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Styles of
Slate Roof Installations

There is more information about installing slate roofs in
The Slate Roof Bible, 3rd Edition, by Joseph Jenkins.

The Slate Roof Bible, 3rd Edition, by Joseph Jenkins.


Standard Pattern Style

Common in USA. All slates in field of roof are same length and width. For more information about the fundamentals of slate roof installation styles read this article.


Random Width Style

Slates are same length, but vary in width.


Staggered Butt Style

Slates may vary in length, or be laid on the roof to appear varied in length. In either case, the bottom exposed edge is staggered. The degree of stagger can vary from roof to roof. The photo above shows a 1 inch stagger on two Vermont sea green roofs about 80 years old.

The photo below shows a staggered butt roof with 3 lengths of slates (16 inch, 18 inch and 20 inch).

The roof above is made of random width, mixed color, new and salvaged slates in a staggered butt style. The slates include Vermont unfading purple, Vermont mottled green and purple, Vermont sea green (new and salvaged), Vermont unfading green, Virginia Buckingham (salvaged), and New York red (salvaged). Lengths range from 16 inches to 20 inches and widths range from 8 inches to 14 inches.

The photo below shows a staggered butt roof with 3 lengths (16", 18" and 20") with 4 colors of new slate: VT sea green (3/8 of roof surface), VT unfading purple (1/4), VT black (1/4), and VT unfading green (1/8), using 6 widths (7", 8", 9", 10", 11" and 12"). This slate was donated to the Natural Building Colloquium East (2005) by Camara Slate Company.

The photo below shows a staggered butt slate roof with all the slates rounded by hand prior to installation. Lengths are 18 inch, 20 inch and 22 inch with a mix of widths including 9 inch, 10 inch, 11 inch, 12 inch and 14 inch. The slates are about 50% new and 50% salvaged. Colors include VT unfading purple (new), VT unfading green (new), VT sea green (new and salvaged). Half of the roof is a mix of salvaged VT sea green slates. The remainder are new slates.

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - staggered butt slate roof

The photo below shows a staggered butt style slate roof, with 3/8 Vermont unfading green slate. 3/8 Vermont "sea green" (semi-weathering green), 1/8 Vermont purple and 1/8 Vermont black, in three lengths (14 inch, 16 inch and 18 inch) and seven widths (7 inch, 8 inch, 9 inch, 10 inch, 11 inch, 12 inch and 14inch). The slate was attached with 1.5 inch copper slating nails. The ridge will be finished in a saddle slate ridge using 8 inch by 16 inch Vermont green slates and 20 ounce copper step flashings. The slates were donated for this demonstration roof installed at the Ohio University East Campus for the International Preservation Trades Workshop, 2005, by Camara Slate Company.

 

 

Other staggered butt slate roofs (above and below) using Vermont slates with multi-colors.

 

More about staggered butt slate roofs.

Quaint Cottage Style Slate Roofs


Ragged Butt Style

Same principle as staggered butt, but the exposed edge is cut into random shapes or angles. Roof above is made from a mix of recycled slates.

More about ragged butt roofs.

Quaint Cottage Style Slate Roofs


Textural Style

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - Textural style slating

Above is a random width slate roof (PA black slates). The textural effect is created by periodically inserting two slates on top of each other where one slate would normally be. The lower slate in the pair is dropped down a couple inches and the slate on top is raised up a little. This provides thickness texture to the roof as well as staggers the exposed butt creating a unique and tasteful architectural style.

Above is another textured PA black slate roof installed in a very unique style. Longer slates are used in diagonal rows with thicker slates used nearer the bottom of the roof. The same roof also utilizes thicker slates at random to enhance the textured look (below).

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - textured slate roof

 


Graduated Style

Traditional style of slating probably originating in the UK, Wales or Scotland. The slates vary in both length and width. Typically, the slates also diminish in thickness as they approach the top of the roof. The roof above includes a mix of Vermont slates. More about graduated slate roofs.


Mixed Color Patterns

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - mixed color slating style

The unique roof above mixes VT unfading green, sea green and purple slates with NY red. Note the unusual ragged butt style.

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - mixed color slating style

Another mix of VT sea green and purple slates with NY red (above).


Mixed Shapes Slating Style

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - mixed shapes slating style

It is common to mix slates of the same length and width, but of different shapes. Above is a common style, installed with recycled Vermont "sea green" slates; below is a less common style, but quite dramatic nonetheless.

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - slate pattern


Patterns

One of the unique characteristics of slate roofs is that slates can be used of different colors to create unique patterns, thereby creating landmark roofs.

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - pattern slating style

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - pattern slating style

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - pattern slating style

Slate Roof Central - Styles of Slate Roof Installations - pattern style slate roof

The above set of roofs were installed by Brent Ulisky and Orion Jenkins, formerly of Joseph Jenkins, Inc. The pattern was determined by the homeowners from a blank schematic supplied to them by the contractor. The slate is VT unfading green and VT unfading purple attached to rough-sawn hemlock roof decking with copper nails. All flashings are 20 ounce copper. The ridges are saddle ridges of VT purple slate with 20 ounce copper step flashings.


Inscriptions


European Slating Styles:

Traditional German (below):

Traditional Spanish (below):


Installing Slate Hips and Ridges

(Read a Ridge Article in Traditional Roofing Magazine)

Quaint Cottage Style Slate Roofs

Slate Starter Courses - The Five Most Common Installation Mistakes

Installing Copper Snow Aprons

Why Slate Roofs Don't Need Self-Adhesive Underlayment

Slating Conical Roofs

Can I Install My Own Slate Roof?

Graduated Slate Roofs [Article 1], [ Article 2], [ Article 3]

How the Holes in Roof Slate Can Affect the Installation

Installing Slate Roofs and Avoiding Common Mistakes [Word download] [PDF]

Sample Slate Roof Installation Contract [Download It]

Top 10 Mistakes made When Installing a Slate Roof

Avoid These 21 Contractor Errors on Slate Roofs

Some Things to Think About When Installing Slate Roofs

Basic "How to Repair a Slate Roof" Instructions


We Sell Roof Jacks_[Using Roof Jacks]

We Sell Roof Jacks


Basic Slate Roofing Tool Sets

Basic Slate Roofing Tool Sets


There is more information about installing slate roofs in the Slate Roof Bible, 3rd Edition, by Joseph Jenkins.

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We are located in northwestern Pennsylvania, USA.

Joseph Jenkins Inc. is located in northwestern Pennsylvania, USA.

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Slate Roof Bible,
3rd Edition

hardcover, by Joseph C. Jenkins, June 2016, 374 pages, nearly 800 illustrations. Also available as an Ebook!

Slate Roof Bible, 3rd edition


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