Slate used in the construction of a roof is considered one of the most attractive, durable, waterproof, natural and finest materials available. When installed correctly, it can last as long as one or two centuries. Although it is rather expensive, the price can be recouped by its quality, aesthetic value and lifespan.
Even though slate is very beautiful and durable, there are several things to avoid of which most owners are unaware and could help to prevent any problems. Having a little bit of knowledge and being properly informed about this particular product will prevent multiple problems from occurring in the future.
Following are a few things that should be done to avoid installation problems with slate covering.
- Research – There are several factors to know prior to the installation process. These items include: head and side laps; drip edges; cant strips; and straps on transition flashing and ridges as well as some common mistakes and errors that can occur during the installation process. This is all basic information to research and understand.
- Type – When choosing slate, it is essential to consider the size, quality, type and thickness in addition to the color and price. There are various kinds of slate; some are softer than others, have a shorter lifespan, and cannot be restored or saved while others are too thick and difficult to cut. There are other manufacturing processes offering poor quality control and smaller pieces of slate are harder to install.
- Underlayment -This component is only part of the process to make the entire roofing system water tight. Reliance upon underlayment to prevent water penetration is incorrect and can mean an improper installation as it is only a temporary solution to some other problem since slate should last for a century. Underlayment is only used to prevent water damage while laying the materials and setting up the flashing.
- Head and Side Laps – When installing slate tiles, it is recommended that head laps and side laps be used as long as they are accurately anchored. Measurements must be precisely calculated because any inaccuracy could have a negative effect on the performance of the entire roofing structure.
- Material Avoidance – Avoid walking on slate during the installation process. Contractors should take appropriate measures to avoid stepping on this material while working. It must be properly staged; if crossing the material is unavoidable, roof jacks and planks should be used to avoid cracking the slate.
- Flashing – Avoid using cheap flashing on such beautiful material. Apply flashing that comes highly recommended for this type of roof such as copper, stainless steel, and heavy aluminum. Flashing should be correctly installed on ridges, gutters, valleys and chimneys.
- Nails and Tools – Gather all the necessary tools prior to beginning the project. Avoid using nail guns, saws, and grinders, using instead a proper slate cutter and hammer as well as nails that are suited for this application. Copper, stainless steel and hot-dipped galvanized nails work the best and will last longer than electro-galvanized nails.
The fundamental principle to remember is to rely on expert roofing contractors who specialize in the installation of slate. Many contractors do not really know much about this beautiful material and can cause many problems in the long run. Conducting adequate research ahead of time can ensure that any problems related to installation of this material can be avoided and the end result will be a beautiful, attractive, cost-effective, durable, functional, and long-lasting roof!