Slate roofs have been coined the “forever roof” because they can last for over 100 years with little to no maintenance. Slate is a hardy, natural stone material that will last as long as it does in nature while keeping your roof and home safe from the elements and giving your home a unique look you won’t find on many homes.
What is a Slate Roof?
Slate tiles are made of metamorphic rock naturally occurring in nature and can last for hundreds of years. The cool thing about slate is that the colors can vary depending on what minerals are in the rock. That color can weather over time and give even more dynamic colors and textures to the roof tiles for a unique look. No two slate tiles are going to look the same. Slate has been one of the oldest used roofing materials for centuries, thanks to its durability and longevity. The return on investment for a slate roof is one you won’t find with any other material.
Benefits of Installing a Slate Roof.
To piggyback off the length of time a slate roof can last, many other benefits lead people to install these unique tiles.
There is no treatment or special maintenance requirement to care for a slate roof because its natural properties already make it resistant to water damage, fire, critters, mildew, hail damage, and other severe weather. It will protect your home from outside elements without any additional maintenance.
Being that slate is a natural stone, it is completely eco-friendly and easy to dispose of. Although with it outliving any home that has slate tiles, it likely won’t ever be disposed of. This type of roofing material is great for people who want to lessen their carbon footprint—slate has virtually zero when it comes to waste and energy consumption.
Slate tiles have major energy-saving potential. Homeowners who install slate roofs will see a major drop in their energy bills as slate can easily regulate the temperature of your home, helping your heating and cooling systems work much more efficiently. In addition to a rainwater catch system and radiant heat barriers installed underneath, these tiles can drastically make one’s home much more energy-efficient and save tons of money.
Slate is not a roof you can replicate. The unique textures and colors that naturally occur in the stone make for a one-of-a-kind roof. If you are looking for a high-quality, timeless look for your home, slate tiles can be just the thing. They often work better on more unique older homes, so keep that in mind, but they are stunning when installed on the right structure.
Any Cons to a Slate Roof?
Despite all of the benefits to installing a slate roof, like its durability and longevity, there are plenty of downfalls that come with it as well. Once installed, the slate tiles are very durable when it comes to protecting your home. However, during the process of cutting them into tiles, they can be quite fragile if mishandled. This can also go along with installation and transport. These slate tiles are hefty and need to be handled carefully during installation to avoid damage and injury to the contractors. That being said, your home also needs to be able to hold its immense weight, particularly on larger homes where the roof could be holding 8- to 10 lbs per square foot—that’s a lot of added weight!
Alternative Synthetic Slate Shingles: Good or Bad?
If you don’t want to spend the dough on an authentic slate roof, synthetic is the next best thing. It may not have the exact look like the natural stuff, but it looks close and costs far less. Plus, there isn’t much compromise in this alternative’s lifespan: synthetic slate shingles still last 100 years or more. The reason for this is they are much lighter weight and thus much easier to install. So they can be installed in less time, with less effort, but with the same effect of the natural stone.
How Much Does a Slate Roof Cost?
The one deterrent for many when installing a slate roof is the incredibly high upfront costs. Slate is very expensive because of a few things. First, it requires harvesting and transporting the heavy slabs of the slate with it being natural stone. Then those slabs need to be delicately cut to size. And because of how heavy they are (1,000+ pounds per slab), they are much more difficult to install and must take diligent teams with the technical skill to install this type of roof.
After all, is said and done, here is what homeowners can expect to spend on a new slate roof replacement. These costs include materials and labor combined as well as the alternative price to a synthetic slate roof. You can immediately that the cost of natural slate shingles is exponentially more expensive than other types of roofing materials. But for good reason.
Slate shingles: $18,000-$70,000+ total
Synthetic slate shingles: $10,000-$30,000 total
The average estimated cost of a slate roof replacement: $18,000-$45,000
Compared to other, more common types of roofing materials, this is definitely a high price to pay. When we look at installing asphalt shingles on your home, you’re looking at around $5,000 to $15,000 total cost for the roof replacement. However, asphalt shingles only last between 15 and 20 years, so you may end up replacing your asphalt roof. Plus, asphalt shingles are not recyclable like slate and end up in landfills. So in comparison, a slate roof is more durable, has a smaller carbon footprint, and gives a much greater return on your investment.
If you’re curious about roofing materials besides slate, we’ve compared half a dozen other types of roofing materials and their costs to install. Check that out here. When the time comes when you’re ready to make the next move on your new roof installation, don’t hesitate to call us for a FREE estimate! Let’s get you the roof you deserve that can last as long as a lifetime.