Many homes use slate for their roofs. Slate is a very durable material that can last a long time if properly maintained. Maintenance is important for two reasons. The first is that it will allow you to determine if there has been any damage to the roof. In addition, it will allow you to repair minor damage before it can grow into a major problem. It's also important to know how long the various components of your slate roof will last so you can plan for any necessary replacements. The following will give you a few tips about maintaining your slate roof (provided by companies such as Majestic Roofing, LLP.).
Maintaining the Slate
Obviously, maintaining your slate roof requires taking care of the slate itself. Over time, you're going to have slipped or broken slates. This is particularly likely if you experience high winds or if there are trees situated close to your home. Replacing individual slates is fairly simple, but make sure you're only replacing the ones that really need it. Slates that have small chips missing from their corners are usually still functional and don't need to be replaced.
Maintaining the Flashings
Another area you have to be concerned about is your roof's flashings. Flashings are the metal surfaces located in the valleys of the roof, on the hips, along the ridge and against the chimney. On slate roofs, they are usually made out of galvanized steel or copper.
Copper Flashings: Copper flashings require virtually no maintenance and will last for many decades. Over time, copper will develop a beautiful patina that starts out as a dark brown and develops into a rich green. When copper changes from green to black, it is finally time to think about replacing it.
Galvanized Flashings: Galvanized flashings last up to 20 years, but will rust if they are not painted. While galvanized flashing is less expensive than copper flashing, all the painting you will have to do over the years may make it no more economical in the long run.
Maintaining the Gutters
Another part of your roof that's important to carefully maintain are your gutters and their associated downspouts. Gutters come in two types, hanging gutters and box gutters. Each of these types has their own particular maintenance requirements. Because they are built into your home's rafter system, from the ground box gutters look like decorative molding around your home. Inside, they are either galvanized or copper.
As with flashings, you will have to repaint galvanized gutters every so often. Both hanging and box gutters have to be regularly inspected to ensure that the solder seams are not leaking and that there are no holes in the surface. Otherwise, you could have water leaking into your home's walls and basement, as well as erosion around the foundation.