Are slate roofs good?

slate roof

The history of slate roofs

Slate roofing is found as far back as the 12th century in the United Kingdom country of Wales. Primarily found on structures of stature like castles and churches because of its cost. By the 1600s, slate roofs had made their way across the pond to America where they would become increasingly popular, peaking by the early 1900s. 

In the past few years, slate roofs have become popular in America once again, especially with renovating historic homes that were once a symbol of stature. Why the popularity now? Perhaps that slate roof benefits are strong contenders when compared to asphalt shingles or other roofing materials, such as the following:

Slate roof benefits that are a strong attraction for homeowners:

  • Aesthetic Beauty and Distinct Appearance: A slate roof draws attention to itself because of its uniqueness. It has an aesthetic beauty all its own, and the texture of slate gives it a distinct appearance, especially brought out by the many colors available. 
  • It Proves Itself to Be Durable: A slate roof has been known to last 150 years look at its origin in the UK where castles and churches are thousands of years old and the slate roof remains still today. Not to mention slate roof is also fire resistant.

Why is slate so expensive?

The expense of a slate roof begins where it comes from and how it is obtained. Slate originates from shale-type sedimentary rock that is clay or volcanic ash which was metamorphosed into illite or quartz and muscovite. 

It is then quarried in blocks that are then split into a smaller, yet large pieces that measure 8’ x 4’ x 8”. Then they are inspected and cut into two-inch slabs that are hand-split even more into 3/16 to 1/4-inch thickness. This is all done by hand by an experienced craftsman on Newfoundland’s east coast, Eastern Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and New York. Colored slate comes from Granville, New York. 

So, depending on where you are located and order a slate roof, the pricing will reflect not on the craftsmanship of the finished product, but the distance it has to be transported. Another factor in the pricing of a slate roof is the weight, with the lightest starting at 650 pounds, and the roofing contractor must carry up to your roof. Slate is difficult to cut and the time for this is painstaking.

Does a slate roof add value?

This would be a definite yes!  First, installing a slate roof on your home will give it a unique appearance and beauty that you will enjoy for years should you live there forever. Or, it also will increase the value of your home, making the curb appeal attractive.

Does slate roof need replacing?

As we stated earlier in this piece, slate roofs came to America from Wales. There are still castles, churches and other stately structures with the same slate roof original to the house from the 12th century. Of all the roofing options available to choose from today, a slate roof will never have to be replaced. 

With that said, and even though a slate roof has a durability reputation, that doesn’t mean that from time to time, a tile won’t need to be repaired or replaced.  Even the best quality of a slate roof can have a failure – but with a slate roof, the entire roof won’t have to be replaced, and that is the money saved. 

If you choose a slate roof, you need to know what to look for if the slate roof is leaking from a loosened tile. Go the attic and look for moisture on the rafters, much like you would if you had an asphalt shingled roof. If the slate tile has become brittle or soft, it will absorb moisture, which leads to rot.

Look around your home from across the street for signs of your slate roof and moss. Moss will damage your slate roof if left alone. It needs to be cleaned by a professional that does not use harsh chemicals or hard pressure. These are two things you want to clarify as you call around for a roof cleaning. 

Can you walk on a slate roof?

While tiles of a slate roof are durable, they need to be treated with delicacy, and this means they shouldn’t be walked on. An experienced roofing contractor will know this and will build a scaffolding over the roof to perform any service on your slate roof.

Some roofs have been in place for close to a century and while the stone is still a durable and effective material, it is possible for it to be damaged. A roofing contractor that is experienced in slate roofs or other contractors like HVAC technician or plumbers will never walk on a slate roof. They will know to erect scaffolding or use prop hook ladders on the side of your home before they start any repairs.

stack of slate materials

How many years does a slate roof last?

Visit Wales and tour the castles and churches, you’ll see slate roofs that are 200 years old or older. Roofing a home is expensive, and as a homeowner, you want a material that will last your home for many years. A slate roof is just the material for you! In most climates and environments, a slate roof can last from 125 years to 200 years, even longer.  You will get your money’s worth from the expense a slate roof will cost. 

Once you have decided to go with a slate roof, keep looking up, that’s where it’s at! Enjoy the beauty it adds to your home and enjoy the cool summer days or warm winter nights that a slate roof will afford you and your family.  For slate roof installation in Baltimore, MD, contact Recovery Roofing & Home Improvement, Inc. today at (410)-288-1633!