Slate roofing is one of the longest-lasting roofing materials currently on the market. The material has been making a comeback as one of the best materials to use on your home for roofing. Whether you’re looking for an alternative to asphalt shingles or trying to find the longest-lasting material on the market, slate roofing will definitely come up.

In this guide, we’re breaking down the pros and cons for homeowners so that you can make an informed decision on whether slate roofing is right for your home.

Cost of Slate Roofing

Before we get too far in, let’s talk about the cost of slate roofing. First off, slate roofing is very expensive and not just the material. One of the biggest costs associated with slate roofing is the installation of the tiles. Slate roofing tiles are extremely heavy and fragile. Not very many roofing companies install slate, and their services come at a premium because of the lower competition.

A single square of slate roofing (100 square feet) will cost between $1,000 – $2,000 for the material. Labor can cost just as much per square and sometimes more if your home is more than one story. At this rate, a 2,000 square foot roof could cost around $40,000. That’s a lot of money when compared to a simple asphalt shingle roof that would cost around $10,000 – $15,000.

History of Slate Roofing

Slate roofing has been present in both the United States and the UK for hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s said to be one of the first roofing materials. The rocks that form slate are mined by huge companies, and the tiles themselves can serve a number of different purposes.

Slate tiles can be used for roofing, flooring, decor, and more. As a truly versatile material, you’ve likely seen slate in some capacity before. The natural colors formed by slate vary drastically. From deep and dark colors to light greys, there’s sure to be a color that will match the aesthetic of your home.

Slate tiles can be trimmed to multiple sizes and shapes, making them a great addition to your home if you’re looking for something unique and different. While you will pay for that luxury, a lifetime-type roof can add a lot of value to your home. Some slate roofs will look very uniform while others are made to look unique and are made up of multiple sizes and shapes.

worm's eye view of slate roofing

The Pros

As you might have guessed, there are many advantages to choosing slate roofing for your home. The cost of the slate can sometimes outweigh the advantages for you, but other homeowners will see these advantages and added value as a huge benefit to their home. After all, most homes will last for around 50-100 years before undergoing a major renovation. A roof can last for more than 100 years if it’s properly maintained.

Appearance

Appearance is one of the most notable pros of slate roofs. Slate tiles look beautiful when installed correctly. The glisten of natural stone on your roof will stand out against your neighbors’ homes. When it comes to the aesthetic of roofs, slate is often respected and looked at as one of the best-looking roofing materials on the market.

Lifespan

Slate roofing has been known to last more than 150 years. In some instances, a slate roof will outlive the home that it’s protecting. 150 years is five times longer than some other roofing materials that have a 30-year lifespan at best. Some cheaper roofing solutions only last 10-15 years on average. If you install a slate roof on your home, you’ll never have to re-roof your home.

Fire Resistance

Slate is stone, and as you might already know, stone is entirely fire resistant which makes it a great material choice for homeowners that may have to deal with forest fires at some point. Some counties and cities even require that your roof has a high fire resistance level. You won’t have to worry about a fire on your slate roof.

Environmentally Friendly

Roofing waste accounts for around 5% of waste sent to landfills every year. That’s a huge amount of garbage that could be avoided if homeowners chose to install a roof that was designed to last forever. Better yet, because slate is an all-natural product, you won’t have to worry about it ever reaching a landfill. When the roof is eventually replaced, it can be repurposed and sometimes reused.

The Cons

As with any good thing, there are some downsides to it. So we wanted to make sure that you’re aware of some risks associated with installing a slate roof.

Difficult to Install

crew working on slate roofing

Poor installation is the leading cause of slate roof failure. As we mentioned earlier, most roofing contractors don’t know a lot about slate roofing. This includes how to install it. Despite not knowing how to install slate roofing, some contractors will choose to install it anyways, and as you might have guessed, this can cause major problems for homeowners. When you’re hiring someone to do a project this big be sure to ask for references.

Weight

Slate is extremely heavy, and thus your roof will need to be engineered to handle the weight of this roof. 100 square feet of your roof could weigh upwards of 1,000 pounds. This makes for a roof that all together could weigh 20,000 thousand pounds or more. Your home would need some modifications if it wasn’t designed to uphold such a heavy roof. These modifications can be expensive and won’t always be the best choice for every home.

Durability

While slate roofing will last forever on top of your roof, certain factors can actually cause a lot of problems. Slate tiles can easily break when they’re walked on, and if tiles do break off, they are extremely difficult to be repaired. Tiles can also break if a branch brushes them the wrong way or large pieces of hail hit your roof. Altogether slate is a great roofing material, but it can become a hazard if it starts to break apart.

While we can’t tell you what material to install on your roof, we can say that slate roofing, while being a great option, does come with its own problems. The technology behind asphalt shingles has caused them to continually get better and better year over year. You won’t have to worry about asphalt shingles breaking apart or weighing too much for your roof. This makes them a bit more attractive despite the fact that they won’t last forever.

If you’re looking for a roof inspection or replacement, be sure to contact Red Canyon Roofing! We’re happy to answer any of the questions you might have about slate roofing or asphalt shingles. And, we offer a free estimate as well as a roof inspection.