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Pros & Cons of Slate Roofs

Posted April 4, 2022 by Jerry Becker
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Because asphalt shingles have dominated the roofing market for years, many Portland homeowners aren’t aware that they have other options for roof tiles.

Slate roofs have a lot of benefits over asphalt shingles. Slate tiles are cut from slate, a metamorphic rock made from clay and volcanic ash—making them one of the longest-lasting roof tiles on the market. Slate roofing has pros and cons, but the pros usually outweigh the cons for this premium roof style.

We’ll go over the pros and cons of slate roofing to help you decide whether it’s the right choice for your home.

Pros of Slate Roofing

The pros of slate roofing include:

  • Curb appeal
  • Longevity
  • Durability
  • Environmentally friendly

Curb Appeal

Slate tiles have a classic look that homeowners have favored for centuries. Slate’s natural texture, clean-cut lines, and matte gray finish adds tons of curb appeal to a home—giving it a stylish, opulent look that will look great even a hundred years from now.

Plus, slate roofing is available in a variety of colors (like gray, black, red, terracotta, brown, purple, and green), textures, thicknesses, sizes, and patterns—so you can find the tile that gives your home your unique touch.

Not to mention, between the added curb appeal and other benefits of slate roofing, installing a slate roof will boost your home’s value.

Longevity

If installed and maintained properly, slate roofs can be one of the longest-lasting roof tiles—lasting up to 150 years.

To last as long as possible, slate roofs should be:

  • Installed properly. Installing a slate roof isn’t like installing other roof types. It requires extensive knowledge not only about how to correctly install slate tiles so they don’t crack, but also which materials to use to make sure the roofing components don’t wear out significantly faster than the tiles.
  • Maintained regularly. While slate roofs require less maintenance than other roof types, they still need to be cared for and inspected on a regular basis. Our roofing experts recommend getting a slate roof cleaning every 3 years.

To find out how slate roofs compare in longevity to other roof types, visit our blog “How Long Does a Roof Last?

Durability

The most common reason for roof repairs and replacements is damage from Portland’s weather. Since slate is a naturally occurring stone, it’s not susceptible to the elements the way synthetic roofing tiles are.

Slate roofing is resistant to:

  • Fire. Because slate is stone, it won’t catch fire from airborne sparks.
  • Moss and mildew growth. Slate is a very dense material, which means it doesn’t absorb water as much as other, more porous roof tiles. Moss and mildew need a lot of water to grow, so they have a harder time growing on slate roofs.
  • Frost damage. Because slate doesn’t absorb much water, it’s not likely to crack or break due to damage from freezing.
  • Wind damage. Slate tiles are pretty heavy, which means they hold up well against high winds.

Environmentally Friendly

Slate roofing is an eco-friendly roofing choice because it’s:

  • Recyclable. Slate and other stones can be salvaged, recycled, and reused for other purposes.
  • Durable. A mark of an eco-friendly product is one that lasts a long time and doesn’t need to be replaced often. Slate roofs need replacing less frequently than other roofs, making them an eco-friendly roofing choice.
  • Natural. Unlike other roof types, slate isn’t made of non-biodegradable materials (like fiberglass) that can harm the environment. When slate roofs do need to be replaced, they won’t harm the environment.

Now, we’ll get into some drawbacks of slate roofing.

Cons of Slate Roofs

The cons of slate roofs include:

  • Added weight
  • High installation cost

We’ll go over each con in more detail.

Added Weight

Being made of natural stone, slate tiles are very heavy—almost 4 times heavier than the average asphalt roof. On average, a square (100 square feet) of slate roofing can weigh 800–1,400 pounds, depending on the thickness of the slate.

Since slate tiles are so heavy, the roof’s structure needs to be able to support the additional weight. If your house doesn’t currently have a slate roof or a different roof that’s also naturally heavy, you may need to have the roof’s structure reinforced to make sure the added load won’t make the roof cave in.

High Installation Cost

Slate roofing can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 per square to install.

Slate roofs are more expensive to install than other roof types (like asphalt) because:

  • Slate costs more to manufacture
  • Slate tiles need a special installation process, which requires an expert roofer

However, when it comes to installing a slate roof, you’ll get what you pay for. If you go with the cheapest roof installer, you’ll likely pay more money in future repairs—due to careless or improper installation.

More often than not, you’re better off going with higher-priced, but also higher-quality, professionals—like our expertly trained roofers at Roof Life of Oregon—who will make sure to properly install your slate roof so it lasts the century and a half that it should.

You can learn more about the costs of different roof types, including composite tiles, in our blog.

Compromise With Composite Tiles

Want a roof that looks like slate but is more affordable? We install Brava composite tiles, which give slate tiles a run for their money in terms of appearance, lifespan, and eco-friendliness.

With composite tiles, you also don’t have to worry about:

  • Added weight. Composite tiles are much more lightweight than slate tiles, which means you won’t have to pay additional costs to reinforce your roof (if it needs to be reinforced, that is).
  • Debris damaging the tiles. Brava composite tiles undergo rigorous impact testing to make sure they can withstand being hit by heavy objects.

Need a Slate Roof Specialist in Portland? Contact Us Today.

Call us at (503) 925-0125 or fill out the form below to get a quote to install a slate roof on your home.

At Roof Life of Oregon, our professionals will go over the pros and cons of slate roofing to help you decide whether it’s the best roof option for your home. We genuinely care about your home, so we’ll make sure you get a slate roof that makes your house look great for centuries.

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