Why do homeowners choose tiles?
A roof made from slate can last as long as 75–150 years. One of the oldest roofing materials, slate is also one of the most expensive.
When it comes to durability, slate stands out from the competition. It’s both fireproof and virtually invincible in most inclement weather. Note that installation should be carefully executed—slate tiles can crack under the weight of the average person.
Slate is one of the most expensive materials because it will last for the better part of a century, and if the roof is properly constructed, more than 150 years. Because of this, slate is incredibly sustainable roofing material.
Roofing waste (specifically asphalt shingle waste) accounts for 3% of all waste in landfills. This is because homeowners have to replace most roofing materials every 30–50 years. A roof that could last three times as long as its competition is much better for the environment.
And slate is a naturally occurring material, which means that the manufacturing process doesn’t introduce toxins. Finally, because slate is one of the densest roofing materials on the market, it’s incredibly energy efficient, helping to regulate your home’s internal temperature.
Concrete and Clay Roof Tiles
This ancient roofing option has been thoroughly modernized with newer and stronger materials that look fantastic. Today’s products are made in three versions:
Traditional clay tiles are reinforced for strength and durability
Concrete tiles are formed with a lightweight blend that makes them very tough but easy to work with
Fiber cement tiles are composed of wood and clay blended into the concrete for lightweight strength
The finished tiles are glazed or coated with waterproof coating.
Pros and Cons
Clay, concrete, and fiber cement offer 50+ years of durability
Tiles resist fire and insects
The rich aesthetics of tile increase curb appeal
While not as varied as asphalt shingles, tiles are produced in a good range of colors, styles, and textures
Light-colored tile reflects sunlight, so reduces heat penetration and cooling requirements
The tiles are recyclable
Tiles look fantastic on contemporary homes
These are some of the potential drawbacks of tile roofs:
Tile is heavier than most roofing material and some types require extra framing support at a higher cost
The cost of tile is higher than asphalt, metal, and wood
Tiles may break if walked on, so repairing chimneys and other roofing issues is trickier when the roof is tiled
Natural Stone Slates and Composite or Synthetic Slate (and Composite Shake) Tiles
Some European structures have natural slate tile roofs that are centuries old; composite or vinyl slate tile is expected to last 40-60 years.
Both genuine and synthetic slate is produced in lengths from 8” to about 24” with widths from about 4” to 16”. The size options allow you to choose the best look for your home’s architecture.
Natural slate tiles are the most durable roof you can put on a building, but the material is heavy and often requires additional and costly support. Innovations in synthetic slate roofing systems, like GAF TruSlate, are cutting the cost of genuine slate.
Synthetic composite slate and shake tiles are attractive for their lower cost and lighter weight.
Pros and Cons of Slate Roofing
The advantages of slate are:
The luxurious good looks of genuine slate are unsurpassed
Genuine slate is a “lifetime” roof for any building and enhances curb appeal and resale value
Slate requires little maintenance
Synthetic slate is lightweight yet strong
This is a green roofing material due to its durability, the fairly low impact of manufacturing, and that it can be reused and recycled
Consider the disadvantages, too:
Genuine slate is the heaviest roofing material at up to 1,500lbs per 100 square feet, so extra framing support (and extra cost) is necessary
If a slate roof isn’t properly installed, moisture issues will start quickly
Slate roofs should only be installed by contractors that specialize in slate, so you must do your due diligence before hiring an installer
Slate might break if walked on, so roof and chimney repairs are more difficult to make