What Should I Know About a Slate Roof?

If you’re wondering “What should I know about a slate roof?” Let Republic Roofing help you out. It is important to consider more than just looks when selecting a roofing material for your home.

Looks matter, but choosing a replacement roof goes beyond that. To keep your home protected from the sun, wind, precipitation, and other weather threats, you need a roofing material that is reliable. You also want something built to last, with a minimum amount of maintenance required.


All, slate roofs remain popular. Many centuries ago, people used slate to roof everything from homes to castles to cathedrals. Slate roofing is one of the most durable roofing materials available. Many consider slating the gold standard of roofing.

What Is Slate, anyway?

Slate is a rock. More specifically, slate consists of minerals like chlorite, plagioclase, muscovite, and quartz and is fine-grained, foliated, and metamorphic. The heat and pressure deep in the earth’s crust cause shale buried deep in the crust to metamorphose into slate. Typically, slate has a grayish-blue color, but the color of slate varies according to the size of mineral grains and the slate’s exact mineral composition.

Let’s not delve further into slate’s geology but suffice it to say that it has a low water absorption index and is relatively hard. Slate is waterproof, and it can also be cut into thin plates. Your building’s roof is very effectively protected when these thin slate plates are combined and arranged correctly.

Advantages of Natural Slate

So, how does slate hold up as a roofing material? What makes slate worth considering? Here are some slate benefits:

  1.  Natural insulator

Slate is one of the few roofing materials that can be categorized as a natural insulator. It is relative hardness and density mean both warm and cold air have a hard time passing through, ensuring your home is comfortable no matter what the weather conditions are. It will still conduct heat and cold, however, just like other types of stone. When slate roofs are combined with the correct underlayment and insulation underneath, they can help to improve the overall energy efficiency of your home, leading to significant savings in heating and cooling.

  1. Performance & safety

The slate is waterproof. In terms of slate’s performance as a roofing material, this means that moisture has no means of penetrating the slate when it is properly installed. Due to its density and weight, slate also performs better than most other roofing materials when it comes to wind resistance. Due to its inflammability and no conductivity, slate also offers protection from fire and lightning.

  1. Amazing longevity

A slate roof excels in durability and longevity. Since slate is a natural stone product, there are no manufacturing defects to worry about. In the case of slate roofs, assuming that their installation has been done correctly and that there hasn’t been any significant impact damage to the roof, you can expect them to last a very long time. Even though slate roofs are generally guaranteed to last 75-100 years, they can often last much longer – some have even lasted centuries! Slate roofs have a longer lifespan than asphalt shingles, so you would have to replace them several times to match their longevity.

  1. Distinct visual beauty

The natural aesthetic factor of slate is one of the main reasons for its popularity among homeowners. There’s nothing like natural slate when it comes to its unique texture, color, and look. It adds a wonderful layer of beauty and charm to your home.

Drawbacks to Natural Slate

It’s true that slate has many advantages, but it also has its pitfalls. When considering a slate roof, you’ll want to consider the following potential disadvantages:

  1. Impact resistance concerns

Compared to other materials, slate is extremely resistant to weather, pests, and fire. Slate doesn’t handle direct impact damage. Due to its brittle nature, slate is susceptible to cracks, breaks, and even shattered tiles. You do not need to replace your entire roof if you have slate tiles that need replacing, but you can replace individual tiles if they are damaged.

  1. Added roof weight.

Slate is resilient but not lightweight. If your roof is structurally sound and reinforced, there shouldn’t be a problem. However, the slate may add a little extra weight, and some roofs may not be able to handle it. If you want to know whether slate is a viable option for your roof, it is best to consult with a professional and have them look at your roof’s infrastructure first.

  1. Material cost

Just to be transparent, slate is expensive. Roofing materials like this are among the most expensive options available. Obviously, if money is no object to you, slate is the best roofing option. However, if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, you may want to consider another option. Yet, it’s also worthwhile to look at the accumulated cost value. Slate may seem expensive upfront, but its longevity can save you money over the course of its extended service life, compared to having to replace your inferior roof several times.

  1. Expert installation required.

Because it’s heavy, slate is more difficult to work with than most other roofing materials. Slate roofing isn’t something most roofers can handle on their own, and many don’t have much experience with it either. The good news is that your slate roofing professional should be able to provide you with both the proper tools and experience working with slate, so you shouldn’t let this deter you from considering slate. 

Looking for an Alternative to Natural Slate? Contact Republic Roofing today!

For more information, contact Republic Roofing at 901-437-5278. We service areas in Lakeland, Germantown, Bartlett, Memphis, and Collierville, TN.