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Slate Roofs

A Stately Addition to Your Suburban Castle

Slate roof shingles have been used in construction for hundreds of years, beginning with European castle towers in the 13th century. Possessing natural durability and workability, slate also has an aesthetic appeal that is unrivaled among roofing products. If you can get around the high initial cost, a new slate roof will provide you with decades of worry-free roof protection, not to mention a little envy from your neighbors.

Slate Roof Benefits

Reasons to install natural slate roofing on your home include the following:
  • Durability: As a natural stone product, slate has exceptional weather-resistant properties. When properly installed, a slate roof should last a minimum of 50 years. In fact, some historical buildings have slate roofs that are hundreds of years old.
  • Beauty: With several different shades, sizes, and thicknesses to choose from - all of them endowed with the natural beauty of stone - slate roof tiles can accentuate any exterior color scheme and add tremendous curb appeal.
  • Fire Rating: Unlike most other roof coverings, natural slate tiles are completely fireproof, protecting your house from airborne sparks, lightning, and other leading causes of home fires.
  • Waste Reduction: Some roof materials need to be stripped and replaced every 10 to 20 years, resulting in tremendous waste. Slate, on the other hand, should easily last for as long as you own your home. This will not only save you money in reroofing and repair costs, but it also reduces the strain on crowded landfills.

Comparing Natural Slate and Synthetic Slate

While the benefits of natural slate are impressive, it is important that you understand a couple of potential issues posed by the material. Because slate roof tiles are very heavy, some homes might need additional roof framing to support the load. Slate roof tiles can also be difficult to replace when damaged or broken.

There are, however, a number of products on the market that simulate the look of natural slate, but don't have the drawbacks associated with the real thing. To begin with, synthetic slate roofs cost much less than natural slate roofs. Synthetic tiles are also a fraction of the weight of natural slate tiles, and require less time and money to repair.

But while some synthetic slate roof manufactures offer a 50 year warranty on their products, you should approach them with due diligence. Many of these products are new, and their long-term performance is as of yet unproven. Take care to research any synthetic slate product you might be considering and decide whether the hype lives up to the reality.

Slate Roof Costs

  • Natural slate roofs cost $20 to $40 per square foot installed. On an average-sized 1,200 square foot roof, this works out to a total cost of roughly $24,000 to $48,000.
  • Synthetic slate roofs cost $6 to $12 per square foot installed. For a roof with 1,200 square feet, that's a total estimated cost of $7,000 to $14,400.
  • The overall cost of a slate roof might increase if your home has a steep roof pitch and/or a complex roof design (i.e. many dormers and valleys).

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