Are you having constant trouble with loose, moving or slipping roof slates on your home ?
We’re often called to homes with leaking slate roofs where the owners say the slates were repaired not long ago. The frustration on their faces is obvious. Many times internal repairs to plaster and paint had been carried out only to be damaged again not long after. To make matters worse, when the homeowners submitted another claim, the insurance companies were sceptical as to whether the repairs had been done properly or if they had been done at all. What has usually happened is that the slates have loosened and slipped out of position right next to where the original repairs were carried out. This usually results in a long process as to whether they will accept another claim so close to the first one. Sometimes they accept that it’s a different spot and sometimes they don’t. After the first one they usually insist that the roof be well maintained before accepting any more damage from leaking roofs.
Firstly… why the slate roof tiles on your home are slipping and moving causing leaks
Each of the slates on your roof are held in position by two slate nails. These nails are located near each side of the slate and an inch or two above the center of it. They can’t be seen on the exposed area of the slate.
As time goes on, these nails begin to corrode and eventually sheer off allowing the slate to slide out of position, exposing the join below causing a leak. Unlike roof tiles, slates don’t have lugs attached to them so when the nails let go there is nothing else to hold them in their position.
How can you tell if the roof slates on your home are secure or loose
It can be difficult to the untrained eye to assess the condition of an ageing slate roof.
One of the first signs obviously is slates consistently slipping out of position. It never stops… every few months or even every few weeks. The problem with just letting the slates slip out before repairing them of course, is that if you miss a couple or are a bit slow, and a storm hits, you’re in for a watery surprise and some costly repairs.
Another way of determining if your slates are loose but not yet slipping, is to look along the bottom edge of the slates. Do the tails all line up, or are there some that sit an inch or two below the others. If the latter, you can be sure that they are loose and are shortly going to begin slipping out.
One more sign that the nails are on their way out – perhaps not as obvious as the other signs – is that the slates don’t sit exactly perpendicular to the spouts and fascias. One may be sitting slightly to the left while the one below sits to the right. A sure sign that one of the two nails has given allowing it to sit either way a little.
What do you do, if you’ve determined that your slate nails are on the way out
First thing you need to do is to determine the condition of the actual slate.
If you’ve determined that the slates have a fair amount of life left in them, it’s a simple – but not really easy – matter to perform what’s known as a strip and re-nail. Every slate on the roof is removed from its position and stacked in piles ready to be relaid with new nails. Beginning at the bottom edge of the roof, the slates are put back in their correct position and held firmly in place by the two new nails. This process is carried out all the way to the top edge. Along the way it’s best practice to replace any of the metal flashings that are installed on the roof amongst or under the slates.
Take a look at the pictures below of a recent slate roof restoration in progress. This one was in Hawthorn but we have done them in all suburbs Melbourne.
For many years Abardeen Roof Slating has been performing this type of slate roof restoration. If you feel we may be able to assist or advise you in any way just contact us. John 0403022137