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Syracuse Roofing: Article About Causes Of Slate Roof Failure

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Slate roofs stand as one of the longest lasting roof choices. Most slate roofs are expected to last at least 50 years, and it is common for them to last 100 years or longer as some of the oldest slate roofs in Europe are almost 400 years old. Despite their incredible longevity, slate roofs can fail. Understanding the common reasons for slate roof failure is important. A Syracuse roofing contractor can help a homeowner better understand slate roof failures and provide the quality installation and maintenance needed.

All true slate shingles are made of naturally occurring stone that is quarried and cut into shingles. This means that not all slate is identical. Slate from different quarries in different geographical locations will have different lifespans, colors and other properties. The choice of material is thus crucial in determining longevity. Since the long lifespan of slate is one of its most attractive features, it is worthwhile to not skimp or take the cheap route when choosing materials.

A quality contractor familiar with slate will also ensure that the same quality of slate is used for the entire roof. Mixed slate roofs are sometimes installed to cut costs or provide a certain appearance.

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Since different types of slate look different, attempts to create a certain visual pattern or style in the roof may tempt the contractor to mix materials. This should be avoided. When inferior slate is mixed with superior, long lasting slate, the lifespan of the inferior slate determines the lifespan of the entire roof and robs the superior material of its value.

An improper choice of roof deck is another common reason for failure. Contractors unfamiliar with the particulars of slate may use many of the same methods that are used with asphalt roofs. Asphalt roofs traditionally use a laminated wood product such as plywood for the roof deck. Laminated woods are less expensive and are designed to have a lifespan similar to that of asphalt roofing material. This means they will have nowhere near the longevity of a properly constructed slate roof. The woods will begin to come apart and fail long before the slate, but failure of the roof deck means the roof must be completely torn off and replaced. A proper roof deck for slate consists of sawn lumber boards with a felt underlayment. Kiln dried lumber or tongue in groove lumber is common and will match the longevity of the slate roof. When a slate roof is properly installed with materials that are designed to last, it will achieve its optimal lifespan.

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