Just like with other exterior building products like siding, windows, and doors, there are countless roofing options available. Each one is different, offering advantages and disadvantages to be carefully considered. One roofing option for some is real slate roofing tiles. While this form of roofing can be nice looking and long-lasting, there are some disadvantages to consider. There is also the option to consider synthetic slate roofing, which can offer the look and durability of traditional slate roofing material without the structural weight and cost.
What are Slate Roofing Tiles?
Slate roofing tiles are made from metamorphic rock. It is a beautiful, natural material that has been used as a building material for centuries.
Slate roofing tiles come in two options: hard slate and soft slate. Hard slate is the strongest type of slate, and more durable than soft slate.
Slate is only an option when you have large roof areas and a structure that can hold the extra weight. If you have a more modest roof size and a structure not designed for the added weight, synthetic slate roofing can be a great option.
Advantages of Slate Roofing Tiles
1. A Natural, Beautiful Material
By far, the biggest advantage of slate is its beauty. As a natural material, you do not have to do anything to slate to enhance the looks. It comes in a wide range of colors, including green, gray, black, purple, and red. These tiles are also hand-shaped, which adds to the unique and beautiful appearance.
2. Low Maintenance
Because slate is a natural material and highly durable, it requires little maintenance. You will only need to clean it every so often. And the look can actually be enhanced by fungus and mold growth.
3. Durable–to an Extent
There is no denying that slate offers a certain level of durability. It is fireproof, waterproof, and can withstand the elements well. However, it is not invincible and can be damaged by large hail and even foot traffic.
Disadvantages of Traditional Slate Tiles
1. Fragile and Difficult to Replace
Walking on slate tiles can result in damaged and broken tiles if you do not know what you are doing, and replacing damaged tiles is complicated. Not only will replacing the tile itself be hard, but finding tiles that match the rest of your roof will be difficult. As a result, your roof may end up looking inconsistent.
One of the biggest issues with slate tiles is the cost. Other than high-end metal roofing, Slate is one of the most expensive roof options available, with the installed cost ranging anywhere between $5 and $12 per square foot. However, that doesn’t include the cost of installation, which raises the overall cost to the range of $12 to $25 per square foot. The cost will depend on your location, the size and slope of your roof, and your roofing contractor.
The weight of slate tiles is another big issue. Slate roofing tiles are incredibly heavy, weighing anywhere from 800 to 1,500 pounds per square (100 ft2). Very few homes are built to withstand such weight.
4. Difficult to Install
Considering the weight and fragility of slate tiles, it makes installation a complex process. You will need to find an experienced slate roofing professional to ensure that your traditional slate roof is installed the right way, otherwise, you can have major issues.
Why Synthetic Slate Tiles May Be Better
As nice as real slate roofing is, with the various disadvantages it may be better to consider your alternatives. Instead of traditional slate, consider synthetic slate roofing or engineered slate roofing.
For the best synthetic slate roofing options look to F-Wave. Their REVIA Synthetic Shingle line includes two great options that replicate the look of traditional slate, with added advantages. The F-Wave Designer Slate Collection includes two profile options, a traditional square tile or corner-cut tile appearance, both designed with a faux granule surface for the look of premium, heavy-weight asphalt shingles. The F-Wave Vermont Natural Slate Collection (available Fall 2020) is a square tile with the look of hand-cut traditional slate. All are available in a variety of popular color choices.
F-Wave’s synthetic slate roofing shingles are an incredibly durable roofing option. They offer the highest ratings available to roofing materials, with a Class A Fire Rating, a Class 4 Impact Rating, and anywhere from a Class F to Class H Wind Resistance Rating. This means they are guaranteed to handle up to 2” hail and 130 mph winds. REVIA shingles are also UV resistant, and designed to weather beautifully for years. You can also walk on REVIA synthetic slate roofing without worry of breaking or cracking the tiles, and when scuffed or scratched they will self-heal in natural sunlight.
While real slate is heavy, synthetic slate roof tiles are incredibly lightweight. Slate can weigh anywhere from 800 to 1,500 pounds per square. F-Wave’s REVIA™ shingles weigh a fraction of that, making them suitable for almost every structure and much easier to install.
Easy to Install
The lightweight, single-piece construction of REVIA™ slate roof tiles makes them much easier to install than real slate. The fact that roofing contractors can walk on the synthetic tiles without fear of damaging them makes a huge difference. For the most part, they install just like traditional asphalt shingles, which greatly reduces the installation cost.
Low Maintenance and Affordable
Synthetic slate roofing is also low maintenance. You may have to clean off debris now and then, but you will not have to worry as much about things like moss and algae. Synthetic slate shingles are also a great roofing option due to their affordability, and because they do not require a special roof loading or installation method, you will save even more money.
As beautiful as traditional slate tiles can be, they are not an ideal roofing material for most homeowners. Instead, consider synthetic slate roofing. F-Wave’s REVIA™ Synthetic Shingles are one of the best synthetic slate roofing options on the market today. They offer the beautiful look and curb appeal of real slate roofing tiles, without all the drawbacks of real slate material. As a result, synthetic slate roofing can give you that beautiful, upscale look that you would get with slate, without all the weight and at a fraction of the cost.
For more information on synthetic slate roofing contact F-Wave to speak with one of their roofing experts.