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Sacramento Roofing: Article About Preserving The Slate On Historical Roofs

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Many historical homes are graced with a slate roof, a roofing material that has long been popular because of its aesthetic appeal and its incredible longevity. For homeowners lucky enough to have purchased a home with an existing slate tile roof, they'll find that with some maintenance and careful repairs, their roof will last for many more years. If they're inexperienced in the care of a slate roof, they should work closely with a Sacramento roofing company to ensure the best care for their home.

Slate roofs were at the peak of popularity from the 1880s to the 1920s, so existing roofs are quite old. With the average lifespan being 60 to 100 years, most of these roofs are ending their lifespan. How long a slate roof lasts depends on how the tiles are affixed to the roof, how steep the roof is, the quality of the slate and how well the flashing was done when the roof was originally installed.

Some roofs are still in very good shape and simply need individual tiles replaced versus replacing the entire roof. When the tile is tapped with a finger, it should resound with a crisp sound. If it sounds dull, the tile needs to be replaced. Homeowners should also check their gutters for flakes of slate. As the slate deteriorates, it will flake when it's rained on.

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If less than 20 percent of the slate is damaged or worn out, then just the damaged tiles can be replaced. New tiles can be affixed with a simple nail and a piece of copper flashing over the top. They can also be installed with copper straps hooked under the edge of the tile. Copper or lead based metal should be the only metals used in the flashing as different types of metal will create a damaging galvanic action.

If more than 20 percent of the roof is damaged, then the entire roof should be replaced. When the entire roof needs to be replaced, this allows homeowners to choose the color and texture of their new tiles. To maintain the character of the home, however, the slate chosen should have been mined from the United States to closely resemble the original tiles. When the home was constructed, the tiles were made from local slate, not imported slate.

A slate roof is a very important piece of character for a historical home. Removing a slate roof and replacing it with asphalt shingles will detract from the historical quality of the home. With a good installation and the right maintenance, a new slate roof will save the home's integrity for another 50 to 100 years.

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