How Long Will a Slate Roof Last? [Examining Longevity]

March 17, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking how long will a slate roof last? This is a vital question since slate is often one of the most expensive roofing options for homes! Consequently, it’s good to know that you’ll be getting your money’s worth if you invest in slate.

Hard slate typically lasts 75 to 100 years or more, while softer slates last 50 to 60 years. Maintenance, weather conditions, installation quality, and other factors affect the slate’s longevity.

With this in mind, keep reading to find out more about slate roofs, including their advantages and disadvantages. Also, you might note added details about what affects that material’s durability. Then, you can discuss your property’s needs and preferences with a roof installation contractor near you as necessary.

installing a slate roof

Understanding Slate Roofs

To know if slate is a good choice for your home, it’s helpful to know more about this material. Additionally, a roofing installation contractor can provide more advice on slate for your property.

What is slate roofing?

Slate is a natural rock, formed from clay or volcanic ash. Mined in large slabs, manufacturers then cut those slabs into usable pieces for roofing and other applications.

Advantages and disadvantages of slate roofs

Since slate is natural and not manmade, no two shingles are exactly alike. In turn, a slate roof doesn’t look monotonous and boring. Dense slate also repels water and insects, and is natural fire-resistant. It also lasts for decades, as said, and isn’t likely to blow away in high winds.

On the other hand, slate is often one of the most expensive materials you can choose. It’s also somewhat heavy, so roofs might need added support before installation. This adds to your slate installation costs.

Factors That Affect the Lifespan of a Slate Roof

Check out some common factors that affect how long a slate roof might last for your home. Also, remember to ask your roof installation contractor for added tips on how to maintain any roofing material for your home.

  • Installation: Heavy slate tiles need expert handling so that they don’t crack during installation. In turn, using an inexperienced roofer can mean shortening slate’s lifespan.
  • Maintenance: How well you maintain your property affects every roofing material! Removing damaging debris with regular power washing and scheduling prompt repairs keeps slate in good condition.
  • Weather Conditions: While slate offers a durable surface, harsh weather can eat away at the material, shortening its lifespan.
  • Slate Quality: Hard slate, usually harvested in Vermont and New York, offers a dense and durable surface. However, soft slate, harvested in Pennsylvania, might last far fewer years than its harder counterpart.

The Biggest Problem with Slate Roofs

While slate roofs offer a stunning appearance and last for decades, they do offer some problems to homeowners. Its brittle surface can crack under heavy weight, including hailstorms or someone walking on the roof if the supports are not installed correctly. Slate also gets slick when wet, making it dangerous for anyone not trained on slate repairs.

The most significant problem with slate is that it often requires specialty installers. Since not all roofers work with slate, you might struggle to find a competent installer. Also, they might insist on an engineering report, to note if your home’s roof can support its weight.

slate roofing longevity

How Often Should a Slate Roof Be Replaced?

First, determine if your roof has hard or soft slate. Second, have the roof inspected before its expected lifespan. This will ensure you don’t wait for the roof to crack or form leaks before scheduling replacement.

So, have a soft slate roof inspected once it reaches about 35 to 40 years. For hard slate roofs, schedule an inspection once it reaches 60 years. Also, call a roof repair contractor if you notice moss or mold growing between shingles or missing shingles. Sudden discoloration can also mean it’s time for roof repairs or replacement.

Tips for Maintaining a Slate Roof

Since proper maintenance can prolong a slate roof’s lifespan, you might note some tips on keeping that roof in good condition. First, schedule annual inspections with a roofer experienced in slate installation. Second, avoid walking on slate as this can put pressure on shingles and risk damage.

Also, check the roof’s flashing for needed replacement. Flashing refers to metal pieces between roofs and obstructions such as chimneys. Damaged flashing allows water to pool onto a roof or leak to a structure’s interior. Replacing the flashing as needed avoids these costly issues.

Lastly, consider regular power washing by a pro as this removes storm debris, dirt, air pollution residues, and mold. A thorough pressure washing also ensures a roof looks stunning year-round! Professional washing can also expose areas needing repairs so you can schedule prompt fixes.

Does a Slate Roof Increase Home Value?

In most cases, a slate roof increases home values more than traditional asphalt shingles and other materials. One reason for this is that slate lasts for decades, so homebuyers know that they won’t need to keep replacing that roof overhead. Two, slate provides a stunning aesthetic and charming curb appeal other materials can’t match. Slate also works well with traditional homes, modern styles, and everything in between.

Also, heavy slate tiles don’t blow away in high winds as easily as other roofing choices. In turn, a homeowner might need to replace those tiles far less often than asphalt or clay. Thick, dense slate also means added insulation for interior spaces. A home with slate tiles can then mean lower utility costs year-round.

For all these reasons and more, slate can mean a higher home value than other options. This helps to offset slate roof installation costs, which usually ranges from $10 to $30 per square foot. This is higher than most asphalt shingles, which usually average $5 to $10 per square foot.

The Brockton Roofers is happy to help answer the question, how long will a slate roof last? For more information, reach out to us today about roof replacement or repair for a slate roof.


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