Why is it important to maintain your slate roof?

Your slate roof is one of your home’s standout features and represents a significant investment, as well as massive kerb appeal and a big draw for future buyers. But like all premium property features, a slate roof needs careful maintenance to keep its natural beauty intact and stay in great working order. Here are a few reasons why it’s essential to properly maintain your slate roof.

We’ve been roofers in Edinburgh for over two decades, so we have plenty of advice on keeping your slate roof in top condition. Read on for our tips.

Why is maintaining your slate roof so important?

Slate roofs are loved for their durability compared to tiled roofs. They’ve been known to outlive the homeowners who originally invested in them and can even last for up to 150 years. Proper slate roof maintenance is key to this longevity. Even small faults can lead to bigger problems in the future — and the need for a full roof replacement.

Potential damage

Chipped or scratched slates will not cause leaks. But cracked, broken or missing slates are common and should be repaired immediately. Why? Because even one faulty tile can lead to water getting through. This can cause fundamental damage to your roof and interior and exterior walls. It may also lead to damp issues, resulting in mould or mildew inside the house. You should get these problem slates repaired as quickly as possible and always have a leak inspected as soon as you discover it, particularly during times of bad weather.

Property value

Another reason to keep your slate roof maintained is to retain your property’s value. Slate roofs are widely-desired. And those kept in great condition can attract a high price when it comes to selling your home. Chipped slates, or those with roof water stains, don’t pose any risk to the house itself and aren’t usually worth having repaired on their own unless you are looking to sell soon. However, they are certainly worth fixing if you are already calling out a roof specialist to keep your slate roof looking as good as new.

How to check your slate roof

Firstly, and most importantly, do not be tempted to get up on a ladder and try to inspect your slate roof yourself. It’s not safe to walk on slate roofs if you don’t know how to do it properly, and by doing so you’re risking serious injury and damage not only to your roof but also to your home’s structure.

Another good reason to leave inspections to the professionals is quite simply because they know what they’re looking for. Because slate is a natural material, any flaws needing repair can simply look like natural variations to the untrained eye. This means DIY inspections often lead to potentially serious problems being overlooked.

Slate roofs should be inspected by roof experts twice a year for cracked or broken slates, and also after periods of extreme weather like heavy rain, strong winds or snow, to make sure the resulting damage isn’t extensive and stop any wear and tear from becoming a bigger issue. Good timing for these inspections would be in the autumn, to ensure your slate roof is in the best possible condition to get through the punishing conditions of winter. Then in the spring to check how it held up and repair any damage caused by the cold season.

Remember, it’s not just the tiles on your slate roof that can get damaged. They are kept in place by metal pieces, known as flashings, which need to stay in good condition to protect your tiles. Copper flashings are incredibly durable and known as a lifetime material, so you won’t need to inspect them very often. Some flashings, however, are made from galvanised steel which is more prone to damage. So keep an eye out (from the ground!) for dents, loose areas, holes or cracks, and book an inspection if you spot any.

Between inspections, you should regularly check your slate roof for leaves, moss growth, and other deposits which can stop water from running off the roof as it should. This is also a good opportunity to check your gutter for blockages to keep the whole system running smoothly.

Trust Edinburgh’s best roofers with your slate roof

Looking for the best roofers in Edinburgh? Our Roof Repair Edinburgh team members have more than 20 years of experience with slate roofs behind us. In that time, we’ve built up extensive knowledge and skills in all aspects of installing and maintaining natural and manufactured slate roofs. Whether you need our help maintaining your slate roof or you’re interested in learning about roof replacements, get in touch with us today. We’d be happy to discuss your property’s needs and offer a free, no-obligation quote.