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Denver Roofing: Article About The Importance Of Slate Roof Inspections

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Slate used to be a very common roofing material in the 19th and 20th centuries. Highly coveted for its durability and upscale appearance, original slate roofs are still featured on many historic homes. When slate is well cared for, it will far outlast the lifespan of most other roofing types. Homeowners who have recently purchased a historic home with its slate still intact should learn how to thoroughly inspect the roof or find a trusted Denver roofing company to do an inspection instead.

Slate roofs need regular inspections to ensure they're functioning properly. When a slate roof fails, it's often due to poor drainage. If debris, like leaves or branches, begins to accumulate on the roof, water will pool on the tiles or in the gutters and create leaks. During the inspection, homeowners should always remove any debris that has gathered on the roof or gutters so rain and snow can drain properly. Once the debris is removed and the actual tiles are visible, each piece of slate should be carefully examined. Cracked, broken, or delaminated tiles need to be replaced or repaired sooner rather than later, so homeowners should record the tiles' location and condition.

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Tapping on a tile with a finger will provide insight into the tile's actual condition; if it resounds with a dull thud, it means it's reached the end of its life.

The flashing also needs a thorough inspection. Regardless of the rest of the roof's condition, if the flashing is bad, the entire roofing system is going to be inefficient. A lot of people incorrectly believe that the rest of the roof doesn't need any attention, because slate lasts for hundreds of years. Flashing certainly does not last for centuries and needs regular maintenance and replacement. Homeowners should look for missing fasteners or deformed flashing during their inspections.

Inspecting the substrate and roof deck will ensure that the materials underneath the tiles are sound. The rafters in the attic should be checked for moisture damage or exposure. To test the substrate, probes can be used on areas where the tiles are removed to expose the substrate and look for wood rot. Fasteners can deteriorate quickly, too, especially nails. Historic slate roofs typically have copper or steel nails, and while these can last for a long time, some nails are struck with nail disease which leads to slipped or broken tiles.

Like any other major aspect of a home, regular roof inspections are the best way to prevent major problems. Since slate roofs are a major architectural feature of historic homes, prolonging its life protects the building's historical integrity.

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