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What Is A Slate Roof?

For the past two weeks we have been all about roofs.  We’ve discussed Energy Star shingles, asphalt roofing, roof pitch, and shingle selection.  As we’ve said in our previous posts, asphalt shingles are used for seventy-five percent of roofing projects in the Midwest.  However, today we’d like to discuss an alternative material option – that of the slate roof.  A slate roof is just that – made of slate, a type of metamorphic rock which is highly durable and thus, very suitable for roofing.  Here is the lowdown on slate:

Appearance:  While slated does have a distinctive aesthetic, it does offer some variation in both size and thicknesses, as well as a wide range of colors (varying somewhat by region), including gray, green, purple, black, red, and mottled tiles that sport several colors mixed together.  However, it is important to note that some colors will change in both shade and hue over time.

Durability: When properly installed, a slate roof is decidedly durable and able to withstand heavy snow accumulation and rain for several years.  That said, the occasional shingle is at risk of falling off in severely inclement weather.  In addition slate is one of the most fire resistant roofing materials available and has a high invulnerably to rot and insects.  As such, slate has a life expectancy of nearly a century – a far cry from the twenty to thirty year longevity of most modern roofing systems.

Cost: Cost is one of the greatest disadvantages of the slate roof as it is significantly more expensive than most alternative roofing materials – up to five times the cost of other materials.  In addition, installation can incur significant costs.  Because of the considerable weight of slate – estimated to weigh in at 800 to 1,500 pounds per 100 square feet – the roof typically needs to be reinforced to support the shingles.

Stay tuned for our next installment on shake roofs!

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