Slate Roofs and Roofing

Slate roofing is a high-cost, high-reward material.  It is one of the most expensive roofing materials on the market but offers a large number of benefits.  Slate roofing is:

  • Very attractive, available in natural colors and styles. It has an upscale look.
  • Very durable, since it is stone.  It holds up well to wind, hail and sun.
  • Able to shed water and snow very well.
  • Nearly maintenance-free.
  • Resistant to fire, insects and rot.
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Energy-efficient.  It absorbs less heat energy than asphalt shingles.

Description of Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is made from slate, like chips or thin slabs of rock.  It is produced from stone mined in areas such as Vermont, Pennsylvania, China, Spain and Canada. Genuine slate roofs have long been popular in Europe and have been employed in the U.S. for nearly 200 years.   Synthetic slate is also available, made from slate dust and glass fiber resin.  Cement/resin slate is a second type of synthetic slate being used in more installations. One advantage to synthetic slate is that the mixture can be tinted to produce more colors than found in natural slate.

Genuine slate roofing is very heavy and existing homes may have to be structurally reinforced to support them.  They require heavy-duty framing and decking in new construction to meet the strength requirements.

Slating a roof, as it is called, is an art form, best handled by professional slate roofers with good experience.  There are many specific rules that apply to slate roofing that don’t apply to other forms, so having experience is essential.  The slate is overlapped, with steeper roofs requiring less overlap, and staggered to prevent water from seeping down to the wood roof deck.

Cost of Slate Roofing

As noted, natural slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials on the market.  A roofer’s square will cost between $500 and $800, or $5 to $8 per square foot for just the material. Read more about costing out a slate roof at Slate Shingle Cost Guide.

Slate Roofing Longevity

After the luxurious beauty of slate roofing, its durability is its finest quality.  A slate roof should last at least 100 years.  There are many examples of slate roofs that are in very good condition despite being over 200 years old.

Where is Slate Roofing Used?

While slate roofing was first introduced in the U.S. in New England, it can now be found on homes and buildings throughout the country.  It is a popular choice where classic beauty and old-world charm are desired.  Its ability to shed water makes it a good choice in wet climates; its strength and durability lend itself to harsh weather.


Slate Roofing Articles and Guides

Slate Roofing, Can It Decrease My Energy Costs?

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Commercial vs. Residential Roofs, Who Ya Gonna Call?

Not all roofing contractors do the same type of work. There are commercial roofing contractors and those that do residential roofing. Even with those two... more

Life Span of Different Roof Materials

Are you looking for a long-lasting roof? Or do you plan to sell in 10-15 years and want good value for a shorter period of time? This brief overview of... more

Common Roofing Damages Caused by Hurricanes and High Winds

Hurricane, tropical storms and windstorms are devastating to roofs. High winds tear off shingles and other roofing material and leave the wood roof deck... more

The Best Roofing Material for Your Region

What’s the best type of roofing for your region? Where you live helps determine which types of roofing material are right for your home. There’s certainly... more

Which Roofing Material Fits Your Budget Best?

Over the past several weeks we at Roofing Guide have been looking at most of the top roofing materials and the cost of installing each of them. This article... more

Free Slate Shingle Guide for Estimating the Cost of Slate Roofing

Slate is a roofing material that has a long history of use. It is uniquely beautiful and incredibly long lasting. It is also one of the most expensive... more

Roof Snow Guards, Are they Really Needed?

If you are familiar with roof snow guards you may be asking, “Are they really needed?”  Or perhaps you’ve never heard of them.  In this Roofing... more

Which Roofing Materials Last the Longest?

The value of a roof is greatly increased when it lasts a long time.  The roofing materials that last the longest and have the greatest longevity actually... more

How Much Does a New Roof Cost?

Having a new or replacement roof installed is a large expense for most homeowners.  This roofing guide looks at the major factors in the cost of a new... more