As homeowners we all desire to keep a roof over our heads for as long as we live in our homes. We depend on our roofs to keep Mother Nature off of us and our walls to keep her out. She can put up a fight at times and we have to protect ourselves by maintaining our homes.
Depending on the geographic region we live in we can be subject to a wide variety of storms. In New England we have harsh winters, in the Midwest and Great Plains we are pounded by strong spring winds, hailstorms and tornadoes, in the West relentless heat and so on. What kind of damage can we expect when Mother Nature comes calling?
Storms can wreak absolute havoc on a roof. Strong winds, hail or even heavy rains can adversely affect a roofing system when it is not properly maintained. Slate and tile are extremely tough materials and very long-lasting. Hail can damage these surfaces in several ways. When the hail is large, when the slate has deteriorated or has become soft and thin or due to incorrect installation, the roof can become susceptible to hail damage. It does not take a lot of precision to find hail damage on any roof surface, it is pretty evident, usually it looks simply like a hole in the slate itself. Hail can either break or puncture the slate and can dent metal flashings. Where precision comes into play is in the repair of it. Hail can damage a slate roof but in the majority of cases it can be repaired. Repair in this manner replaces the damaged slates with matching slates. You must match the slates as close to the original as possible. This is to maintain the aesthetic value of the roof. Newer slates do not age the same as the older original slates and this can plainly be seen.
In repairing slates from hail damage the adjoining flashings have to be replaced also. Dented flashings can be a hidden source of leaks that can cause interior damage.
For the most part slate is wind resistant. The slate itself is too heavy and because of the angles of a slate roof it is very difficult for high winds to get underneath it and lift it free. But when it does the damage from heavy winds can result in the slate tiles literally being blown off your home. This can happen when the slate is not installed properly, or the wrong sized nails are used. The majority of wind damage on a slate roof is repairable. Very seldom does an entire slate roof have to be replaced. Replacement occurs more often with asphalt shingle roofs.
Some roofers and insurance companies have a tendency to replace an entire slate roof when it has been damaged. This is not required all the time. An experienced roofer can easily match and replace the broken or damaged slate tiles and restore your roof to its original integrity. They can work with the insurance company to repair only what is needed.
Only work with experienced and professional roofers on any roof, especially slate or tile roofs. A roofer needs special training and skills to know what they are doing to repair slate and tile. Repairing slate and tile roofs is an art that requires skill and craftmanship. Choosing the right roofing contractor is of the utmost importance when restoring, repairing or maintaining your slate or tile roof.