Need Pro to Fix a Leaky Slate Roof

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Debbie in Illinois is on the line and has a question about a leaky slate roof. What can we do for you?

    DEBBIE: I live in a very old house, from the 1880s.

    TOM: OK.

    DEBBIE: The roof is all slate, leaking in three or four places. Not terrible but you could see it on the walls. And the walls are – nowadays, people don’t do slate anymore.

    TOM: You need to find yourself a slater. It’s what they used to call those guys: “slaters.” What color is your slate tile? Grayish or brownish?

    DEBBIE: Reddish?

    TOM: Reddish. Oh, good. That’s Vermont slate. That’s a really good roof. That lasts way over 100 years.

    LESLIE: And they’re so pretty.

    TOM: They’re really pretty, yeah. So, it’s definitely worth fixing that leaky slate roof. Your problem isn’t that you’ve got a slate roof, it’s just that you need some slate repair, slate maintenance.

    DEBBIE: Right. Yeah.

    TOM: You need to find somebody that knows how to fix leaky slate roof. So I’ll tell you where I would start. I would start on And there you can read reviews and perhaps find somebody that’s got that experience. There’s got to be some folks out there that know how to slate repair.

    What you want to be cautious against, though, is any roofer that maybe thinks they know how to do slate repair and doesn’t. Because you don’t want a guy up there to go up on your roof and break a slate tile or maybe try to use some sort of a sealant to try to fix a leak where he really should be replacing flashing or rebuilding it.

    And the other idea I have for you is if you can find out a building center in your area that sells slate, I bet you they’re going to know who’s doing the work, because they’re going to be selling the slate to them all the time.

    LESLIE: The other thing, Debbie, is if you live in an incorporated village or your town, contact the Building Department and find out who applies for some sort of permits involving roofing and slate roofing. And they might be able to recommend a few people, as well.

    TOM: You’re going to have to work a little bit harder to find somebody to fix leaky slate roof, Debbie, but it’s definitely worth preserving that roof. There’s two different types of slate. There’s a gray slate called Bangor slate and then the kind with a brownish tan is called Vermont slate and it’s a much better-quality slate. So, that roof can last 100, 150 years or more.

    DEBBIE: Right. OK. Thank you so much.

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