A great deal of slate roofing work has an historic aspect, whether renovation or restoration. For many, the whole industry is regarded as part of an old-world tradition. The very tools we use have little changed in over a hundred years, and while slate production may have benefited some from mechanization, the installation process is still a physical, artisanal process. Not much room for modernization.
Says who ?
In Poultney, Vermont, brothers Jack and Bob Williams (President and Head of Sales for Newmont Slate Quarry), would disagree.
“We’ve done everything that we can for making slate as quick and efficient as it can be,” says Jack. Anyone who knows Jack knows the truth of this. No slate machinery survives his attention for long, before being torn apart, upgraded and reassembled as a faster, better unit.
QWIK Slate is a plastic strip with embedded hooks. The strip is nailed to the deck and slate set in the hooks. Still a traditional slate roof but no hand-nailing. Slate hooks have been used in Europe for over a century, but the idea never made it across the pond, until now.
Not content to wait for QWIK Slate to take off, Jack and his engineer Bert devised Slate Shield, a system using HDPE backing and an improved hook. A similar idea was around in the 1940s, when alternating rows of slate and 90 lb felt gave the “look” of a slate roof, while using half the amount of slate. Slate Shield substituted HDPE for felt, but kept the hooks, for faster installation. The result reduces the weight and the expense of the roof.
But that’s not all!
Century Plus Slate Shingle is hot off the press!
Here the slate are “lightly” attached to HDPE panels for transportation and handling with the improved hooks still utilized, and three slate can be installed at a time.
This turns out to be a great application for cladding.
The pros and cons of each system are for you to decide. But let’s give credit where it’s due. At a time when fake slate and a myriad of asphalt products challenge the slate industry, greater efficiency in the installation process is vital.