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How Much Does a Slate Roof Cost?

May 29th, 2023 | 5 min. read

How Much Does a Slate Roof Cost?

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If you’re considering upgrading your old roof to a new slate roof, it will be a sizable investment. The investment is worth it if you want a beautiful, “forever” roof. 

The real question is, how much will you actually have to invest? Unfortunately, the roofing industry doesn't like to talk about pricing. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing hasn’t been afraid to address the cost of a slate roof or any other roof type like the rest of the industry. Because of this, I’ll give you an idea of how much you’ll have to invest in a new slate roof and more. 

This article answers the following questions:

  • What is a slate roof?
  • How much does a slate roof cost?
  • What impacts the cost of a slate roof?
  • How does the weight factor into the cost of a slate roof?

What is a slate roof?

Before we get to how much it will cost, you need to know what a slate roof is. A slate roof is a premium roof system made primarily out of natural slate tiles and other slate roofing materials.

how much does a slate roof cost

It’s one of the most beautiful and long-lasting roof systems on the market. Because of the aesthetics, shingle manufacturers make asphalt shingles to mimic the look of a slate roof. 

The slate itself is mined (mostly in Italy) and cut into square tiles that are installed on your roof one at a time. Every individual slate tile is easily breakable and must be handled carefully during installation.

It takes a really skilled roofer or someone that’s been trained properly to handle and install the slate tiles. Because of this, hiring a local roofing contractor with experience installing slate roofs is crucial.

How much does a slate roof cost?

No two roofs are ever going to be the same price. So, the price for your new slate roof wouldn’t be the same as your neighbors. 

Because of this, it’s impossible to give you an exact price without coming to your home and inspecting your roof. However, I can give you an idea on the price range for a new slate roof.

For labor and materials, you can expect a slate roof to start around $15.00 per square foot and has the potential to get up to around $30.00 or more per square foot. 

how much does a slate roof cost

That means you can expect to pay at least 4 times more for a slate roof than an asphalt roof. This makes slate one of the most expensive types of roofing materials on the market for a roof replacement. 

Just know that the payoff is worth it for the curb appeal and lifespan that comes with it. However, most homeowners will not be able to afford a slate roof. 

What impacts the cost of your new roof?

Now that you have an idea of the cost of a slate roof, you need to understand why it’s so expensive. The cost of a new slate roof depends on multiple factors that vary from roof to roof

Below is a list of the factors that a roofing contractor considers when quoting the cost of a new slate roof:

  • Slate tiles and slate roofing accessories
  • The rest of your roofing components (underlayment, vents, etc.)
  • Labor and time
  • Your roof’s accessibility
  • The number of penetrations your roof has
  • Your roof’s size and the complexity of it
  • The amount of decking that may need to be replaced
  • Dump fees
  • Operating costs

While your actual roof plays a big role in your slate roof’s cost, a lot of it comes down to your specific roofing contractor’s costs. However, the slate itself is expensive (especially if it’s shipped from overseas), and the installation of the tiles is intensive, which skyrockets labor costs. 

At the end of the day, a slate roof is one of the most expensive roofing materials for a reason. But remember, the investment is forever, and it’ll be the last roof you ever install on your home.

How does the weight factor into the cost of a new slate roof?

While we just covered what impacts the cost of your new roof, one factor specific to a slate roof wasn’t included in the list above. That’s the weight factor of installing a new slate roof on your home. 

Slate roofs are so heavy your house actually has to be built or framed to carry the weight of the slate tiles. This ensures the walls of your home won’t fall out, and your roof won’t buckle under the weight.

If your home can’t withstand the weight of your slate roof the way it is, you’ll have to retrofit it. This must be approved and done by a structural engineer before the roof can even be installed. 

If you have to do retrofitting or new framing, the cost of your new slate roof drastically increases. That’s why it’s crucial to ask your roofing contractor about the weight factor, if your home can handle it, and how much retrofitting your home impacts the final cost of a slate roof. 

How does a slate roof compare to a synthetic slate roof?

Now you know how much your new slate roof will cost and the main factors that impact the price. As I said, most homeowners won’t be able to afford a slate roof. 

That’s why synthetic shingles that mimic the slate look have become increasingly popular. However, synthetic shingles are newer to the roofing industry and most homeowners don’t know much about them. 

So, if you like the slate look but can’t afford a natural slate roof, synthetic slate shingles might be right for you. That’s why I wrote another article comparing a natural slate roof to a synthetic slate roof. 

Check out Slate Roof vs. Synthetic Slate Roof to learn how the two types of roofing materials match up to determine which one is right for you. 

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