Slate Roofing Materials

Slate shingles, thin slices of rock, are a popular roofing material in a lot of upscale homes. The thin, flat, rectangular slabs of stone can function well and remain water tight for centuries. And it's for this reason you see so many historical homes roofed with slate. A typical 2,000 square foot roof will require about 3,400 slate shingles. All that is needed for a successful slate roofing system are slate shingles, a wooden roof deck, and nails.


  • Some manufacturers such as EcoStar use recycled materials to create their synthetic slate.
  • When it's time to replace slate shingles, what can't be recycled onto a new roof can be used as clean fill. Asphalt and other roofing materials, on the other hand, often end up in landfills.
  • Because slate, a naturally dense stone, lasts so long, it's a sound investment.
  • Real slate offers good fire protection and stands up to insects and rot.
  • It's available in a large variety of sizes and colors.


  • Because stone is a natural material, the slate shingles may have invisible imperfections that eventually cause them to break and fall off the roof.
  • Slate shingles can be fractured and damaged by roofing contractors or careless foot traffic, especially if your roof has seen a few hard frost and thaw cycles.
  • In order to repair slate roofs, conduct maintenance, or clean gutters, a hook ladder or other appropriate means of access must be used to prevent walking on the slate shingles.
  • The metal joints around chimneys and around pipes, or flashings, eventually wear out and have to be routinely replaced by experienced slate roofing professionals.
  • One missing slate is all it takes to create a leak.
  • Unless you live next to the quarry, it takes a lot of energy and creates a lot of fossil fuel emissions transporting the tile to your house.
  • Installing a slate roof can often cost as much as the house itself.

Just because you don't want the expense of original slate or the complicated installation doesn't mean slate isn't a roofing option for you, however.


  • Looks the same as real stone slabs.
  • Equally strong as original slate.
  • More flexible and less weighty than real slate, which makes them easier to transport and install, thus also making them more cost effective.
  • Synthetic slate production creates the least amount of chemical components without damaging the environment.
  • Synthetic slate shingles are easy to design and take comparatively less time for whole roof completion.
  • Nails can support synthetic slate shingles without them breaking under the weight, unlike original slate.


  • Natural slate shingles are unique, each slab varying from the other. Manufactured artificial slate shingles will all look the same, which may or may not be what the homeowner had in mind.
  • Synthetic slate shingles do not function like natural slate shingles. They don't have nearly the same longevity.
  • Though synthetic slate shingles are artificially manufactured, they can often be just as pricey as the real thing.