What is slate roofing made of?

slate roofing tiles

Is Slate hard or soft rock?

Slate is a homogeneous rock of fine-grain that derives from clay and volcanic has that as composed into shale sediment. It is Jamestown Virginia where archeological digs haves unearthed roofing slate, estimated between 1625-1650 and 1640-1670 and slate roofs were found on homes. However, slate quarrying did not become common until the last part of the 19th century.

Minerals and rocks are measured on the Mohs scale between a range from one, the softest, to ten, the hardest.  Slate rock is in the middle of those ranks at 5.5, making it hard enough to scratch glass or steel.  So, with that in mind, it is easy to see why slate roofs are popular. 

What are the benefits of a slate roof?

Slate is not a roofing material that most people think to have quoted for their home. Why? Because of the cost. Why pay so much for a slate roof when you can have an asphalt roof for a fraction of the price?  Because it is the only roof you’ll ever need!  Other benefits of  slate roofs are: 

  • Aesthetics: The beauty of a slate roof will draw a homeowner’s attention. It is a gorgeous material and the perfect touch for many architectural style homes. It comes in gray, green and red  with different thicknesses, and widths.
  • Durability: Slate is a natural occurring stone, so a slate roof is going to be exceptionally durable and unaffected by weather events and extremes, including high temperatures, high winds,  or even hail. It is a fire-resistant material too, a big bonus for homeowner’s insurance. 
  • Long Lifespan: A slate roof will last up to 75 years with professional slate roof installation and maintained properly.  When you have an excellent corresponding lengthy warranty, a slate roof is a perfect long-term investment for a home that you’ll spend years enjoying.  
  • Minimal Maintenance: With the superior durability and longevity that a slate roof offers, it also offers a low maintenance level.  Since it isn’t typically damaged like other roofing materials, repairs and replacements are few and far between, if every! Mildew and mold resistant is a big plus. 
  • Home Value Increase: Even if the house you install a slate roof isn’t in your forever plan, a slate roof is a great value add to any house. Prospective buyers will appreciate the longevity of the slate roof knowing they won’t have to replace the roof in 10-15 years. 

How do you maintain a slate roof?

 There isn’t much to slate roof details for regular maintenance.  Keeping the gutter system cleaned twice a year is the most prominent thing you need to follow, but that is with any roofing material. Should a slate tile become damaged, replace it immediately and every 5 years, have it professionally inspected.

slate tile roof

How long does a slate roof last?

The average lifespan of  slate roof or tiles can be between 40 years and 75 years. Factors that help determine this is a professional installation by experienced contractor and the quarry the slate comes from can make a difference. Some slate roofs have been around over 100 years. A slate roof is one of roofing material option that won’t require you to have it replaced every 15 to twenty years like asphalt shingle roofing. 

Slate roof is available in two basic types: Hard Slate and Soft Slate. Hard slate is the most reliable and strongest of the two, as the name would imply. It is fire resistant and weather resistant, doesn’t absorb water so there isn’t any concern of it warping. The soft slate roof isn’t as durable but has the overall composition to give you a life expectancy between 50 years and 125 years. It is as fire resistant and weather resistant as a hard slate roof. 

A slate roof structure requires minimal care and maintenance, one of the selling points of a slate roof. So, you buy a house with a slate roof, then you notice some issues. Can you patch a slate roof? First, we want to advise you against doing any repair to a slate roof as a DIY project.  Repairing a slate roof is not easy and without having the experience and knowledge, you could do more damage than good, not to mention the risks involved. 

If possible, have the same roofing contractor that installed the slate roof do the repairs.  Getting the matching type of slate is important for appearance and fitting purposes. Even better, if the slate repair material is from the same quarry as the original slate due to color and durability. While the repairs may be costly, know that this is a beautiful investment to your home and the ROI is great for your enjoyment and knowing that your home has that unique beauty is worth the expense. Looking for slate roofing in Philadelphia, PA? Call 267-622-7158 today!