Common Slate Roof Problems and How to Fix Them

Slate roofs are extremely durable and long-lasting, as well as being very attractive but, like any roof, they do experience their share of issues over time. In this blog, we explore some of the most common slate roof problems.

Missing and slipped slates

Extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain, strong winds, hail and snow, can result in slates becoming misplaced. Whether they are completely removed or slip out of position, it’s important to see to this quickly so that the roof doesn’t become compromised. Slate tiles can be easily replaced but it’s important that this is done by a roofing specialist.

Broken slates

As well as slates which go missing or slip out of position, extreme weather can also cause existing slates to break. This can be caused by extreme weather, but if many of your slates are broken or fractured it could be a sign that the slate is actually becoming soft and might need inspecting by a professional.

Nail sickness

Originally, nails used to fix individual slates into place to form the slate roof were made from iron or poor-quality steel. This means that they are likely to rust and decay over time. Nail sickness is a term used to describe the situation where this happens to multiple slates on one roof. If this happens, it is again important to get a professional roofer in to assess the situation and make any necessary repairs or replacements.


The texture of slate tiles is layered due to it being a natural material. When slate begins to approach the end of its life, the layers you see might begin to split apart and this is the process that we term delamination. If this is not dealt with quickly, it can lead to further problems with your slate roof such as breakages and leaks. However, the layers in slate can be distinct so be careful not to confuse naturally prominent layers with delamination. The most obvious signs tend to be flaking and gaps.

Flashing damage

Damage to the flashing is a common problem for all types of roofs and this is no different for slate roofs. The flashing is the sheet metal that lines and protects vulnerable areas of the roof from water. However, because it is typically made of metal, it is vulnerable to rust and corrosion over time. If this happens, the flashing will most likely all need to be replaced by a professional roofer.

What to do if you’re experiencing slate roof problems

The best course of action if you have noticed any problems or signs of deterioration with your roof is to contact a professional roofing company who is experienced in dealing specifically with slate roofs. Although slate roofs are incredibly durable, there will eventually come a time when you experience problems and, when this happens, it’s best to deal with it properly!
If you are experiencing problems with your slate roof and would like us to assess it, please do get in touch with us here or phone us on 01392 243000 to see how we can help.

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