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What is a Slate Roof? (4 Things to Know About Getting One)

May 5th, 2021 | 6 min. read

What is a Slate Roof? (4 Things to Know About Getting One)

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Choosing the right type of roofing material for your upcoming roof replacement is a huge decision. You have to find the right one based on things like the look you want and your budget. 

There are a lot of great-looking roofing materials out there, but most homeowners would say the roof of their dreams would be slate. But what exactly is a slate roof?

Because we want you to have all the information needed to make this huge decision, we’re going to tell you what a slate roof is and some things you need to know about getting one. 

Since 1990, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has helped homeowners in the Nashville area get the roof of their dreams. We work tirelessly to give you a beautiful roof that fits your budget. And after we’re done with the project, you’ll get a lifetime warranty on our workmanship.  

By the end of this article, you’ll learn what a slate roof is and 4 things you need to know about getting one. 

What is a slate roof?

A slate roof is a premium roof system made primarily out of natural slate tiles and other slate roofing materials. 

what is a slate roof

It’s one of the most beautiful and long-lasting roof systems on the market. Because of its 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. Unlike other roofing materials that come in 3 foot wide strips or metal panels, slate tiles are installed one at a time. 

This makes replacing your old roof with a new slate roof a very slow process. 

4 things to know about getting a new slate roof

Now that you know what a slate roof is, you need to know 4 things about getting a new one. Before deciding if slate is the right roofing material for you, you need to know about the weight factor, how expensive it is, and more. 

1. Your home has to be able to hold the weight of a slate roof 

Slate roofs are incredibly heavy. Because of this, your house actually has to be built or framed to carry the weight of the slate tiles. 

what is a slate roof

This ensures the walls of your home won’t fall out and that your roof won’t cave in. If your home can’t withstand the weight of the slate the way it is, you’ll have to retrofit it so it can hold the weight. 

Retrofitting has to be approved by a structural engineer, and it must be done before the roof can even be installed. If you have to do retrofitting or new framing, it’s really going to add to the cost of your new slate roof. 

If you’re interested in a slate roof, it’s crucial to ask your roofing contractor about the weight factor and how retrofitting your home to handle the weight impacts the final price of a slate roof.

2. Slate is one of the most expensive types of roofing materials

Remember, slate roofs are one of the most durable and longest-lasting roofing materials on the market. But it’s also one of the most expensive types of roofing materials. 

You can actually expect to pay at least 4 times more for a slate roof than you would for an asphalt roof. If you’re looking for affordability, a slate roof is probably not the right type for you. 

But if you’re looking for a beautiful roof that’ll last and you can handle the cost, it’s going to be the last roof you ever install. 

3. Hire a roofing contractor with experience installing slate roofs

Hiring a reputable roofing contractor is crucial to your slate roof investment. As long as your slate roof is installed and flashed properly, you shouldn’t have to worry about it again. 

That makes hiring a local roofing contractor that has experience installing slate roofs crucial to your investment. The reason for this is because it takes a really skilled roofer or someone that’s been trained properly to handle and install the slate tiles. 

Each individual tile has to be carefully handled because they’re easily breakable. If the installers don’t know how to do this, the slate tiles will break, you’ll have problems (leaks), and your roof’s life will be cut short. 

No matter if you need repairs or a full roof replacement, your contractor plays a huge role in the life you get out of your slate roof. But a history of proper roof installation isn’t the only thing you need to look for when hiring a local roofing contractor.

To ensure you hire a great local contractor, check out this article on what you need to look for in a roofing contractor

4. Slate roofs don’t come with a material warranty

When you invest in a new roof, you’ll have two warranties. You’ll have one on the contractor’s workmanship and one from the manufacturer on your roofing materials.

However, slate tiles are naturally made, so there’s no manufacturer warranty on the roofing materials. This leaves you with only your contractor’s workmanship warranty to rely on for your slate roof. 

Because of this, it’s crucial to hire a high-quality local roofing contractor that stands behind their work. A contractor’s workmanship warranty can be anywhere from a tail light warranty (as soon as you see their company truck’s tail lights disappear, your warranty is gone), to a two-year, five-year, 10-year, or even a lifetime warranty. 

To get the best slate roof possible, you should always look for a contractor that offers you a lifetime warranty. To learn more about roof warranties, read this article on what roof warranties cover

How long does a slate roof actually last?

Now you know 4 important things about getting a new slate roof. After reading this, you should have a good idea if a slate roof is right for your replacement. 

If you know a slate roof isn’t going to be right for you, you’ll find a button at the bottom of this page that’ll take you to a free 3 question quiz. The Roof Type quiz helps you find the right type of roof based on questions every homeowner needs to consider. 

But if you’re still considering a slate roof, there’s still one crucial thing we didn’t cover here. That’s how much life you’ll get out of your slate roof investment. To help you even further, we already broke it down for you in another article. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roof repairs and replacements in Nashville and surrounding areas since 1990. We take pride in providing you an experience rare in the roofing industry based on advising, honesty, and a strong workmanship history. If you’re local to Nashville, don’t hesitate to contact us for your slate roof or any other roofing needs.

To learn the lifespan of a new slate roof, check out this article on How Long Does a Slate Roof Last? (& 3 Things That Impact the Lifespan).

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