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Introduction to Slate as a Roofing Material

Slate is a type of stone that has been used for centuries in many different applications, including roofing, siding, interior and exterior walls, statues and even headstones. However, as “Texas Premier Roofer” we thought we would stick to the roofing application!

Slate is a mix of several different minerals, mostly quartz and muscovite, which forms in multiple layers over time. Large sections of the stone can then be mined according to its intended use. For roofing material these large blocks are cut down along cleavage and grain lines into tile-like pieces that can be applied to a roof. Because this material has low water absorption (less than 0.4%) it is an ideal roofing material, especially in damp climates.

If you are looking at doing a slate roof, there are several things you need to know, good and bad, about this material.

First, slate roofs will generally last up to and beyond the life of the structure to which they are applied. They are made from stone- literally pieces of rock lined up in rows to protect the structure from weather, fire, and most things that a normal roof will endure. The tiles do not warp or crack because they are made from a firm rock that resists moisture, which can crack some types of rock. If applied correctly, slate will resist wind, rain, hail, snow and heat often with no damage or needed repairs at all. Slate is meant to be a forever roof.

Second, a slate roof will cost three, four, or sometimes even five times what a standard shingle roof can cost! This is not the cheap and easy, quick fix solution for any roof. However, considering the life of the roof, this cost could be worth it for a home you want to pass on to your children – or a home you want to sell without worrying about the depreciation of the roof. With a standard shingle roof, the shingles have a life of about 15 years in harsh Texas weather, sometimes 30 if you get lucky. This means that in the time one home replaces five or six shingle roof systems (and probably the decking under the roof by that time) the first slate roof will continue to protect the home it was installed on for years to come.

Slate roofs are also environmentally friendly – they are made from a naturally occurring rock and don’t use any asphalt or other petroleum-based products. Slate is all-natural and will not shed any harsh chemicals. And for a fireproof roof there are few products out there as strong as slate – the stone simply won’t burn. Some systems have a class “A” fire rating which means they are certified not to catch fire from stray firework sparks, a neighbor’s house fire, or any other external fire source coming in contact with your beautiful stone roof.

However, a slate roof can be very difficult to install. If you are interested in slate, make sure that your contractor has worked with the material before and is certified to handle the complex installation of this special material – like Lone-Star Roof Systems. Slate is not a standard roofing material and you should not trust the installation to just anyone.

Another down side to slate is its weight – this roofing material is heavy! It can weigh up to 1000 pounds per square (100 square feet). This means that many homes require extra support to handle the weight of a slate roof and you may end up paying additional fees for this type of work.

If you do decide to go with slate, make sure you protect it well from non-roofing contractors (such as plumbing or other specialists who may need to access the roof). While this material simply shrugs of hail and other weather threats, the weight of a 200-pound human on individual tiles may cause breakage and lead to premature leaks and costly repairs. Make sure anyone climbing onto your roof has experience with slate roofs and knows how to handle this beautiful material.

To sum up, a slate roof is a beautiful option that can provide some of the best protection from weather available while giving your home a classic, timeless appearance that will stand the tests of time, though it may cost a bundle.

Sources: Adam Dalgliesh, Ryan Becker,

For more information on installing slate in your home, or to get a free estimate, contact Lone-Star Roof Systems today!

Remember, contact Lone-Star Roof Systems, LP for all your roofing needs!



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