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Everything You Need To Know About Slate Tile Roofs

Many different roofing options exist, and while asphalt shingles are still one of the more popular, many homeowners prefer the beauty and uniqueness of slate tile roofs. If your current roof is getting old, and you've been considering replacement, check out everything you need to know about slate tile roofs.

What Are Slate Tile Roofs?

Slate tile roofs are basically stone roofs, but they use a special metamorphic rock from volcanic ash and clay. The color of the slate is heavily dependent on the mineral composition, so, for example, if you have a slate with high levels of hematite, the shingles have a purple tint.

Like asphalt shingles, these tiles are nailed to your roof, but roofers use a different method and different types of nails. The nail doesn't fully penetrate the stone. Instead, the stone tile hangs on the nail, like a picture on the wall hangs on a nail. For this reason, the nails must be installed correctly so they are not under- or over-driven, which can lead to cracks and chips in the slate.

Naturally, since rock is heavy, slate tiles are more serious than most other options, including asphalt shingles. For this reason, you need a strong roof foundation and a steep slope. According to the National Slate Association, a slope between 12:12 and 18:12 is best, but any roof above an 8:12 should be able to support slate tile if installed correctly.

How Much Does a Slate Tile Roof Cost?

Slate tile roofs are one of the more costly options. At the lowest, you'll pay $9 to $10 per square foot for a bare slate tile roof, but some higher quality roofs can cost closer to $30 to $40 per square foot. These prices include labor and materials, but the exact price also depends on how big your roof is and how steep the slope is.

Of course, before the professional roofer can install your new roof, they’ll need to remove your old shingles, which adds another $3 to $5 per square foot to the total cost.

Synthetic slate tiles are cheaper if you want the beautiful look of slate without the high cost. These tiles are made from recycled rubber and plastic and are molded to look like natural slate tiles. Of course, you won't get the other benefits that come with traditional slate tiles.

How Long Will a Slate Tile Roof Last?

One of the most significant advantages slate tile roofs have is durability. These roofs will last long, but the exact length depends on whether you choose hard or soft slate. According to Angie’s List, challenging slate tile roofs can last between 75 and 200 years, and soft slate tile roofs can last 50 to 125 years, making both options excellent for a long-term roof solution.

The installation plays a crucial role in how long the roof will last. If the nails used to secure the singles aren't as durable as the singles, the roof may start to fail. Similarly, if you don’t maintain the roof itself, the slate won't last as long.

Luckily, maintaining a slate tile roof isn't hard because this material isn't prone to rotting, rust, or decay. As with any roof, you will need to replace any damaged shingles and flashing, and don't forget to check the attic for signs of leaks. Repairs should be done by a professional because they know how to maneuver around the roof without shattering tiles and causing more damage.

Slate tile roofs can last 100 years or more, so even if you live in your house your entire life, you may never need to replace the slate tile roof. If you would like more information regarding slate tile roofs or other roofing options, contact us at HF Roofing Contractor Inc. today.