What You Should Know When Considering Installation of a Slate Roof

Posted on: 8 September 2015

Slate roofs are beautiful and rare, and many homeowners who are thinking about installing a slate roof on their home have much to learn about slate as a roofing material. The more you know about slate roofs, the better equipped you'll be to decide whether or not slate is right for you.

Color Matters

Slate is known for being gray in color, but in reality, slate can be many different colors. Slate comes in green, red, purple, and black. In some cases, different colors can be found on one single piece of slate. Slate can be fading or unfading.

Unfading slate stays the same color for the duration of its existence. Fading slate becomes brown over time. Some fading slate becomes only a little bit brown, while other fading slate may even become 100% brown. The shade of brown that your fading slate becomes will depend on where it was quarried. Ask to see samples at the time of purchase so you can decide for yourself which colors and type are right for you.

Longevity vs. Cost

Slate is famously long-lasting and expensive. In fact, slate can last up to 200 years, which is incredible (and almost unheard of) among roofing materials. Still, tear down of an old roof and installation of a new slate roof can cost up to $1,500 per square. Some homeowners find this cost to be prohibitive until they consider that a standard asphalt shingle may last as little as only 15 years.


Although it is long-lasting, slate is also very brittle, which can make this roofing material impractical in some situations. Slate is an inappropriate roofing choice on homes where the roof is regularly accessed or impacted by outside forces. For example, a home with an air conditioner on the roof makes a bad candidate for a slate roof because the air conditioner will need to be serviced by an HVAC professional. In addition, slate roofs are also a bad idea in areas that experience hail storms on a regular basis.

Installation Difficulties

The high price of slate can deter many homeowners from ever installing it on their home. As a result, many roofing companies have never installed slate, even if they claim to have the ability to install it. Homeowners thinking about purchasing a slate roof of their own must first find a roofing company with a proven track record for success, because an improperly installed slate roof will need roof repair in a matter of years.

If you're thinking about installing a slate roof on your home, contact an experienced roofing professional to find out more about slate. Your roofing contractor will be able to give you an estimate and can answer any other questions you may have.