Slate Roofing 101: A Simple Installation Guide's picture

Planning on renovating your roof any time soon? Slate is a great option for a roofing material, and it offers a number of benefits over other materials commonly used in roofing. A totally natural and environmentally friendly material, slate is also remarkably durable, and can last several decades without requiring replacement.

Of course laying slate roofing will require a bit more care and attention than installing a simpler kind of roof, but the procedure can be learned easily enough. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the slates should overlap one another. The exposed portion of the slate is referred to as the “margin”.

Before you begin, it would be a good idea to put up a type of roof scaffolding to allow easy access and to ensure your safety. Afterwards, you can begin by stripping away the old slates and reinforcing the rafters with softwood. When you are ready to install the slates, make sure you order them with the thicker ones to be placed onto the eaves, and the thinner ones to be placed on the ridge. This will distribute the weight more appropriately.

You will find that working with slate roofing requires considerably more time than working with tiles. You should therefore allot plenty of time to get your roof done before the rest of your remodeling work can be completed.

The next important step is to install roofing grade lumberonto the roof. This should be done before you begin to install the slate. After applying 30-pound roofing felt over the deck, you can begin installing the slate by positioning the first starter slate upside down. The next slate should be placed adjacent to the first, and the two should be positioned flush against each other. You can then proceed with the rest of the project until you cover the entire roof.

Keep in mind that slate should be laid out on battens, and you will have to attach them to the roof with the use of aluminum nails. At this stage, you should be very careful not to over nail the slates in order to avoid costly damage. Also remember to arrange the slates in a “brick bond” pattern, wherein the joints between the individual slates are aligned with the center point of the slates just above and just below each of the slates. Don’t forget to leave approximately 3mm of space between the slates as well.