Slate portrays New England-style architecture

May 30, 2002
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Nearly 3,200 square feet of slate was used for the roof in 12-inch-long pieces with random widths. The stone pieces were installed with 11¿inch copper nails and a slate hammer.
Vermont Grey slate was specified for the roof of a private residence in Whiting, VT, combining classic New England architecture with Greek revival style elements. Slate is a typical material used in New England arch-itecture, explained Alan Pratt, owner and designer of the home.

Pratt, a slate roofer by trade, explained that the slate was not only chosen for its aesthetics and appeal, but also for its durability. The material has a 100-year life expectancy, according to Pratt, who explained that other materials are not as long lasting. He pointed out that although cedar would have also been an appropriate roofing material for the house, this material does not have the longevity of slate. "We didn't choose cedar because it doesn't last very long," said Pratt, who worked on the project with builder Kevin Puls of Bristol Construction Co. "It is a new growth timber that only has a 20-year life expectancy." Slate was clearly a better choice for Pratt, who also cited that there was not much of a difference in price. "Most people think installing a slate roof is not cost effective, when in fact, if you compare slate and its life span to other materials, it's a cost effective material," he said.

Nearly 3,200 square feet of slate was used for the roof in 12-inch-long pieces with random widths. The stone pieces were installed with 11¿inch copper nails and a slate hammer. A starter course of 14- x 7-inch pieces were punched with a slate hammer and installed with a 41¿inch exposure and a 3-inch head-lap. Grace brand ice and water shield - a self-sealing roof membrane that adheres to the plywood - was used on the eaves for the first 3 feet and in the valley of the roof before the stone was installed. Lead-coated copper was also used for the valleys. The tools used to install the slate roof included a slate hammer, a slate cutter and a slate ripper. "The tools to install a slate roof are very inexpensive," said Pratt. Three workers installed the roof in a period of three weeks.

A chimney made of Vermont water-struck brick, wood paneling and decorative crown moldings, contrasts the slate roof, which adds character to the home. Panton stone from Vermont was additionally specified for the veneer of the foundation to give the home a classic look. "We want the house to look like a classic turn-of-the-century farmhouse," said Pratt.

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