Buying a new roof? A slate roof is one of the materials you can consider as you explore your options. It is waterproof, resistant to mold, and can last more than 100 years. On the other hand, it is brittle and can easily break, and is also relatively expensive to purchase.

This extensive guide will help break down the important aspects of this material, its pros and cons, and its variants at your disposal. Follow through to make an informed roofing decision.

Types of Slate Roofs

1. Natural Slate

This is a natural quarried stone, and it’s the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when the term ‘slate’ is mentioned. It is resistant to ultraviolet rays and does not get destroyed by thermal expansion and contraction.

With proper care and adequate maintenance, this material can last over 100 years. It is among the most environment-friendly roofing materials because there is no manufacturing process involved in its production. Besides, it can be recycled and reused. You can find it in natural shades of blue, red, or gray depending on its source.

2. Synthetic Slate Roofing

Is used as an alternative to natural slate roofing. It is a reflection of the magnificence of its traditional counterpart devoid of the expense (synthetic roofing shingles are much cheaper) and the stressful installation process.

These roofs boast of being lighter than natural slate roofs, hence may not require additional support during installation. They would also present you with a wider range of colors compared to their natural counterparts.

The materials durability varies depending on their manufacturing process. Some are treated with ultraviolet inhibitors, reducing degradation from the sun. Others are not easily breakable. The durability of these roofs ranges from half the lifespan of natural slate- 50 years- to about 100 years.

Slate Roof Maintenance

If properly installed, it will require very little maintenance over its lifespan. This material is resistant to mold, fungus, and mildew, further minimizing the maintenance cost.

The greatest risk of installing slate roofs is their ease of cracking and breaking. However, this is easy to fix since you will just need to repair or replace the broken or missing shingles. Make sure this is done by a roofing professional such as Fortress Roofing

Even though most of the maintenance and repair works are generally universal, there are some details you need to take into consideration with regard to the specific types of slate on your roof. For instance, replace broken shingles with those of the same pattern and color. Additionally, when you have to replace the entire roof, get to know the alternatives available in the market. They will still provide your home with the elegance of slate.

Photo by Axinte on Unsplash
Photo by Axinte on Unsplash

Notable Pros

1. Unique Roofing Styles

A slate roof can be designed to produce very beautiful roof designs. This is attributable to it being a natural product.

It is available in different shades depending on its chemical composition and its source. These natural colors give these roofs an allure that cannot be provided by any other material. Imagine you can still play around with colors to match your roof with the architecture of your home.

2. Recyclable

This natural roof will stay on your house for over a century if you want it to. It will lie dead, emitting no toxins at all. It is just stone after all!

If for some reason the roof has to be removed, the material can be reused on other roofs or for other purposes as may be deemed fit. If you are looking for an eco-friendly roofing material, we can proudly say that slate is the material for you!

3. Energy Efficiency

This material is dense and can help regulate the temperatures within your home. This can help you save money that would have otherwise been spent on footing energy bills.

Besides reducing energy bills, energy efficiency is enhanced by the reduced carbon footprint. The material occurs naturally, well apart from synthetic slate, and can be recycled, of course!

Cons of Slate Roofs

1. Fragility

This quality makes the roofing material easy to cut into different shapes and sizes, but it can be disadvantageous in some cases. If not handled with care or if a considerably large amount of pressure is exerted on it, it can easily be cracked or broken.

Inspecting the roofs can be challenging because if the roof inspector steps on the shingles, there is a possibility of them cracking. You need to be extra careful when handling these roofs.

2. Slate Is Heavy

Natural slate is very heavy. One tile of slate of about 100 sq. ft. can weigh between 800 pounds (ca. 363 kg) and 1,500 pounds (ca. 680 kg). Your roofing structure has to be reinforced to ensure it is able to carry this weight. This can be expensive.

If you’re installing a new roof, consider having your roofing structure assessed to see if it can bear the additional load.


Slate can tremendously improve your home’s curb appeal and, by extension, its value. It is a material that has a natural appearance and blends well with the environment. Despite being heavy and fragile, its durability is something to marvel at.

As you ponder over your choice of roofing material, have it in mind that you can never go wrong with slate roofing tiles if their cost is not a scare to you and your home’s structure can support the weight.

Guest Contributor: John Willmer

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