What is slate roofing made of?

slate roof closeup

Is slate hard or soft rock?

Your home is an investment that you should protect with the best materials you can, including the roof. With that in mind, when you’re considering a new roof, give slate roof some thought.  Slate roofs are a unique addition to any home, but there are slate roof details about a slate roof installation you should review, and questions answered first. 

It is important to know the material you choose for your roof is durable enough to protect your home, so is a slate roof going to be durable? As a metamorphic rock that is developed from shale that has experienced intense heat or pressure below the surface of earth and is made of parallel foliated plates. 

As a rock, slate can be broken evenly and smoothly along its cleavage. On the Mohs scale where minerals and rocks are measured on a scale of 1 to 10, slate measures at 5.5 and has the ability to scratch glass or steel. This confirms that a slate roof or tiles will make a durable a protection for your home. 

How long does a slate roof last?

You’ll get little argument from a homeowner with a slate roof that it adds a unique beauty. While a slate roof is thought to be virtually indestructible, with most hard slate roofs having been around for hundreds of years, the average lifespan of soft slate roofs is between 70 and 80 years. 

With most hard slate roofs being colored slate and soft slate roof being black, while there are some slate roof that are colored and soft and some hard slate roofs are black. An experienced roofing contractor can usually tap on a slate roof, regardless the color and determine whether it is a hard or soft slate roof. 

How do you maintain a slate roof?

Foot traffic should be minimal at best while keeping regular maintenance of a slate roof. Certain duties to be performed with a slate roof include chimney sweeps and painters, it should be required for them to hook their ladders over the roof ridge and any walking be done on ladders so that their weight is better distributed over the slate roof. Any walking on a slate roof should be done while wearing soft soled shoes and to step only on the lower middle of the slate unit.

Any experienced contractor will take regards to the initial cost of a slate roof and be considerate to follow these requirements when performing their duties. When possible, for the safety of the slate roof, contractors and maintenance personnel should do their survey of the work to be done by binoculars or a cherry picker. 

Completed slate roof

Can you patch a slate roof?

In the case of broken, cracked, misaligned, or missing slates on a slate roof, or any delamination or failed flashings like loose or misaligned elements, pin holes, or open seams, or clogged downspouts repairs should be done accordingly by an experienced slater. They will know the proper means and process to correct, repair, or replace any slate shingles or tile as needed. 

If you are wondering what are the benefits of a slate roof that should convince you to consider this materials, we offer you the following information. However, like any type of roofing material you may choose, a slate roof has disadvantages which you should consider before going with a slate roof install: 

  • Heavy: A home that hasn’t has a slate roof  may need to be reinforced and this can be determined with an engineering report. Slate roofing materials on the average  weighs  800-1,500 pounds per square compared to asphalt shingles that weigh  just over 400 pounds per square.  
  • Expensive: A slate roof is one of the most expensive you can have, which can be an investment due to the long life span it offers up to 100 years or longer. If you aren’t planning to be in the home for more than 10 years, it may not be worth the expense. 
  • Foot traffic: While a slate roof is very durable, foot traffic should be avoided when possible, which can make having your gutters or roof clean a costly endeavor because the contractor will have to use special equipment and techniques.
  • Specialized installer:  A slate roof can’t be installed by any roofing contractor. There is equipment and techniques required for a slate roof to be installed correctly. 

The benefits of a slate roof can far outweigh these disadvantages:

  • Energy-efficiency:  A slate roof is very energy-efficient because of its density. It keeps the home cooler during hot summer because it prevents hot air out of the attic. During the winter, the density of a slate roof will keep the warm air inside where its needed. 
  • Fire resistant:  Slate is a natural material, and this makes a slate roof fire resistant. 
  • Environmental: Because it is naturally-occurring material, a slate roof will require extraordinarily little processing, making it friendly for the environment. When slate roof is removed, the material can be used for other purposes, making it a recyclable material. 
  • Long lifespan: With proper care, a slate roof can give you a life span up to 100 years, maybe longer. Low maintenance: Beyond routine inspections and occasional professional washing, a slate roof has little maintenance requirement.

Need expert slate roofing installation in Biloxi & Gulfport, MS? ECO Roofing is the local roofing company for you. Call us today at (877) 406-7663.