The Pros and Cons of a Slate Roof

Slate looks great, but installation can be costly and time-consuming

One of the nice things about living in a state as old as New Jersey is that it has quite a few historical buildings. While many have been torn down or extensively remodeled, some actually haven’t changed that much since they were built centuries ago. The Jacobus-Cammeryer House in Montville is a great example. Though it has modern updates, its historical legacy remains intact. 

If you have ever driven by it, one of the things you probably noticed was its slate roof. In fact, it’s so striking, that perhaps this home – or another like it – made you consider getting a slate roof for your own house. But before you commit, here are things you should know about slate and the installation process.  

Advantages of a slate roof

Beauty – A home with a slate roof immediately stands out; even newer houses look rustic and classy. 

Durability – When it is installed properly and maintained well, a slate roof could last up to 150 years or longer. 

Protection – Water can’t penetrate slate, and it also won’t be affected by things like mold or fungus. In addition, slate is completely fireproof. 

Eco-friendly – Because a slate roof can be recycled, it is one of the best roofing material choices when thinking about the environment. 

Disadvantages of a slate roof

Cost – As pretty as a slate roof looks, the sticker shock alone may put you off. Prices will vary, but you can count on a slate roof costing several times more than a basic asphalt shingle roof of the same size. 

Weight – Slate tiles are very heavy, weighing up to 15 pounds per square foot, which puts a massive strain on a home’s structure. Some homes need extra reinforcement in order to be able to bear the weight. 

Fragility – Slate may look tough, but it is actually pretty fragile. If, for example, a tree branch fell on your slate roof, this could cause a lot of expensive damage. It may also be difficult finding replacement tiles that match perfectly. 

Installation – In addition to being expensive, the installation of a slate roof requires expertise. If a specialist doesn’t do the work, it may not be installed properly, which can lead to big problems. Plus, the process is very labor-intensive. Because the tiles are so heavy and fragile, they have to be treated with extreme care, which means installation can take a long time. And if a roof has a steep incline or things like dormers or valleys, this will slow things down even more. Homes with two stories also pose a challenge because of the extra height involved in transporting the tiles. 

The better alternative to slate

Clearly, slate roofing isn’t for every home or every homeowner. The good news is that it is possible to have a brand-new roof that looks almost exactly like slate but without the negative attributes. This is where slate composite comes in. This synthetic form of slate looks just like the real thing but has many distinct benefits, including:

Much lighter weight – Composite slate tiles are made of plastic and rubber, which makes them significantly lighter than actual slate. This means they won’t put a big strain on a home, and the installation process is much easier and faster. 

Reduced costs – The faster installation time means lower costs. Plus, the composite tiles themselves are inexpensive

Enhanced durability – Synthetic slate tiles are actually stronger than real slate, and they won’t break, crack, or rot. They are fire-resistant and offer excellent protection against harsh weather. These tiles will easily hold up well for 50 years. 

Improved aesthetics – Natural slate has a nice appearance, but it pretty much just comes in one color: gray. If you’re not a huge fan of gray or perhaps it doesn’t quite go with your home’s hue, you have a lot more color choices with composite. 

Want to learn more about composite slate?
If your home is in need of a new roof, or perhaps you are planning a redesign and are thinking about synthetic slate, get in touch with Blue Nail. Tell us about your project, and we will discuss all of the options we offer. We use materials from DaVinci Roofscapes, the leader manufacturer of composite slate tiles, and you can take a look at their website to learn more about their products and to get an idea of what your roof could look like. For a free consultation from Blue Nail, you can call us at 973-937-8876 or send us a message through our online contact form.