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Should You Install A Slate Roofing System In 2024? 

Posted on March 12, 2024

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Slate Roof

When you want to install a new roof or replace an existing system, there are probably several thoughts that come to your mind. Should you install the same roofing material? Who do you contact for the installation? If you are in the research phase of your project, then this blog post is for you. 

For years, asphalt shingles have been a strong force in the industry. The majority of the homes in the U.S. still have a shingle roof. They are very affordable and vibrant, and hence are very common too. But what if you want to do something different and want a premium option for your roof? This is where slate roofs come in. A popular roofing material centuries ago, these are making a comeback, and we are receiving more and more questions about their installation. 

So to help you decide if this material is right for you, in this article we will discuss slate roofs, whether they are a viable choice in 2024, and more. So let’s get started.  

What Is A Slate Roof?

Slate roof

Now, since you are just starting out, it’s a good idea to know the basics of this material. 

To put it simply, a slate roof is one that uses slabs of slate, a fine-grained and durable metamorphic rock, arranged methodically to cover a building. You have most likely seen this material on churches and other historic buildings.  

Natural slate was traditionally used by architects because it gave them numerous style options and could easily be split into thin sheets. Its longevity commonly stood between 75 to 200 years, thanks to its innate toughness and immunity against common degradations like freezing cycles or heavy rain. Its usage dates back thousands of years due to these exceptional qualities.

A Brief History of Slate Roofs

The history of slate roofs stretches far into antiquity. In fact, their origins can be traced back to around 1300 A.D. But they didn’t gain wider popularity until the mid-18th century in Europe, as rapid urban growth called for dependable fire-resistant materials.

Advantages of a Slate Roof

When considering a roof replacement, slate might emerge as one of the top contenders. But like with any other option, it’s essential to weigh up the pros and cons. With that in mind, let’s delve into uncovering the benefits and limitations of this roofing material. We will first start with the positives. 

Durability and Longevity

No roofing material is as strong as a slate roof, though a few options like ceramic tiles come close. Slate is renowned for its durability in the roofing industry, as it has the ability to last for decades or even centuries with minimal maintenance. This longevity makes slate roofs a good investment over time. 

So why does this roof last so long? There are many reasons: 

  • First, the nature of slate itself helps it to withstand tough conditions. This rock is incredibly dense and strong, making it resistant to cracking, chipping, and other types of damage. 
  • Second, its natural resistance to elements like fire, mold, and pests further adds to its durability, ensuring your roof stays strong and intact for years to come. These roofs also require fewer repairs and replacements compared to other roofing materials. 

Aesthetic Appeal 

Roofs make up about a third of your home and they do have a say in the overall curb appeal. As more homeowners are realizing this fact, they want their roofs to not only protect their property, but also depict a sense of style. Slate roofs take the win here. 

One of the most striking features of a slate roof is its superb visual appeal. Each slate tile is unique, offering a range of colors and textures that add character and charm to your home. And, you not only get earth tones, but a wide range of color options. Whether you’re looking to enhance the traditional elegance of a historic property or add a touch of class to a modern home, slate roofing systems can offer a timeless beauty that complements any architectural style.

Environmentally Friendly

If there is a factor other than curb appeal that people are really concerned about, it’s the sustainability of the roof they are installing. 

Slate roofs are a great example of a roofing option that not only provides durability to your home but also has a positive impact on the environment. Since they can last for more than 80 years, the long lifespan means fewer roof replacements. This will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. 

Plus since slate is a natural stone product, it doesn’t deplete limited resources like other traditional roofing materials can do. This makes them a sustainable choice for environmentally conscious homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint and minimize their impact on the planet.

So as you can see, a slate roof brings a lot of benefits to the table, but where does it falter? Let’s find out.

Cons of a Slate Roof 

Despite having some impressive features, there are some limitations that you might face if you decide to install a new slate roofing system. 

High Cost

You probably know about this one. Slate has always been a long-lasting material, however the cost of a genuine slate roof can be significantly higher than that of other roofing options. 

Apart from looking at the features, price is also an important factor to keep in mind as you select a roofing material. A real slate roof doesn’t come cheap. From raw materials to installation labor costs – every element attached totals more than most other roofing options available today.

Weight Considerations

When considering a slate roof, it’s crucial to assess your home’s framing to ensure it can support the weight. Slate is known for its heaviness, weighing approximately 8 to 10 pounds per square foot.

Your home’s structure must be sturdy enough to handle this substantial weight. If your roof isn’t able to support the slate and you go ahead with installation, you are setting yourself up for more problems. 

Consulting with a structural engineer or roofing professional can help determine if your home is suitable for a slate roof or if additional support is needed.

Maintenance Challenges

While slate roofs are durable and long-lasting, they do come with maintenance challenges. Over time, individual slates may break or become dislodged, requiring replacement. This task can be complex and should be handled by skilled craftsmen who are familiar with the delicate nature of slate tiles. 

Additionally, regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to ensure the roof remains in good condition and to address any issues promptly. Proper care can help extend the lifespan of your slate roof and ensure it continues to protect your home for years to come.

How Much Does Slate Roofing Cost? 

In an earlier section, we covered how the cost of a slate roof is one of its biggest limitations and also the reason why you don’t see it on many homes. So exactly how much does it cost? 

Slate tiles can cost you in the range of $10 to $26 per square foot. So adding the price of installation, the overall roof replacement project will cost you around $29,000 to $55,000 for a 2,000-square foot roof. 

Synthetic Slate Roofs: The Way Forward? 

Now as you can see, installing a real slate roof is not for everyone. The overall cost of roof replacement is around three times more expensive than an asphalt shingle roof and almost twice as expensive as a metal roof. 

As this is not for every homeowner, what are your other options? Enter: synthetic slate roofing. Seeing the high price of slate roofs, manufacturers have come up with attractive synthetic slate tiles that are durable and cost much less. 

As the name suggests, synthetic slate mimics real slate roofs, but with different composition. Instead of using natural slate, these are made of recycled materials which lower the cost as well as the weight. So if you are dead set on installing a new slate roof but do not have the budget, then a synthetic slate might be a good idea.

Also Read: Best Synthetic Slate Roofing Options

Don’t Forget To Hire A Professional Roofing Contractor For Your Project! 

Whether you want to install a natural slate roof or explore synthetic roofing options, it is important to hire a reputable roofing contractor. Even the best of roofs falter when they are not installed correctly. 
At A. Fricker Roofing and Waterproofing, we have a team of experienced and skilled roofing professionals who specialize in installing and maintaining slate roofs. With our expertise, we can ensure that your slate roof is installed correctly and will provide lasting protection for your home. Contact us today at (918) 402-7167  to learn more about our slate roofing services and how we can help you with your roofing project.

Slate Roof