This website is provided by Joseph Jenkins, Inc., The Slate Roof Experts.
To Tell if Your Contractor is a
[Look at photos of "Neanderthal tracks"]
is an unfortunate fact that many of today's historic slate
roofs are being destroyed by roofing contractors. Often,
roof owners must hire incompetent, ill-informed, inexperienced
roofing contractors and pay them good money to have their
roof defaced and abused. One of the most unpleasant tasks
of competent slate roof restoration contractors today is
the removal and replacement of bad repairs, which can amount
to 50% of a competent contractors workload. How can you tell
if the contractor you are considering hiring is a Neanderthal?
Here are some things to consider:
them how they attach replacement slates to the roof. There
are only two generally acceptable methods: a nail in the
slot covered with bib flashing, or a slate hook. The nail
in the slot should be a 1.5" hot-dipped galvanized roofing
nail or a 1.5" copper or stainless steel roofing nail
(not an 8 penny nail) on standard-thickness slate roofs.
This method is illustrated on this website.
Replacement slates should not be face-nailed (nailed through
the exposed face, leaving exposed nail heads - this is only
acceptable in very rare circumstances). Nor should exposed
straps be used to hang slates. The straps are unsightly and
unnecessary and will eventually fail. These techniques are
popular among Neanderthals. Replacement slates should only
very rarely be cemented into place. Furthermore, the contractor
should have replacement slates that match in size, type,
shape and age.
Around on the Roof
who use ropes and walk on the slate roof should be avoided
at all costs. The generally accepted
method for working on slate roofs is via the use of hook
ladders, which hook over the ridge of the roof and allow
the contractor to walk all over the roof without putting
any weight on the roof itself. Aluminum hook ladders do not
need to be padded. If the roof has no ridge (such
as a hip roof), then roof jacks and planks will create a
platform on which to rest a roof ladder. [Note: An experienced
slater who knows what he is doing *can* walk carefully on
a slate roof without damaging it. But this is done only when
needed, not routinely.]
competent slate roofing contractor will have a slate
ripper, slate cutter,
and slate hammer (not to
mention ladders and ladder
cement is not an acceptable material for repairs, except
under very limited conditions. Roof cement (tar) should never
be applied to the exposed face of a slate anywhere on the
roof (a limited exclusion to this rule is made for sealing
chimney flashings as a form of temporary repair). The slots
(narrow spaces between slates where they butt side-by-side)
should NEVER be cemented. If valley metal is cemented, the
slates alongside the valley should NEVER be cemented under
any circumstances. If you see black tar spots on the roof,
or, worse yet, large areas covered with tar, your contractor
is a Neanderthal.
slates should not be walking on them during the installation.
If they are, they're Neanderthals and you will have lots
of slates to replace in a short period of time. Many new
slate roofs today are losing 50-100 slates or more in the
first ten years or so due to slates breaking during
installation by Bigfoot Contracting, Inc., and falling
off later (after the contractor is long gone and won't
return your calls). The best slate roofs are always installed
on solid boards, never on plywood,
particle board, OSB, or any laminated wood material. Standard
installation procedures should always be followed. Felt
paper should NEVER be layed over top of each row of slates,
as some Neanderthals are prone to do. Ice
and water membrane is not necessary on any properly
installed slate roof.
Sample slate roof installation
If you own a slate
roof and want to keep it, get your hands on a copy of the Slate
Roof Bible. If you don't want to spend the $40, get
it through your library or buy the e-book. Read the book. You will know more
about slate roofs than probably any contractor you talk
to after you've finished. The book is available on this
website at our store. Most roofing
contractors today are "production roofers" who
make their money re-roofing with petrochemical products.
They will tell you that a perfectly good slate roof with
many decades of remaining life needs to be replaced with
asphalt shingles - a very inferior roofing product. Don't
here to see some photos of Neanderthal tracks]
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