When it comes to roofing, slate shingles are often billed as 100-year investments, leading many homeowners to believe that once installed, their roofs can continue to perform with little or no maintenance for the next century. This assumption is false. All roofs require regular upkeep. Failure to inspect your roof every year could lead to costly repairs or even costlier replacements down the road.
Perhaps you have already let a year or two go by without proper maintenance. Maybe you have loose, missing, cracked, or broken slate tiles that require immediate attention. Should you repair your roof or replace it?
Which Is Better: Roof Replacement or Roof Repair?
Roof replacement is not cheap, and if your slate shingles still have life in them, it is cheaper to make minor repairs than a full-scale replacement. However, knowing the difference between a roof that needs renewing and one that needs replacing is key.
Roof Replacement Indicator 1
First, determine if any of your slate shingles need replacing. Flaking and powdering are two good indicators, as is the "knuckle test" – tap each slate shingle in multiple areas and listen for any dull thuds. Hollow sounds indicate a slate shingle needs replacement soon.
Roof Replacement Indicator 2
If more than 20 percent of your slate shingles require replacement because they are missing, flaking, or fail the knuckle test, roof replacement may be more economic long-term than individual repairs. The up-front cost for a full replacement may be higher, but if properly maintained your new roof is not likely to need any further repairs for several decades.
Lastly, whenever you replace or repair your roof, always hire an experienced slate worker. You want a dedicated professional with plenty of experience working with slate. Researching your local roofing contractors will save you time and money in the end.