Although asphalt shingles are the most ubiquitous type of roofing material, slate is increasingly being used for roofs.
Benefits of Slate Roofing
Slate is a naturally occurring rock compound that derives from volcanic ash. As a roofing material slate is fairly heavy and almost impervious to jostling around in high winds or cracking in extreme humidity and weather conditions.
Although slate is an efficient way to augment your home’s value and the resiliency of your roof, slate itself can be very heavy and labor intensive. Often a skilled professional with years of roofing experience needs to be called in to install a slate roof.
Pros and Cons of Working with Slate
These problems of working with slate are far from insurmountable, however, and definitely worth the extra effort to create your dream home.
Slate’s durability is really a double-edged sword – it can withstand extreme weather, but it is also heavy and somewhat unwieldy to work with.
Some precautions are, therefore, necessary when working with slate – making sure that your roof is properly reinforced is a must.
Better Home and Fewer Worries
On the upside, slate will almost assuredly increase your home’s value and its appearance. Slate is a versatile roofing material that can be arranged in eye-catching patterns.
Slate is a very low maintenance roofing material, especially compared to wood shakes that need to be treated to withstand the elements. Slate is not a material that needs to be updated every ten years and it’s virtually impervious to rot and other types of decay.
Clay tiles and slate are analogous in many ways, but slate is far more resilient to the elements than clay. Slate, like tile, is a heavy roofing material that needs very little upkeep from one year to the next; slate and tile, though, are heavy roofing materials that generally require the help of a roofing professional to properly install.
Weathering vs. Unfading Slate
If you’ve already done some preliminary looking into slate as a roofing material, you may have heard the term “weathering” used in conjunction with slate.
Weathering or fading is the color change that occurs in the slate over time. The overall change in the slate’s appearance is dependent on many factors but especially the color of the slate itself and the quarry from which the slate was excavated.
The fading or weathering that slate may undergo years after installation is purely cosmetic and does not affect the underlying resiliency of slate as a roofing material.
That said, homeowners can opt for “unchanging” slate. This type of slate might be slightly more expensive, yet it has the added benefit of remaining more impervious to fading.
Any weathering that unchanging slate does undergo will be similar from one piece of slate to the next; this means that your slate roof won’t develop any unwanted color patterns down the road.
For the most part, though, unchanging slate will retain the same vibrancy and outward characteristics that it had before it was chiseled from the quarry.
The slate used in roofing is normally around one-fourth inch thick and more naturally robust than wood shakes or composition shingles. Slate doesn’t need any additional fire protection measures, for instance, whereas these other roofing materials do.
Some people think that the cut of slate that they receive from the quarry is a done deal and that the slate can’t be altered after market. This is not so. Slate can be trimmed using a slate cutter.