A Comparison of Roofing Materials: What Suits You Best? – Part 2: Slate Roofing

Slate is a fine-grained, foliated metamorphic rock that is popularly used for roofing because of its attractive appearance and durability. Used on U.S. roofs since the mid-1800’s, slate continues to be considered a desirable roofing material despite the decline in its use in favor of other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles, clay and concrete tile, and other materials that cost less and which can be installed at a cheaper cost.

Slate Roofing

Slate is a natural occurring element in nature and is found in a variety of hues, including purple, red, green, black and gray. This roofing material typically enjoys a lifespan in excess of 100 years. Since it’s real stone, slate is heavy and is typically laid down thick, which means a strong roof support system is required to hold up this roofing material. Slate can break on sudden heavy impact as it’s very brittle; it doesn’t take well to bearing heavy weight (such as the weight of a person walking on the roof) either.

Slate is known to have cleavage and grain, two lines of breakability that make the stone vulnerable to splitting into thin sheets.

The advantages of late are many, however, but let’s look at the top reasons you might want to invest in slate roofing:

1. A Timeless Appeal. Slate brings a classic, timeless aesthetic to the home. Available in a variety of classy color options slate, roofing can lend a regal air to your home’s looks.
2. Long-lasting. Besides requiring only minimal maintenance, slate roofing also lasts a long time.
3. Resistant to Fire. Insurance companies recognize slate as one of the most fire-resistant roofing options available on the market today, which means insurance premiums on this type of roofing are relatively low.
4. Higher Resale Value. It’s beautiful, and it can last long – what more could want? Slate roofing can boost your home’s value and make it more desirable to potential home buyers.

While slate roofing is known to be one of the more expensive types of roofs, it’s well worth the investment, given that you’ll most likely never need a new roof for your home again.

Like tile roofing, there are various disadvantages to slate roofing, namely:

  1. It’s Expensive. We’ve already established that slate roofing material is expensive, but you ought to be made aware that installation costs are pretty steep as well. Slate roof installation costs can range from as much as $1,000 to $6,000 a square, with many homes needing multiple squares to complete the roof.
  2. It Requires Skilled Installation. It’s difficult to find a reputable installer who can properly install a slate roof. Slate tiles typically vary in thickness, which can spell trouble for inexperienced roofers. You must hire only a qualified roofer with previous experience with installing the material.
  3. Weighty. While slate can last forever, it’s a notoriously heavy material to have handle. Besides reinforcing your roof deck to hold the material, which can weigh anywhere from 800 to 1,500 pounds, you’ll need to determine if your home’s foundation is itself capable of supporting the weight of your roofing material before having it installed.
  4. Hard to Replace. Slate can quickly sustain damage if your contractor isn’t familiar with the material, and as slate is typically sold in lots, finding any replacement material that matches the natural stone of your existing slate may be difficult.

One of the most durable roofing surfaces available, slate roofing easily stands up to severe storms, heavy winds and fires.


But, what about metal roofing? What makes metal roofing a good choice besides the fact that it can hold its own as well as the first two types of roofing featured here? Read on to find out more in Part 3.