Slate roofs have been around for centuries. Created from the slabs cut from quarried stone, slate tiles provide an old world look that is reminiscent of cobblestone streets and stately castles. Slate made its first recorded appearance around 1,300 A.D. in North Wales, England. From there, it made its way around the world as a durable and aesthetically pleasing building material, but it was expensive to manufacture and transport, so it wasn’t until the 1800s that the average homeowner was able to afford a slate roof.
In the U.S., slate is primarily mined in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia and is used in various types of building projects. Not only is slate beautiful, but it also offers natural color variations depending on the mineral composition of each individual piece. Slate that contains high quantities of hematite will look like it has purple highlights, while others with chlorite will have a green tint. High amounts of carbon will lend a black or gray tone.
With proper maintenance and care, slate roofing can last between 50 and 90 years for soft slate, and 75-100 years for hard slate. That’s why some buildings still boast their original slate roofs years after they were built. Unfortunately, if the slate isn’t cared for properly, wasn’t installed correctly, or is of low quality to start with, it can become brittle and chip and flake from the roof, or it can break when walked on during other repairs.
So, when does a slate roof need replacing?
Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your Slate Roof
If you begin to notice that shingles are missing from your roof, it may be nearing the end of its lifespan. A broken shingle here or there isn’t necessarily a huge call for concern, but if you notice that the amount of missing or broken shingles is closer to 20% or 30%, it’s time to call an experienced roofer to come and inspect the roof.
If a slate roof tile absorbs moisture, it can change color, not only affecting the aesthetic appeal of the home, but it may also alert you to larger leak problems in the attic or upper floor.
Slate shingles can break for a variety of reasons, but the main ones are hail damage and damage from other impacts like a baseball or tree branches. A broken shingle compromises its ability to shed water and increases the likelihood that it will absorb moisture and lead to even more issues. Broken shingles also include those that are flaking or break easily to the touch.
Moss Or Other Organic Growth
Moss or other organic growth doesn’t mean you need to rip off your slate tiles and start over, it is an indication that the roof should be cleaned and inspected. Organic growth can break down the tiles and cause damage more easily.
It’s never a good feeling to look at the ceiling only to see a water spot or, worse, hear the steady drip, drip, drip of a leaky roof. That is a huge sign that it’s time to look into replacing your slate roof.
Replace Natural Slate With Synthetic Slate Roofing
One of the major disadvantages of a slate roof is that it can crack under pressure when someone walks on it. This makes it difficult to perform maintenance and repairs. If a significant amount of shingles need to be replaced, it may be in your best interest to replace, rather than repair the roof.
You likely won’t want to replace a slate roof with another one given the difficulties of installation and repairs. Luckily, there is an alternative that will allow you to capture the beauty of natural slate without the downsides.
Brava Old World Slate gives you the look and feel of natural slate tiles but at a fraction of the weight. Our synthetic tiles are easy to install and can withstand the weight of someone walking on the roof as well as the impact from hail or a fallen tree branch.
Plus, we’re the only composite shingles that offer multiple color choices for a fully customized look.
Contact the experts at Brava today to discuss options for replacing your slate roof with synthetic slate tiles.