If your home has a slate roof and you have recently noticed a few leaks when it rains, you may be wondering what this is going to mean to your bank account. Odds are pretty good that you were not around when the roof was first installed since a slate roof will last anywhere from 60 to 125 years with little maintenance. If the roof was installed recently and it is leaking, there was some mistake made with the installation and your product and labor guarantee will most likely cover any costs to fix the problem. So if the roof is older, here are a few things you should know that will help when you contact a roofer to do any repairs.

Flashing

Luckily, the most common leaks in a slate roof are due to the flashing. This means you are not going to have to have any of the slate replaced. The flashing is the metal pieces around any breaks or openings in the roof, such as a chimney, dormers, or the edges. In most cases, the flashing is going to wear and deteriorate faster than the slate. If the leak is due to old flashing, it is usually a good idea to have all of the metal replaced.  This way you will not have to redo a different section of the roof next year; it will all be done at once. Replacing the flashing is much less expensive than having to replace the whole roof. If you ignore the leaks (if they are not bad enough to be dripping from the ceilings) the water will eventually rot the wood of the roof under the slate and you will have to replace the entire roof and the slate too.

Tiles

You do not have to replace the whole roof because of a leak. You can have only the damaged tiles replaced. However, when you have the roofer up there, have him or her look at all the tiles, and not just the ones where the leak is located. It would be much better to have all the damaged tiles replaced at the same time, so you do not need to worry about a new leak in the near future. In fact, it would be a good idea to have the roof inspected annually, replacing the bad tiles each year. This way, you will not end up needing to have the whole roof replaced at once, costing many thousands of dollars. While eventually you will pay to have the whole roof done, having it done in pieces will be much easier on the bank account.

The important thing is to contact a professional with experience in slate roof repairs. Not all roofers have the experience and they may try to make the repairs with a sealant or by using a different type of roofing. When your home has a slate roof, you should keep it that way to maintain the integrity and feel of the place.

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