High winds again in Melbourne last week. Went to visit a friend who has a really nice old Victorian home with an original slate roof. Not sure why but I have this habit of casually looking up at slate roofs when I’m driving and walking around. Pulled up out the front of his next door neighbors house and as usual quickly glanced up at the side of his roof facing the neighbor. I don’t even know I’m doing it……gotta be just habit from doing inspections professionally for over 30 years. I spotted something high up near the ridge, out the corner of my eye. It was hard to see through the gaps in some tree branches but something wasn’t right. I went into next doors driveway where I could get a good look and sure enough there was a slate missing. I informed my friend of the hole in his roof and he couldn’t believe it. As I explained to him the nails on this roof are about 120 years old and does he think they last forever ? If a little bit of wind wiggles the slate at all, the nails break and down slides the slate. We’re not sure when this slate slipped out but it must have been recently because, luckily for him, there doesn’t seem to be any water damage on his restored decorative Victorian ceiling. A quick repair and all is well again.
If you’ve read any of the previous posts you may recognize that the square tailed slates on this roof are just about at the end of their useful life. The squint shaped slates are “Westmoreland greens ” and are probably good for another 120 years. This home is having an extension added soon and I think the plan now is to re-slate the entire home with good quality salvaged slates.
If you’ve got an old slate roof on your home, it’s definitely a good idea to take a look up at the roof now and again to see see if any slates have slipped out. It’s real easy to just forget about the roof until one day when it rains…… and then you’ll know all about it.