Slate roofing in Pa, interesting job

Slate roofing by Slateworks in PA.


some other pics of different jobs

Nice! I like the randomly-stacked, random-cut slates on the wall! truly a work of art.

With all of our modern construction techniques and materials, the best is still the basic and ancient stone and bricks and mortar.

That uy makes me want stone house and roof.

Those valleys…is that the standard technique? I might learn to like it. It looks perfect for ease of future repair work. No metal showing, really. I always wondered how they did it.

Very nice work, whoever did it.

step flashed valleys are not typical…

No, they are not typical.

But they last a heck of a long time.

Ya have to wait a long time to repair that kind of valley. :frowning:

agreed dennis. it is sweet work.

Um… am I missing something? I only saw two photos; the backside of a corner with the rake going bottom L to top R in the photo


A wall with scaffolding in front & a copper window effect.


You ARE missing something. Click on the picture and it will take you to a series of pictures within Dennis’ site. I don’t imagine you see much slate down in Texas though, so what you will still be missing is that these random slates are very difficult to install right, they’re atypical, they recycle otherwise “unusable” slates, and the guy that put them on had art in his head and did it right. All of these examples are atypical and require some extra skill from the norm.

Severance, much thanks for that. You’re right; those are some photos of amazing work.

I don’t have any experience in copper & slate & can only imagine what the cost is per square in comparison to fiberglass shingles.

Is slate contraindicated for pitches less than 6:12? Considering it’s got little to no grip, I’m sure it takes awhile to work this stuff when doing pitches like those photos.

Also, can you use anything other than copper or is there a chemical reaction with other products? Or do you ‘typically’ use copper because it will last a long time?

Also, I saw what appeared to be copper valleys set in a step flashing design - I’m thinking it’s better for some reason as compared to a continuous run valley?


No prob, I love copper and slate, though I still have much to learn.

I haven’t done a slate job in a while, so I don’t know what the pricing is anymore. But all things being being equal, in my prime flying as fast as I could, I was able to lay 4 squares of walkable (as walkable as slate gets, anyway, still staged) slate in wide open straight go sections on churches and such, while also repairing cracked slates here and there from people with leadfeet.

In comparison, at the same point in time, I could probably lay 20 square of fiberglass shingles in a day given the same circumstances with a nail gun.

I have also spent entire days just cutting in a valley on a slate roof, no field. It is labor intensive.

I can’t recall seeing TOO many slate roofs under 6 pitch, “Federal” style architecture is usually about exactly a 6 pitch, while Victorians boast some extremely steep pitches, and a high level of difficulty for install. You might expect to be on a residence for months possibly installing slate on a Victorian.

You could use things other than copper, but there are many reasons why they don’t. First of all, a good slate roof can outlast your great grandchildren with minimal repairs, so with the quality of the product and the cost to repair it, it actually makes more sense economically to not have one part of it fail sooner than others. Also, a slate roof installed with galvanized roofing nails will probably only last as long as a fiberglass shingle roof, as the nails rust through and the slates will fall out. This being said, mixing copper with any metal other than brass (I believe) does cause a chemical reaction that shortens the lifespan of it.

Another reason I think they stick to copper is just for the mere fact of matching up to what is there. While you won’t achieve a color match because of the patina, again, it doesn’t mix well with other metals.

The last reason I think copper is used almost exclusively is that these roofs are usually found in elite neighborhoods, and people in elite neighborhoods DO think of legacy because they can. They want their heirs to continue to be well off and do things in excess with that in mind

As far as the step flashed valleys, while it does require more skill to install, I’m not sure why it would be better. My logic says less seams, less leaks, but Dennis knows far more than me on this. I can only guess that it lasts longer because rock exposed to the sun and then cold weather will not expand and contract like the open metal-valley, and smaller pieces expand and contract less, and individually of eachother. Copper is really soft when compared to many metals, so it expands and contracts a lot!

Sorry for the novel. I really do have a passion for copper and slate, but the people that hold the true tricks to this artform like to keep them to themselves and its tough to get information from a person. Admittedly, my copper and slate work is acceptable and won’t leak, and it is straight and pretty to the naked eye, but it is not the art yet that I see some others have. I’m working on it.

S and G,
I’m more than willing to share any tricks that I might know that you’d like help with. I bet Dennis is the same way.
I knew some older guys when I was learning that were hard to get info from- so I know what you mean.
Heres a good sequence showing worn out " closed" valley construction. … -I&notag=1

Wow, that’s some AMAZING work…

Good stuff there…

hey Dennis was surprised to see pics of our work on this site,Thanks for posting them so others could see what to do with broken pcs. of slate,the random slate on the gable end is on my house,plan on doing the whole roof in the same style(have a bunch of scrap slate)…did not chalk a line ,just made sure I had a couple of inches of head lap & side lap and nailed pcs on at random,once you do a few it really is not to hard to do…The pics of the slate set in mortar was a first for us(matched the old work) mason’s mixed some good mud for us, I really liked the slate overhang they installed…The closed valley flashing works great , one diamond shape flashing for each row…Copper is expensive but is really a good choice for longevity and matching existing work,plus in comes in 16oz./20 oz./hard/soft/lead coated ect…solders easily,great to work with.Just take a look at Walter’s & Dennis’s work they really do some cool stuff…The house we are working on, they want all of the new copper to look old before we leave(old green patina look) we bought some sal amoniac in powder form that is to be mixed with water and applied to the copper,suppose to be the Frank Loyd Wright process,just did a test piece today see how it looks tomorrow(also a first)…Well I have to go hide some Easter eggs and break a few more slate for the roof.
Take Care, Ron Slateworks Rfg.

[quote=“slater”]S and G,
I’m more than willing to share any tricks that I might know that you’d like help with. I bet Dennis is the same way.
I knew some older guys when I was learning that were hard to get info from- so I know what you mean.
Heres a good sequence showing worn out " closed" valley construction. … -I&notag=1[/quote]

Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. It’s more hands on stuff that I would need help with though… I’ve never even soldered, I have my buddy come and do it because he does really clean solders… I’ll probably learn on my house! Wouldn’t want to ruin my reputation by screwing it up on somebody elses house… pretty much, I don’t like the idea of wasting expensive copper, so when I get anything more than basic valleys and drip edges and stuff I get my buddy… I do all the slate though. I’m actually very good on a brake, but I learned quickly that bending aluminum and bending copper are nothing alike, they have different tendencies…


Copper only reacts to another metal if water is introduced to the joint. If the two metals can dry out no harm.

Galvinized nails only wear out if there is leak. No leak they will last forever.

Most of the slate roofs in my area have/had galvinized valleys. Pa slate has a life of 80-100 years. The cement plants in our area use to send lime dust all over. Nothing rusted. The lime acted as a primer. We used to have to sweep the dust off the sidewalks in the morning.

They put the dust collectors on the cement mills. After that the farmers had to fertilize their fields. Lime is also a fertilizer.