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Slate Roofs


JohnC
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Just found out the house I am inspecting tomorrow has a slate roof. I have never inspected this type roof before. I looking for advice of anything I really should be looking for beside the obvious. Also I take you can't walk on this type of roof? I am looking at Daniel Friedmans website about slate roofs -seems like a good place to start.

Thanks in Advance

John C

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John,

That's always a good resource. I have also learned about slate 'peripherals' from this site: http://www.jenkinsslate.com/

Perhaps I shouldn't presume that you have already searched TIJ and found Kibbel's excellent article, "Slate Roofs From Beginning to End" (ALWAYS search the TIJ forums.)

The first thing I would do is confirm that it is real slate and not synthetic. I wouldn't want to pay that price!

Also, the slate's origin is important in determining quality.

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John,

Off the top of my head, I'd say:

Don't walk on the slates.

Cracked, loose, missing, tarred over slates are bad and should be repaired.

Pay close attention to all of the flashings.

Get as close to the slates as you can. If you use a ladder, move it around to make sure you see every possible square inch of the roof. If you use binoculars, then get as much as you can from the ground.

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Originally posted by JohnC

Just found out the house I am inspecting tomorrow has a slate roof. I have never inspected this type roof before. I looking for advice of anything I really should be looking for beside the obvious. Also I take you can't walk on this type of roof? I am looking at Daniel Friedmans website about slate roofs -seems like a good place to start.

Thanks in Advance

John C

http://www.jenkinsslate.com/downloads/SlateRoofs.pdf

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Thanks to all you guys, I feel a little less inept going into this-thanks! This should be a fun house to look. It's right on some rocky cliffs. I was told it has a nasty tight crawlspace so I better bring the right gear. It must be my age but lately halfway into these types of crawls I keep hearing a voice telling me I'm to old for this stuff-but I get over it! I had an interesting call from the client tonight. She say's depending on what I report she may tear it down and for a new house! They are looking to downsize. This small house only has 5 bathrooms, 3300 sg ft and is listing for 1.7 million. I would love to see her house now if this is downsizing. Here is a link if you’re interested in a virtual tour: http://visualtour.com/applets/flashviewer/viewer.asp?t=1052182&sk=30&dm=anneerwin.com

p.s Jim I especially like that link.

John C

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Originally posted by JohnC

Thanks to all you guys, I feel a little less inept going into this-thanks! This should be a fun house to look. It's right on some rocky cliffs. I was told it has a nasty tight crawlspace so I better bring the right gear. It must be my age but lately halfway into these types of crawls I keep hearing a voice telling me I'm to old for this stuff-but I get over it! I had an interesting call from the client tonight. She say's depending on what I report she may tear it down and for a new house! They are looking to downsize. This small house only has 5 bathrooms, 3300 sg ft and is listing for 1.7 million. I would love to see her house now if this is downsizing. Here is a link if you’re interested in a virtual tour: http://visualtour.com/applets/flashviewer/viewer.asp?t=1052182&sk=30&dm=anneerwin.com

p.s Jim I especially like that link.

John C

Tear it down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![:-bigeyes

How do so many people that don't have there heads screwed on straight wind up with so much money? What could they possibly think your going to find in a place like that that would make it worth tearing down? Probably just another rich princess mouthing off to feel important...[:-taped]

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I would probably try to walk the valleys and perch on the chimneys.

I hope the low slope dormers aren't slate.

The house is listed as built in 1900. It has had many alterations/additions. I doubt the roof is original.

I've been to many of the East coast quarries. I might be able to ID it with a picture and accurate color description (Mid-Maine slates can have an incredible service life).

I would add to Jimmy M's list to replace face nailed replacement slates and look very closely at head lap.

P.S. If the house is over 50 years old the underlayment is probably deteriorated and that is what keeps the roof from leaking.

Why is that myth still being perpetuated? I've seen thousands of slate roofs between 5 and 500 years old. 4 had underlayment.

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Roofing With Slate

by Terry A. Smiley

With the right fasteners and flashings, you'll get a roof that can last a hundred years

The integrity of a slate-roof system comes from all of its components-the slate itself, the flashings, the fasteners and the underlayment-acting in concert, and the failure of any component can result in the failure of the whole system and leaks in the living room.

http://www.neslate.com/TASRep/TASReprint.html

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Originally posted by ghentjr

Roofing With Slate

by Terry A. Smiley

With the right fasteners and flashings, you'll get a roof that can last a hundred years

The integrity of a slate-roof system comes from all of its components-the slate itself, the flashings, the fasteners and the underlayment-acting in concert, and the failure of any component can result in the failure of the whole system and leaks in the living room.

http://www.neslate.com/TASRep/TASReprint.html

So a general contractor in Colorado made a similar statement as yours. Did you post this as an authoritive source or an example of someone else perpetuating a myth?

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The number and types of slates and slate roof installation methods makes me leery of any hard & specific statement about them as a whole. I've not seen thousands like Bill, but I've seen hundreds, and they're all different. It's remarkable and amazing that there could be so much difference, but there is.

I've seen 'em without felt that worked wonderfully, and I've seen others that need felt because coverage was minimal/unsatisfactory.

I saw one that was installed on soft stone underlayment, w/no felt whatsoever; the stones were all held in channels welded to an amazing steel roof structure. Anyone else ever seen this?

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Kurt,

No, I've never seen such a thing. I'd like to know more about the structure that supports such weight. This wasn't a residential structure was it? Any pics?

Except for the Habitat houses I build, most of my field experience is commercial construction. That's why I got the BS in Building Science - to go industrial.

I have learned so much about residential inspection from the likes of you, Katen, Mike, Les, Walter and others. Like Les, I feel there is way too much testosterone, but I guess that's the price of admission.

Anyway, tell me more, please.

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