For over 200 years, builders have utilized the natural beauty of slate tiles for their roof homes and buildings. However, the high slate prices, due to labor-intensive manufacturing and installing difficulties may outweigh its benefits. Slate tile's fragility makes it prone to cracks and breaks, which leads to costly maintenance and repairs. To determine a natural-slate roof's cost, you must consider both installation and long-term expenses.
What is Slate?
Slate is a fine-grained-foliated rock that easily splits into thin slabs. It contains grains of mica (in small, irregular scales), chlorite (in flakes), and quartz (in lens-shaped grains). Natural slate is an attractive building product for flooring, exterior paving, dimension stone, decorative aggregate, and roofing.
Architects and homeowners appreciate slate because it comes in many textures and beautiful colors: greys, green, red, black, purple, and brown. The color depends on the type of iron and organic material present in the rock. However, the expense of slate often limits its use to high-end projects and prestigious architecture.
How Slate Forms
Slate forms from shale (a sedimentary rock made of clay minerals and fine particles of quartz) through the process of metamorphosis. Simply put, when buried deep in the Earth's crust and exposed to extreme heat, the clay minerals of shale transform into mica and chlorite through the process of recrystallization. The downward pressure from burial and crustal movement squeeze the mica and other platy materials (small, flat, and flaky crystals) into parallel layers (rock cleavage), forming slate. The parallel layers allow the slate to break easily along these planes.
The Cost of Slate
The high cost of materials and installation of a slate roof may deter many homeowners. The total slate roofing costs per roofing square (100 square feet) range from $1200 to $3300 — the most expensive roofing material on the market. Material costs for a slate roof vary greatly depending on the durability, color, and thickness. The most attractive and sturdy slate tiles can cost a staggering amount of money — three times more than a lesser-quality-slate tile. The range in installation costs generally represents the expertise of the roofing contractor. The longevity and performance of a slate roof depend on proper installation by an experienced contractor specializing in slate roofing, which will cost a homeowner more, but is essential to the roof's success.
The cost of slate shingles ranges from $500 to $1700 per square, depending on the durability, color, and thickness you choose. The expense of slate roofing reflects the dangers and difficulties in mining the stone, and the labor-intensive requirements to manufacture the slabs into shingles.
- Natural-slate tiles come in two types, hard and soft. Hard tiles are more durable, but you pay for it upfront. Choosing the less expensive soft-slate tiles will cost you more over time on repair and replacement in order to maintain your slate roof's integrity and beauty.
- The cost of slate tiles also varies based on two categories of color: weathering and permanent shades. Over time, the exposed surface of weathering shades will change to grey, brown, or rust. Permanent shades do not fade and can cost up to 25 percent more than weathering.
- The price of slate tiles increases with each thickness: standard ¼-inch, rough ¼ to ⅜-inch, architectural ⅜ to ½-inch, heavy ½ to ¾-inch, and the most costly, estate, at ¾-inch.
It is important to know that other materials, like underlayment, drip edging, and special tools, will add an additional $100 per roofing square.
Labor costs can vary based on the slope, pitch, and size of a home's roof. However, the tiles' weight and the need for an expert slate roofing contractor for the installation make it more expensive than the installation of most other roofing materials. Labor costs to install a slate roof can range from $600 to $1,500 per roofing square. Installing a slate roof costs more than other roofing products because it weighs 800 to 1,500 pounds per square, making it difficult for workers to handle. Furthermore, the weight of slate often requires extra structural support to the home or building. The fragility of slate makes it prone to breaking during and after installation, particularly if walked on. A cracked or broken slate tile requires immediate repair to prevent moisture infiltration/damage. It may be difficult to replace a natural-slate-roof tile with a perfect match because of the uniqueness of each lot of slate tiles.
A Cost-Effective Alternative to Slate
Old World Slate roofing shingles at Brava Roof Tile are a cost-effective alternative to high-maintenance and a fragile, natural slate. Our durable composite tiles maintain their beauty and charm for the roof's lifetime with practically no maintenance.
You can avoid the costly repairs of a natural-slate roof by using our beautiful synthetic slate roof tiles. Class 4 impact-rated, Brava Old World Slate-roofing shingles will resist damage from hail, water, and extreme temperatures. They are available in Class A or Class C fire ratings. They are lightweight, and easy to install, further reducing installation expense.
Best of all, all of our Brava products include a 50-year-limited warranty.
The Cost of Synthetic Slate Shingles
If you want the beauty of natural slate, but need a durable roof that does not require a costly substructure for heavy tiles, consider Brava composite slate. It will save you money on both installation and long-term costs for your new roof — and we back it with a 50-year limited warranty. Both lightweight and strong, Brava composite-slate roofs will save on installation costs. In addition, they will lessen, if not eliminate, the expensive maintenance and repair costs that are associated with natural slate.
Brava's Old World Slate-polymer tiles save both the builder and homeowner time and money when it comes to installation.
The Old World Slate tile's 1-inch (2.54-cm) profile mimics the size of natural-slate roof tiles,but without all of the heavy weight. Lightweight-synthetic-slate shingles feature less expensive shipping costs and ease of installation, compared to natural slate.
Workers can easily field-cut the synthetic slate shingles with a utility knife, then with a pneumatic nail gun and standard roofing nails, nail the shingles in place.
Save Money Without Sacrificing Quality
Brava's Old World Slate tiles provide the elegance of natural slate, but with added durability — a feature that saves time and money both during and after installation. You will save money and time on repairs and maintenance because they provide the best protection against moisture, impact, color fading, and structural damage. Best of all, our energy-efficient synthetic-composite tiles will reduce your monthly energy bills! Please contact your local Brava Roof Tile installer for a free quote on Brava Old World synthetic slate roofing, or reach out to us directly online today.