Strip and Re-slate
A full roof strip and re-slate is an extensive undertaking that even well maintained roofs will eventually require.
As a very basic guide, a good quality slate roof subjected to Edinburgh’s changeable weather should last for 70 to 80 years if properly maintained. (See separate article for roof maintenance)

When might a strip and re-slate be required?

  • Slates past useable life time: - hard slates remain useable for anything from 75 to 200 years and soft slates from 50 to 125 years. Scottish slate has a useable lifetime of around 150 years and good Welsh slate may come with a 100 year guarantee.

    There is a market for “second hand” slates however, when they become soft or delaminated due to water absorption and freezing over many years they will be beyond salvage. If, when knocked with a hammer, a slate sounds dead and dull rather than giving off a clear ringing then it is likely that it is past its best.

  • Nail sickness / nail fatigue: - In the past, iron or poor quality galvanised nails were used to fix slates in place. Progressive deterioration of these nails can lead to numerous slates becoming loose and slipping out of place. Rather than having to regularly carry out repairs a full strip and re-slate would be more cost effective

  • Timber damage or fatigue: - Timber is a natural material and as such is subject to the ways nature tries to break it down. When looked after Timber will last many lifetimes but if left untreated and exposed to the elements it will start to rot. Often a small amount of rotten roof timber can be repaired or replaced but with extensive damage stripping to allow access to trusses and rafters may be required

Symptoms that a roof may need a strip and re-slate

  • Slow to dry: - If other roofs around yours appear to dry more quickly this is an indication that the slates are at or past the end of their useable life. The in-built water repellent properties of the slates have been broken down over many years and they are no longer forming a barrier but have become porous.

  • Slates blowing off in high winds: - This could be a sign that the slates are rotten and so the holes they are nailed through have expanded, and so no longer securing the tiles, or that the nails themselves are failing.

How is a strip and re-slate done?

There are plenty of “How to Guides“ on the internet so we aren’t going to do a DIY guide here, just a simplified summary of what is involved:

  • Existing slates removed. If still useable they will be reused, if not they will be disposed of.
  • Existing timber tile battens removed. Timber sarking will be checked and removed if deemed necessary.
  • All roof timbers are checked repaired as required.
  • If new sarking timber is to be fitted this will then be put in place.
  • Current building regulations require a breathable membrane (sarking membrane) to then be fitted across the whole roof.
  • Onto this tiling battens / lats are fitted and then tiles nailed to them.

What does it cost?

The main factors affecting price are:

  • the size or area of the roof
  • the design or type of roof
  • the materials to be used
  • The accessibility of the roof (and so the access requirements)
  • Other factors such as damage to timbers also have an impact on cost.
  • A look around the internet suggests between £50 to £70 / sq. meter to cover the costs, materials, debris disposal and labour is a budgeting figure. Access costs, such as for Scaffolding would be extra.

Need a quote to strip and re-slate your roof?
For a free quote from a qualified, fully vetted and continuously appraised roofer, contact HomeForce on 0131 315 0000 or via email: -