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Raleigh Roofing: Article About Maintaining Slate Roofs

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As one of the most enduring roofing materials, slate offers significant perks including its aesthetic value and its low maintenance when compared to materials such as asphalt or wood. However, slate still demands attention to ensure its quality. It may last longer than other roofing products, but slate does require some upkeep to prevent the need for total replacement. Even properly maintained slate roofs don't last forever, which means at some point the roof will need to be replaced. There are ways to differentiate between the need for repairs or replacement, and homeowners should know when to call in a Raleigh roofing specialist to evaluate the materials.

More often than not, the problem with slate roofing isn't the slate itself but the complementary roofing materials that support it. Components such as the underlayment, flashing and fasteners all work together underneath the surface of the stone. Flashing usually causes the most problems because it doesn't last as long as the slate. As a weatherproofing measure, flashing needs to be inspected at least annually to make sure it's still doing its job. The most obvious sign of damaged flashing is leaking in the roof or attic, which will be noticeable indoors as well as outside.

The roofing contractors at Otto's Exteriors of Raleigh can assist you with any questions regarding gutters or shingle roofing.

One important feature of slate is that it prevents leaks because it's impervious to water. Over time, however, damaged tiles, deteriorating flashing or insecure fasteners can allow water to seep through. Homeowners can check for damaged tiles by using the "knuckle test." Tapping fallen tiles with one's knuckles should result in a clear sound; if the sound is hollow, the tiles have gone bad. Delamination and powdering also indicate problems with the tiles.

Missing tiles may signal the need for a total replacement, but a few missing tiles here and there isn't always cause for alarm. A good rule of thumb is that up to 20 percent of a roof's tiles can fall or break without the need for replacement. After that, homeowners need to consider a complete overhaul because it's more cost effective to replace significant amounts of slate than it is to repair individual sections.

Most importantly, homeowners need to assess their DIY skill level before attempting to repair portions of their slate roofs. Slate tiles break easily if the wrong weight is applied and can be difficult to replace with an exact match. It's better to hire a professional roofer, particularly one who has significant training and experience repairing slate. The upfront investment of hiring a contractor to do the job will save many consumers countless hours and thousands of dollars in long-term costs.

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