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Slate Roofing

Slate Roofing: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Slate roofing is known as one of the highest quality, long-lasting roofing materials on the market. However, it costs more than most other roofing materials, and it can be difficult to install. Slate roofing tiles are also known to be very fragile in rough weather conditions.  We’ll offer you a list of pros and cons so you can decide whether slate roofing will be right for your home:

Appearance – Many homeowners are drawn to slate roofing because of its natural beauty. These tiles also offer choices in a wide variety a wide range of colors that can match with a variety of homes.

Longevity – The average life span of a roof is 15 to 30 years.  The average life span of a slate roof is 150 years.  This is an obvious big plus. 

Fire Resistance – Unlike most other roofing materials, slate tiles themselves are completely fireproof, which can be a big plus on the Fourth of July or (God forbid) an adjacent house fire.

Environmentally Friendly— According to research we found from The Durable Slate Roofing Company, roofing waste comprises more than five percent of the total waste sent to landfills each year.  Since much of that waste comes from roofing that is replaced every 15 to 30 years, a roof that can last over 150 years will be five to ten times more “green.”

Difficulty of Installation— According to roofing expert Joseph Jenkins, most roofing contractors don’t know much about slate roofing, as it is quite difficult to install.  Unfortunately, most of them try to do it anyway, and this often leads to problems. When you hire a contractor, make sure he knows what he’s doing.  Ask for references from homeowners who’ve had slate roofing installed. A well-installed slate roof will last the rest of your life – and then some. A poorly installed one will lead you to an early grave.

Weight— According to Vermont Specialty Slate, “the average weight of one square of ¼” thick roofing slate is 800 pounds.”  Before you install, you’ll need to have your home evaluated to make sure it can take the heavy weight of slate roofing tile.

Durability – Slate is a fragile material, as it can split and spall easily.  So a contractor must be careful if he’s going to walk across the roof to do anything.  Replacing broken tiles is difficult as well.  They’re sold in lots, which change frequently, making it nearly impossible to find a perfect match for the original tiles you had installed.

Cost – Finally, slate tiles are also very expensive. Prices can range from approximately $1,000 to $8,000 per square. That makes for a huge investment if you choose slate roofing tile for your home.   While it does cost a lot initially, it can last a long time if done correctly, so you could save money on repairs and reinstallation in the long run.  Ultimately, you have to decide whether it’s right for you.  Consult with a contractor if you’re not sure: he’ll guide you towards the right decision.


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