Slate roofing is a highly durable roofing material that can last decades if properly maintained. However, it is not invincible, and years of wear, weather exposure, and general aging can cause your slate roof to begin to break down. A damaged or worn slate roof can cause leaks and water damage within your home, which can be complicated and take a while to fix. Thankfully, there are a couple of things that you can keep an eye out for to help determine when it's time to have your slate roof replaced.
Interior Moisture Damage
If there are any signs of water damage within your attic or in your home, your roof may be to blame. Things like peeling or bubbling paint and wallpaper, strange odors, stained walls, and visible mold growth all point to water entering your home through your roof. See if you can trace discoloration or staining to a single area of your roof, as sometimes you only have to replace a single section of your roof instead of the entire thing.
Damaged or Missing Tiles
Get up on your roof (ensuring that someone is holding the ladder as you climb) and do a visual inspection of your slate roofing tiles. Age and wear can cause slate, which is a fairly brittle material despite its durability and lifespan, to crack or split. If there is evidence of widespread damage, or if entire roofing tiles are missing, you may want to contact a roofing professional to see how much, if not all, of your roof needs to be replaced.
While up on the roof, you should also check your slate roof's flashing. Flashing is the metal seal around the chimney, attic vents, and any other installations on the top of the roof. If it has begun to rust, it can allow water to seep underneath your tiles and into your home, increasing the risk of your roof failing. This can sometimes be fixed by replacing the flashing itself, but sometimes can point to the failure of the entire roof depending on the amount of deterioration.
Increased Energy Bills
While not an immediately obvious sign of slate roofing failure, damaged roofing tiles can allow an increased rate of heat transfer between the interior of your attic and the exterior of your home. If you notice that your energy bills have increased to a significant degree despite the fact that you have not increased the overall amount of energy use within your home, your central heating or air conditioning system is likely having to work more often due to temperature exchange between your roof and attic. In order to verify this, you should get up on your roof and inspect the slate itself for signs of damage.
Contact a company like All American Roofing Incorporated to learn more.