What is a Slate Roof? 5 Essential Things to Know About Slate Tiles

What is a Slate Roof? 5 Essential Things to Know About Slate Tiles

A slate roof is all at once elegant and unique. You cannot find a neighborhood where every other home has one. Part of the fascination of slate is the picture it brings to mind of fine European cottages and New England mansions. Known for its clean lines and durability, architects have recommended slate roofing for centuries. We love to see natural products used in architectural designs. Live edge wood siding, hand-baked bricks and natural rock fireplaces, and slate, add a feeling of warmth and coziness to our homes that can’t be matched with standard residential building materials.

What Is Slate Roofing?

Slate is a metamorphic rock, which means it has changed state from one type of rock into another. In the case of slate, mudstone was the original material, and the change is brought about by temperature and pressure over many years. The majority of slate is currently mined in Europe and Brazil. The American mines are primarily located in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Once mined from the ground, the slate is split into layers by hand or by machine, and subjected to inspection and further refinement before being used in landscaping or as roofing tiles.

Slate is sold either hard or soft. Hard slate will last the longest, but is also more expensive. Soft slate can be found for half the price, but has about half the life expectancy. Both are durable choices and the price difference may be the deciding factor in which you choose. Colored slate is normally hard while plain black is the predominant color of soft slate.

5 Important Things To Know About Slate Roofing

1. How Long Will A Slate Roof Last?

Slate roofs have been found on homes that are more than 100 years old, and depending on the quality of the slate, the stone may last longer than the home. However, that doesn’t mean that your warranty will extend over that period of time. Slate is a natural product, and many companies do not warranty the rock itself, so you may only have coverage on the workmanship. In addition, all slate roof warranties do not transfer from one homeowner to the next, so before buying a home with a slate roof, be sure to do your research.

2. Installing A Slate Roof

Professionals that are familiar with the installation of a slate roof will have the specialty tools required to complete the project. Tools like a slater’s hammer are used for cutting and trimming the tiles as well as punching a hole for the nails. Other tools like a guillotine are used for more precise cuts. Remember, special care needs to be observed during installation to avoid excessive tile breakage. Roofers that are familiar with slate will have the extra ladders, hooks, clips and proper nails to ensure you have a long-lasting roof.

3. Slate Increases The Market Price Of Your Home

If you are shopping for a home, nothing will catch your attention quicker than a beautiful slate roof, and appraisers are aware of slate’s added value as well. While no home improvement brings 100% return on investment, slate is expected to provide a 80% ROI in terms of the expected cost to value return. A slate roof is an investment in the future.

4. Slate Resists The Elements

Slate roofing tiles are solid stone and therefore resist fire, ice, and mold damage better than asphalt or wood shingles. Their increased weight gives them an advantage over other roofing materials in resisting winds and hail damage.

5. What Is The Real Cost Of A Slate Roof?

Slate has many positive features, however there are some downsides that need to be calculated in coming up with a cost of ownership.

  • Maintenance. Only experienced slate installers should be used for repairs. Since slate is brittle, it is dangerous to walk on. If not properly handled,performing maintenance could cause more damage than you started with.
  • A slate roof costs 3-4 times more than a standard shingle roof.
  • The weight of slate may require additional roof support, which could cost thousands of dollars.
  • Finding a roofer with experience installing slate can be difficult.

Are there alternatives that provide the look of slate without the negatives?

Brava Synthetic Roof Tiles Provide The Beauty Of Slate Without The High Cost

Synthetic slate tiles are a cost-effective substitute for real slate, providing the beauty of natural stone and the consistency of a manufactured product. Brava’s Old World Slate is the only composite slate shingle on the market that is available in multiple colors, giving you the choice between a solid color or a blend.

  • Our tiles are made from 100%-recycled materials and can be recycled again, making them one of the most eco-friendly roofing products on the market.
  • Synthetic slate is very light and will not require any additional roof support.
  • Brava tiles can be installed by most professional roofers without needing specialized equipment.
  • Zero maintenance needed.

All of our roof products are protected by a 50-year limited warranty and we ship to almost anywhere in the world. Contact us today to request your free samples and speak to one of our customer service professionals about the advantages of installing BRAVA roof tiles.