new installed slate roof on family house
WRITTEN BY The Embry's Team 6 minutes READ

When it comes to different types of roofs, it’s hard to find a classier choice than a slate roof. It’s a heavy, durable roofing material that uses a reinforced structure for support. 

There are several advantages of a slate roof for both residential homes and commercial buildings. But are the benefits of a slate roof worth the price?

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The following guide will explore the pros and cons of a slate roof.

Pro: Slate Roofing Lifespan

With proper care and maintenance, a slate roof on a home or business can last for over 100 years. In comparison, wood and asphalt shingle roofs typically only last 30 years at most. So if you get a slate roof, you won’t need a replacement as long as you live.

Quality slate shingles last so long because they’re naturally resistant to extreme winds and harsh temperatures. Slate won’t warp even if it’s exposed to a lot of water because it doesn’t absorb moisture.

Slate keeps its stability even if it’s used in areas with excessive cold or hot weather. That’s why it’s a wise long-term roofing investment no matter where you live in the country.

Pro: Eco-Friendly Material

slate roof top with a window

Slate is a natural stone material and manufactured slate shingles don’t undergo very much processing. Making asphalt shingles or metal roofing materials involves using fossil fuels.

So, that’s why a slate roofing makes a better eco-friendly choice if you want to lessen your effect on the environment. As mentioned before, they also last a very long time which reduces transportation needs and harmful emissions.

Pro: It Looks Great

The look of slate roofs hasn’t changed much over the years except for a few more color and texture options. That’s because its timeless look doesn’t require adjusting no matter what year it is.

If you install a slate roof, you can rest assured that it won’t go out of style. Your home or business will always have an elegant curb appeal and more so as the years go on.

Pro: Easy Maintenance

When you buy a slate roof, you don’t have much upkeep to do after its installation. Other than a yearly inspection, they mostly take care of themselves.

Slate doesn’t warp, it doesn’t rust, and its density shields it from mold. Unless you have a good reason to check on its condition, like after a storm, you don’t have to pay much attention to it.

Your annual inspection should include checking for leaks and cracks and removing debris from winter ice buildup.

Pro: High Durability

Slate roofs are fire resistant, which is a huge pro when it comes to protecting your home. If you live in an area with wildfires or brush fires, it’s an especially important advantage.

The slate material also works perfectly for humid areas with excessive moisture. As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to stress about mold or fungus buildup if you go with a slate roof.

Pro: Great Energy Efficiency

new slate roof on house as durable roofing option

Slate roofs use panels with a lot of thickness and density to them. It improves insulation and keeps your HVAC from overworking, which can save you money on your monthly utility bill.

It can help cool down homes in the summer by stopping hot air from penetrating through attics. Slate also keeps homes from becoming too chilly in the winter time by stopping warm air from exiting through the roof.

Con: Higher Costs

Now that we’ve covered the biggest advantages, it’s time for the first drawback of slate roofing which is cost. The cost of slate panels will cost you much more upfront than other roofing materials. If you go with 100% natural slate, that bumps the price up higher.

However, it’s important to remember that prices vary depending on the size and style of different roofs. Not to mention, a lot of slate’s benefits help avoid costly repairs and replacements over time. 

Con: More Weight

Slate’s weight helps make it durable, but its heaviness is a drawback as well. Some homes can’t adjust and handle the weight of heavy slate roofing materials.

fortunately, you can retrofit your home or have special framing put in prior to accommodate the roof if necessary. You’ll just need a structural engineer to approve the changes to make sure your home is ready for the slate roof.

However, adjusting your home to accommodate slate adds more to the already pricey upfront costs.

Con: Complex Installation

It’s crucial that you find a qualified roofing company if you go with slate, and sometimes that’s hard to find. Slate roof installation is complex and physically demanding work.

You should only hire roofing companies with a lot of slate experience or you might end up with several costly problems. Slate requires delicate handling because it’s fragile and heavy at the same time.

The careful handling adds time to the entire process and roofers must use patience and not rush. If your roof has steep inclines or hard areas to reach, slate roofing installation takes even longer.

If you hire specialized slate roofers it usually means you’ll pay more money than you would for a standard roofing job. However, it’s better than going the cheap route and spending a ton of money to fix a bad roof installation later.

Con: Impact Vulnerability

professional installing new slate roof tiles

Slate roofing tiles have excellent resistance to heat and moisture, but they struggle when it comes to impacts. If you ever need to have a professional walk along your roof, they risk cracking tiles.

You don’t want the satellite installer to end up costing you money by accidentally breaking tiles. Other than foot traffic, things like falling tree limbs and other debris also put slate tiles in harm’s way.

If your slate tiles crack, it might lead to leaks and other issues. You can replace cracked tiles but sometimes it’s hard to find perfect matches for their replacement.

Choosing a Slate Roof

The advantages of installing a slate roof far outweigh its drawbacks but that doesn’t mean they’re right for every homeowner. Consider your budget for slate’s upfront costs and how long you plan to live in your home.

You can contact us at Embry’s Roofing for more information on slate tiles and to schedule a free inspection. We have over 45 years of roofing experience and always put our customers first.


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