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How Long Does a Slate Roof Last?
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How Long Does a Slate Roof Last?

A roof is one of the hardest-working elements of any home or business. And some of the hardest-working roofs in Virginia are made with slate. As attractive as it is durable, slate roofing is considered one of the longest-lasting roofing materials. But how long can your slate roof be expected to last?

In this post from Just Roofing, we’re covering everything you need to know about the lifespan of your slate roof including advice for making it last longer. To schedule your slate roof repair services, give us a call today.

The History of Slate Roofing

Slate is a type of fine-grain, homogenous metamorphic rock that is derived from sediment made from volcanic ash or clay. Depending on the type of slate and location of the quarry, slate can come in just about any color imaginable including green, red, purple, black, and gray.

Slate has been used to make roofing materials for hundreds of years. Thanks to different slate booms throughout history, slate has also been used in a wide range of infrastructure projects throughout Europe including railroad and waterway systems. Slate is also commonly used in stairs, walkways, wall cladding, and exterior flooring.

These are just a few benefits of slate as a roofing material:

●        It has extremely low water absorption of less than 0.4%.

●        Slate roofs are completely watertight.

●        It is highly resistant to frost damage.

●        It requires less processing than many types of roofing materials.

●        It has a unique natural beauty.

●        It is fire-resistant.

●        It is energy efficient.

●        It is resistant to extreme weather conditions.

●        Slate tiles require little to no maintenance.

Slate roofs have been common in the United Kingdom for hundreds of years and were traditionally manufactured with copper nails. The first slate roof on a private home was located in North Wales and dates back to 1300 A.D. However, slate was a costly option historically and was typically found on military structures and castles.

During the 19th century in Spain, a quarrying process was developed that made it more affordable to install slate tiles on private residences. As much as 90% of the slate roofs found in Europe today were made with Spanish slate.

Slate Roofs in the United States

Although slate roofs first appeared in North America during the 17th century, they would not become widely available until the first quarry opened in the late 18th century. At this point, slate was still more of a high-end product.

However, during the latter half of the 1800s, slate would begin to be quarried on a higher production scale, making it much more widely available. During this period, Welsh immigrants would help make slate one of Vermont’s leading experts. Once the railroad system came along, slate’s popularity would boom.

Slate’s popularity would eventually be eclipsed with the advent of asphalt shingles. However, it still remains one of the most attractive, high-end roofing options for homes and businesses alike.

How Long Does a Slate Roof Last?

We’ve already discovered that slate tiles are one of the most durable, long-lasting roofing materials available. But unlike many other types of roofing materials, the lifespan of a slate roof can vary wildly depending on the quality of workmanship, installation methods used, and where the slate is quarried. Additionally, how well your slate roof is maintained over the years can also play a role in your roof’s lifespan.

Ultimately, a slate roof can last for around 75 years on the low end and as long as 150 years or more on the high end. To find out how long your slate roof can be expected to last, it’s a good idea to connect with a roofing contractor.

Making Your New Slate Roof Last Longer

If you’re planning to install a new slate roof, there are a few things you can do to make sure it lasts longer. First, be sure to work with a residential roofing contractor with plenty of experience working with slate roofs. This will ensure that your roof doesn’t have any workmanship problems that could interfere with its long-term performance.

Additionally, not all roofers have experience working with slate. Interview your contractor first and ask them to share examples of their previous slate roof work.

Next, be sure to have any slate roof damage addressed right away as putting off slate roof repairs can lead to cumulative damage. Depending on the weather conditions your roof gets exposed to, consider having your roof inspected once or twice a year.

Finally, never allow foot traffic on your roof that isn’t specially trained to work with slate roofs. Despite their durability, slate tiles can crack under the weight of a human body.

Schedule Your Virginia Slate Roof Installation or Repairs

Whether you’re thinking of installing a new slate roof for your Virginia home or business or you need to have your slate roof repaired, we’ve got you covered at Just Roofing. With more than four decades in the roofing industry as one of Virginia’s most hard-working roofers, we have plenty of experience working with beautiful slate roofs throughout the region. To connect with one of our knowledgeable slate roofers, give our team a call at 757-310-3873 or contact us online today.

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