While repairing a slate roof is somewhat straightforward, it can be a delicate task. For instance, one of the most difficult tasks many homeowners face when repairing their slate roofs is finding slate that matches their current roof. Slate is a natural material and it is quarried in a variety of sizes, colors, shapes, and thicknesses. While you can easily purchase freshly quarried slate to install a completely new roof, it can be a bit more difficult to find a few slate shingles that match your current roof. Below are some tips to consider when you are trying to match your slate roof.
Matching the Shape, Size, and Thickness is More Important Than Matching Color
If a new slate shingle is the wrong shape, size, or thickness for the slot it needs to fit in, it will be more likely to leak or to slip out over time. Although you may want your roof to have a consistent color, your primary objective should be to find a shingle that fits rather than one that matches the current tone of your roof. You should keep in mind that over time, slate may change color while it weathers. Even if you purchase an exact match, unless it is unfading slate, it may not match your roof when it changes color.
Considered Salvaged Slate as Well as New Slate
There are two main venues for you to purchase slate. New slate comes from active quarries and is usually sold in what is called a square. A square is the amount of slate material needed to cover 100 square feet of a roof. If you are only repairing a few damaged shingles, you will likely need much less than a square of slate. For this reason, you should consider salvaged slate. Salvaged slate is slate that has been torn off of other roofs, and many roofing contractors have their own supply of salvaged slate or know a reputable salvage dealer.
You should keep in mind that most slate is a highly durable material. Salvaged slate shingles are likely to be just as strong and long-lasting as new slate shingles. The exception is if your roof is what is known as soft slate. If your roof is soft slate, you should purchase new shingles rather than salvaged shingles, as soft slate does not have the same lifespan as hard slate.
If an Appropriate Match Cannot Be Found, Consider Re-slating the Entire Section of Roof
If you cannot find a good match and your roofing contractor is unable to cut salvaged shingles to match your roof, then you may have to replace an entire section of your roof. If the damaged shingles are on a small section of roof, this may be easier than trying to match the slate. However, if the damaged slate is on a large section of roof, you should discuss with your contractor the possibility of replacing the smallest section possible by fading new slate into your old roof.
Purchase Extra Slates When You Find a Good Match
If you find slate in the right color, shape and thickness for your roof, consider buying a few extra shingles and storing them in your home. This way, you will have the correct shingles the next time you have a damaged shingle, and you will not have to source new shingles again.
Work With an Experienced Slate Roofer for the Best Matches
You will be most likely to get an appropriate match for your roof if you work with an experienced slate roof repair professional. They will take proper measurements to assess your needs and work with their professional contacts to get you the appropriate materials for your roof.