6 Slate Roof Maintenance Tips for Spring

Brian Stearns, the President & Founder of Alpine SnowGuards, wrote the below back in the Spring of 2006. Brian’s deep roots in the slate roofing industry (he began his career as a slate roofer in the 1970’s) has given him a wealth of knowledge and experience that’s honestly too valuable NOT to share (and re-share).

Since spring is just around the corner, we’re happy to educate by sharing Brian’s tips on slate roof maintenance for springtime.

Spring Has Sprung: Slate Roof Maintenance

Spring is a great opportunity to evaluate and repair winter’s damage to your slate roof. The publishers of the Slate Roof Quarterly recommend the following steps to help your slate roof “last a lifetime.”

1. Repair any broken field slates

Snow and ice sliding over slate can occasionally break field slate. If more than one piece of slate per square is broken, there may be a more serious problem. For example, slate breaking along the eave is a sure sign that a cant strip was not installed.

2. Repair and straighten hips and ridges

Sliding snow, ice and wind vibration can push, pull or shift hip and ridge pieces out of place. Repair these pieces to prevent more serious long-term issues.

3. Clear valleys and gutters of any debris

Debris build up can cause leaks.

4. Straighten and protect gutters and roof protrusions

Snow and ice sliding off of the roof can damage gutters. Damaged gutters can cause damage to the structure. Take the time to protect your gutters and roof protrusions by installing snow guards.

5. Address ice damming problems

Ice damming, the cause of many winter leak issues, should be addressed as early as possible in the spring. These repairs can sometimes be extensive at the roof line as well as within the structure. Give yourself plenty of good weather time to fix this problem.

6. Check your repair slate inventory

Every slate roof owner should keep about 2% of the total size of their slate roof on hand for repairs. Ideally, this would be slate leftover from the installation. If there isn’t any slate left over, of if all the repair slate has been used up, contact a slate quarry or distributor to replenish your supply. Be prepared to describe your roof in detail and possibly even send samples.    

Alpine SnowGuards is always happy to answer any questions you may have, and Brian himself is also very open to receiving questions and providing answers. There are 3 easy ways we can help:

  1. Leave a comment/question on this post
  2. Reach out to us at info@alpinesnowguards.com
  3. Reach out to Brian directly at brian@alpinesnowguards.com

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Alpine SnowGuards designs, engineers, and manufactures snow management systems from our facility in Morrisville, VT. We work closely with leading roofing contractors, engineering firms, developers, solar installers and roofing manufacturers to ensure we deliver quality products that do what we say they’ll do. Alpine SnowGuards can help a building qualify for LEED® credits.