. Regular maintenance
should include cleaning gutters at least twice during the fall
and once in early spring, and replacing damaged slates promptly.
Every five to seven years inspections should be conducted by professionals
experienced in working with slate and steep slopes. Good record
keeping, in the form of a log book and the systematic filing of
all bills and samples, can help in piecing together a roof's repair
history and is an important part of maintenance.
As part of regular maintenance, an attempt should be made to
keep foot traffic off the roof. If maintenance personnel,
chimney sweeps, painters, or others must walk on the roof, it
is recommended that ladders be hooked over the ridge and that
the workmen walk on the ladders to better distribute their weight.
If slates are to be walked on, it is best to wear soft soled shoes
and to step on the lowermiddle of the exposed portion of the slate