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Davis Roofing: Article About Slate Roofing

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Slate roofing is expensive but gives a classic and elegant look to a structure. It can last between 50 and 100 years. Slate roofing requires a different skill set and also different tools than other types of roofing, so it's best to have an experienced Davis roofing contractor install it. Slate is stone, which is mined from a quarry and then cut to size.

Slate is heavy. Therefore, the decking of the roof must be sturdy enough to hold it. It is best to use solid wood decking, as opposed to plywood, that is at least 3/4 inch thick. Putting slate over an existing roof of composition shingles is not a good idea, but it can be done if the slope of the roof is at least 4 in 12 inches, an engineer has confirmed that doing so is safe and local codes allow it.

Slate comes is many colors, some of which will fade more quickly than others. Some types of slate can stain the decking of the roof. Slate comes in many different thicknesses and grades. In general, the thicker the slate the harder it is to cut. In most cases, the smaller the slate tiles are the longer it takes to roof the structure.

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In recent years, a number of synthetic slate materials have become available that look almost identical to slate and have much of its longevity but are cheaper. Synthetic slate is lighter and easier to work with than actual slate.

Three special tools are used when working with slate. The first is a slate hammer that has an edge that can cut slate and a point for poking holes. The second is a nail ripper that is used to rip off nails at the surface once driven. The final tool is a T bar that helps trim the edges of the slate.

There are a number of issues to be aware of regarding materials. Felt underlayment must be used beneath the slate. The best type to use is 30 pound roofing felt. Copper flashing is generally used with slate since it looks great next to it and because it lasts a long time. Solid copper or zinc coated nails must be used since they have the strength to penetrate the slate.

There are also a number of issues to be aware of related to installation. Slate shingles must have a headlap of at least 3 inches, but this varies by the slope of roof. Too little headlap is a sign that the tiles were not installed by a contractor experienced with slate. It is important to use the correct scaffolding when working with slate, roof jacks and planks, since slate can break when stepped on.

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