What is Slate Roofing?
Let’s talk about a specialty roofing material, slate. We recently posted a gorgeous home in Charlotte, NC, with GAF Slateline shingles on our Instagram. This shingle with bold shadow lines and tapered cut-outs creates a slate roofing appearance but at a fraction of the cost. Well, we spoke, and Charlotte listened – we’ve been blown away by the questions we’ve received since posting! We decided to put together a complete guide to explain the benefits of this material and the cost-effectiveness of other building materials that look like it.
Slate roofing is one of the highest-quality materials with an incredibly long lifespan, lasting 100+ years on residential homes. If you remember, asphalt shingle roofs have a general lifespan of 25-30 years. This material quality and lifespan come at a cost, though, literally. For centuries, slate has been highly acclaimed for its natural beauty and remarkable longevity. Investing in this roofing material is a significant financial commitment. Therefore, it’s critical to learn about the advantages and the drawbacks before you make a buying decision.
Slate tiles consist of sections of a specific type of stone cut to the appropriate shape for use as roofing tiles. These tiles are durable, fireproof, and waterproof and no two pieces are alike because it’s a natural stone product. Depending on the mineral composition, they can have purple, green, black, or gray tones. Cool, right?
What is the cost of Slate Roofs?
One of the factors that deter many residential homeowners from choosing slate is the cost associated with the material and the labor. Depending on the grade, thickness, and quality – you should expect to pay between $60.00 and $80.00 per square foot for the material alone. With the installation included, your total cost can range between $60,000 – over $100,000. As you know, the cost of roof replacements varies, given the market and your roofing contractor. With slate roofing, you’ll want to be sure your local roofing contractor has experience with installing and replacing slate roofs. We 100% recommend you reach out to a roofing expert to assist you with pricing.
There are huge upsides, primarily because it’s a natural stone product with a unique and beautiful appearance, durability, and a world-renowned lifespan.
Appearance: First, they’re gorgeous, and there isn’t another material on the market that has such a celebrated, classic appearance.
Longevity: Slate roof tiles have a 100-200 year lifespan. As long as a reputable roofing contractor with experience performs the slate installation, you can expect the roof to last for the life of the home.
Fire Resistant: Slate roofs are one of the most fire-resistant roofing materials on the market, and the tiles themselves are entirely fireproof due to their mineral composition.
Other than cost, the cons include tough installation requirements, the fragility of the tiles, and the complications if you need a roof repair.
Poor Installation – Many roofing contractors aren’t familiar with this type of material, and unfortunately, that doesn’t always deter them from installing it anyway. When hiring a local roofing contractor, be sure to ask for references. A poorly installed slate roof can be as ineffective as having no roof at all.
Weight & Durability – Slate roofs can weigh between 800-1,500 pounds per 100 sqft. You’ll need to ensure your structural framing is appropriate to hold the weight. The fragility of the slate tiles can also be a downside – you’ll never want to walk on your slate roof. Since each tile is unique, finding a matching tile to repair broken tiles is difficult.
What is Synthetic Slate?
The roofing industry and available materials have grown exponentially over the last 20 years. Homeowners do have the option of using a synthetic slate material, made with a combination of plastic and rubber, that is made to mirror the look of slate but at about half the cost! Synthetic slate tiles are much less fragile than natural slate tiles.
Installing synthetic slate or replacing a roof with synthetic slate will still be more expensive than a typical asphalt shingle roof replacement. Still, it’s dramatically less costly than installing natural slate.
GAF Slateline Shingles
This entire guide began when we performed a roof inspection for a local Charlotte homeowner with gorgeous shingles, a product made by GAF. We were blown away at how lovely these shingles looked on the home and how much they resembled slate roofing! GAF’s slateline shingles are an asphalt shingle with bold shadow lines and tapered cut-outs, made to resemble a slate roof installation. These shingles come at a fraction of the cost.
The picture above is NOT a natural or synthetic slate roof, but rather a roof installed with these incredible-looking shingles. These allow homeowners an affordable luxury, the look of slate, and all with GAF’s peak performance guarantee. If you’re looking for someone to provide slate roof repair in Charlotte, NC, give us a call today!