Are Slate Tiles Right For Your Roof?

Slate tile roofs give every home an elegant and unique appearance, but they aren't perfect for every roof. If you are considering replacing your old roof with slate tiles, check out these six important facts. They'll help you determine if slate tiles are the right choice for your roof.

How Much Weight Can Your Roof Handle?

Slate roof tiles are one of the heaviest roofing materials, and if your roof doesn't have the strength to support them, they could actually cause your roof to collapse. For a typical ¼ inch slate tile, the weight equals a whopping 1000 pounds per roofing square. Most likely, your current roof can't support this material, so it's important to have it evaluated for strength. A skilled slate roofer can help determine what additional support systems you'll need before the tiles can be installed.

Does Your Roof Have a High Slope?

One feature all slate roofs share is a high slope. If your roof's slope is at least 4 inches, a slate roof could be a good choice. If you have a lower sloped roof, however, slate tiles are out of the question for a few reasons. First, flatter roofs make it easy to climb up there and walk around, but walking on slate tiles is one of the best ways to damage them. With a steeper roof, you are less likely to go up there and walk around. Another reason the roof should be sloped is related to the weight. Slate tile roofs are already heavy enough. Add a bunch of heavy snow, and it is sure to collapse. A steep roof allows the snow to slide off easier than a low roof.

Can You Afford a Costly Investment?

Slate roof tiles are breathtaking and create a unique appearance for any home, but they come with a high price. The exact price per square foot depends on many factors, including the quality of slate, but slate tiles typically cost between $9 and $40 per square foot. By comparison, asphalt shingles cost about $1 to $4 per square foot. The fact that you have to have a steep roof in order to install a slate tile roof only adds to the cost because it means there is more area to cover.

Do You Want Something That Will Last?

The good news is that once your slate tile roof is installed, you probably won't ever have to replace it in your lifetime. Slate tiles can last from 40 to an incredible 200 years. Of course, the exact life depends on how well you maintain the roof and the quality of the roofing materials. Slate tiles are pretty durable, so maintenance is limited. Although walking on them is not advisable, they do withstand other wear and tear well, including water, fire and extreme weather.

Are You Willing to Find a Skilled Roofer?

Most roofers can install an asphalt shingle roof, but for a slate roof, you'll need to shop around because the process is more complicated. Look for a skilled roofer with experience in installing slate roofs, and don't be afraid to ask for references. If you fail to get a skilled slate tile roofer, your roof won't last as long and will need repairs more often. Finding the right roofer may take time, and you may end up paying more for someone with unique experience, but it is worth it.

What About Synthetic Slate?

If you don't have the right roof for slate or you just can't afford authentic slate, consider synthetic slate tiles. They are designed to look just like slate, but they cost less. Synthetic slate also weighs less and withstands foot-traffic better, so you can install them on a lower roof and won't need additional support. Synthetic slate, however, doesn't last as long as authentic slate.

Slate tiles may be the perfect way to add style to your home. Even if authentic slate isn't perfect for your home, consider synthetic slate to get the same beautiful look. For more information about slate or synthetic slate tiles, contact a residential roofing contractor in your area today. 


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