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Slate Roof Facts, Cost, Pros and Cons

If you are looking for a “lifetime” roofing system that can provide superior durability and add a distinctive touch of timeless beauty to your home, then consider investing in a natural slate roof. For centuries, slate has been highly acclaimed for its natural beauty and remarkable longevity, unmatched by other materials. Investing in a slate roofing system is a major financial commitment. Therefore, it is critical to learn about the advantages and drawbacks of slate before you make a buying decision.


Cost Details


One of the factors that deter many homeowners from installing a slate roof is the high cost of materials and labor. Depending on the grade, thickness, and the overall quality of slate tiles, the price will vary.  With the installation, your total cost will also vary depending on the size and slope of the roof areas. The reason for such a wide pricing range is that installation/labor costs can vary widely from roof to roof is each location and difficulty of the roof will play a major role in determining the overall cost of the project.




One of the most attractive features of slate is its natural beauty, followed by its truly uncontested durability and longevity. Slate will enhance the look of any architectural style and is available in a variety of natural slate colors and textures.


Slate’s color options include green, gray, black, purple, red as well as tiles that sport a mixture of colors. Moreover, slate shingles are shaped by hand to meet specific requirements and can be custom made in a variety of thicknesses and sizes. Regardless of its age, the slate will maintain its distinctive appearance.



When it comes to longevity, few roofing materials can compete with slate. A slate roof will easily last over 100 years, which is at least double of what other roofing materials can offer.


Many slate tile manufacturers offer up to a 100-year warranty on their products. For people who do not plan to ever sell their home, the incredible longevity of slate is a highly desirable benefit.

Durability and Low Maintenance

Being a natural stone, slate is more durable than any man-made material. The high density of slate makes it waterproof, meaning that it will not absorb water. Slate is completely non-combustible and will protect your home in the event of a fire.


Slate is also highly resistant to any temperature fluctuations and inclement weather conditions, making it ideal in areas prone to heavy rain, snow, and wind. Moreover, a slate roof will not be affected by fungus and mold. These properties make a slate roof practically maintenance-free, allowing you to have the peace of mind, without having to spend extra cash on expensive maintenance and repairs.


High Resale Home Value


Installing a slate roof on a house, greatly increases its resale value. Moreover, slate’s permanence, durability and aesthetic appeal will make your home more attractive to prospective buyers if you ever decide to sell it.


Environmentally – Friendly


Slate’s longevity makes it an environmentally friendly roofing choice. Roofing waste from roofs that get replaced every 10-20 years currently accounts for 5% of all construction waste that fills up our shrinking landfill space. With a slate roof, you will not be contributing to this problem!



Fragility and Replacement Issues


While slate is a very durable material, it can break if stepped on. You should not walk on slate tiles unless you know what you are doing, otherwise, you will most likely damage some of them.


Once a slate tile is broken, replacing it is a complicated task. Slate runs by lots and each lot is different, which makes it nearly impossible to find replacement tiles that are a perfect match.


Heavy Weight

One of the drawbacks of slate for some homeowners is the heavy weight of slate roofing tiles, which can be between 800 – 1,500 pounds per square (100 square feet).


Consequently, not all homes have the structural support necessary to take the weight of a slate roof, and often additional reinforcement needs to be installed. Prior to purchasing a slate roof, make sure you have your home evaluated from a structural standpoint to know whether it can take the weight of the slate roof. This must be addressed or it can be catastrophic to your home's foundation and walls.


This is where a synthetic slate is a great alternative to real slate and will give you the look of real slate without the added weight.

Complex Installation


The key to slate’s longevity is proper installation. If a slate roof is not properly installed, it could easily become the cause of some major roof problems. Slate is a very specialized roofing system and installing it correctly does require some proper training and experience.


The reality is that most roofers do not have this experience, yet many will readily agree to install your slate roof anyway! Do not fall into this trap, and only hire an experienced contractor who specializes in slate roofing. Be sure to ask the contractor for local references. JD’s Roofing and Repair is experienced in slate roofing installation.

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