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The Four Cs to Protecting and Preserving Your Slate Roof

No roofing material can compare to the beauty and durability of slate. Slate lends a classic air of elegance to any property, requires minimal maintenance and lasts for up to 100 years, which is why it’s used in many heritage buildings around Sydney and preferred by homeowners looking to add a rustic charm to their contemporary properties.


Nevertheless, while minimal maintenance is needed for slate, keep in mind that even the toughest and most attractive roof material may incur some form of damage and deteriorate over time, especially when not properly installed or taken care of. Thus, to prevent extensive and expensive slate roof repairs, regular inspections and maintenance should be performed.

Here are some handy hints to keep your slate roofs looking good as new for years to come:

Carry out regular inspections

Don’t wait until roof problems become so obvious and pervasive that they become impossible to ignore before you have your roof examined. Schedule at least two inspections a year with an experienced contractor to help identify minor deterioration and maintenance issues before they get worse. An examination can be conducted initially from the ground using binoculars. However, since some defects may only be observed on closer inspection, using a ladder to survey the roof area would be ideal.

Clear debris

Remove branches, leaves and other debris from the roof and its gutters and penetrations, especially before winter sets in. If you fail to do this, ice can form on your roof and cause tiles to crack.

Check for flashing damage

Broken or improperly installed copper, metal or lead roof flashing can cause leaks and serious water damage, as well as compromise the integrity of your slate roof. To prevent any of these from happening, recognising flashing failures from the beginning is essential. Applying compatible sealants to the flashing may help extend its life, but if the existing flashing is already too damaged then you may have to replace it entirely to save your slate roof.

Change or reposition loose or missing slate tiles

Slate tiles may become damaged or loose due to frost or wind, falling objects, and nail deterioration. The latter is especially common for heritage tiles because older slate roofing weren’t secured using copper clouts. Don’t disregard missing or misaligned tiles as not only will they affect your property’s aesthetics; they may also cause serious problems, such as leaks and damage to the roof sheathing. Qualified slate roofing installers should be able to reposition misaligned tiles, as well as locate matching slates if any of the original tiles need replacement.

Longevity, curb appeal and resilience—these are only some of the qualities that make slate a favourable roofing option. But to fully enjoy all of these, caring for your slate roof is a must.