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ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR
AMERICAN CEMWOOD ROOFING
BEST ROOFING PRACTICES
BUILT UP ROOFS
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
CERTIFICATIONS for ROOFING CONTRACTORS
CHIMNEY FLASHING Mistakes & Leaks
COLD WEATHER ROOF TROUBLE
DECKS, ROOFTOP CONSTRUCTION
EPDM, RUBBER, PVC ROOFING
EXTRACTIVE BLEEDING on SHINGLES
FIRE RETARDANT PLYWOOD
FLASHING on BUILDINGS
FLAT ROOF MOISTURE & CONDENSATION
Green House or Solarium Roof Leaks
HEAT TAPES & CABLES on Roofs for Ice Dams
ICE DAM PREVENTION
MASONITE WOODRUF FIBERBOARD ROOFING
NOISE CONTROL for ROOFS
PLASTIC ROOFING TYPES
PVC, EPDM, RUBBER ROOFING
ROOF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES - PHOTO GUIDE
ROOF CLEANING RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF COLOR RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF INSPECTION SAFETY & LIMITS
ROOF LEAK DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
ROOF NOISE TRANSMISSION
ROOF REPLACEMENT SNAFUs
ROOFING FELT UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS
ROOFING MATERIALS, Age, Types
SADDLE CONSTRUCTION at CHIMNEYS
SNOW GUARDS & SNOW BRAKES
STANDARDS for ROOFING
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
TEST LABS - ROOF SHINGLE
TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS on ROOFS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALK-ON ROOF SURFACES
WARRANTIES for ROOF SHINGLES
WORKMANSHIP & ROOF DAMAGE
Ribbon slate roofing: what are ribbon slates, and do they wear out faster than other slate roofs? Slates with diagonal or striped inclusions of varying colors, or ribbon slates, include products with a very long life expectancy and other ribbon slates that are or were a low-priced slate with soft inclusions, short life, and leaks. Here we illustrate different types of ribbon slates used in roofing and we describe how to disginuish the low-priced short-lived ribbon slate from the longer-lived very durable ribbon slate on a roof.
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Some roofers consider ribbon slates as less durable material. we suspect that the durability of ribbon slates depends on the particular minerals which make up the visual diagonals. If the diagonals are comprised of minerals softer than the surrounding slate, early wear is likely. In at least some cases, ribbon slates are less durable than other Pennsylvania slates. -- Trapasso, personal communication.
If these slates were actually shorter-lived than clear cut materials, why were they used? In the 1940's one square (100 sq. ft.) of Pennsylvania slate cost about $6.00, or about $15.00 installed. Because of these attractively low prices and low anticipated replacement cost [boy were they wrong!] ribbon slates were very popular and were used extensively.
As slate and roofing costs rose and as ribbon slates were less expensive than clear slates, some clever roofers used slates which were cut so that the ribbons were only in the upper half of the slate. As the ribbons were covered by the next course, these roofs were more durable.
An inspector may spot this interesting material from attic view or from outside if a slate has fallen out of position, exposing the upper half of its predecessor course. The cost of installing a modern slate roof makes the choice of poor materials illogical.
Attic view means inspecting the underside of the roof surface from inside the building. If open or spaced sheathing was used as nailing base for the slates you'll be able to see the backs of the slate material, or in some cases, you'll see roofing felt, usually damaged or soft, which may provide openings to see the slates. Where closely-spaced board sheathing was used you'll not see slates except perhaps through a knot hole or damaged board.
More ribbon slate photos are at RIBBON SLATE
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about use of ribbon slates on roofs
Questions & answers or comments about ribbon slate roofs: appearance, durability, life expectancy.
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Technical Reviewers & References
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