Slate roofing tiles exude natural appeal that’s both classic and rustic. Historically, the slate has been around for centuries already. If you want to know more about it and to answer your question why is slate used for roof tiles, keep on reading…

What is a Slate?

Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock. It is made up of different minerals such as clay. Usually, they appear in varying shades of color gray, ranging from light to dark. Depending on its composition, there are slates that come in other colors, too, like green, red, black, brown, and purple.

Top 4 Reasons Why is Slate Used for Roof Tiles

Roof with black slate tiles and skylights windows

Slate tile roofing is commonly installed on residential properties and can last for up to a century.

Slate is most commonly transformed into roof covering materials due to various reasons. First and foremost, its composition allows it to be cut and shaped into thin sheets. Just the right size of a roofing tile. Apart from this, there are other promising reasons behind why is slate used for roof tiles.

 #1 – Appearance

Many homeowners are attracted to slate roofing primarily because of its appearance. It has a beauty that it is difficult to replicate due to the fact that it is made from natural stones. Since slate tiles are carved from real stones, they vary in terms of thickness, shape, size, and colors making them an even more versatile option. All in all, it’s the classic appeal that draws attention to it and ultimately helps improve the roofing’s curb appeal.

#2 – Longevity and Durability

While other roofing systems are only expected to last anytime between 20 to 50 years, slate roofing’s lifespan is up to a century. It has unbeatable longevity making it a good investment both for those who intend to live in their house for a long time and people who want to resell their property in the near future.

Its longevity is also a testament to its proven durability that lasts for many years. It can even outlive commercial buildings due to its strength and performance.

#3 – Fire-Resistance

Slate tiles are completely fire-resistant. Unlike other choices such as wood or cedar, these wouldn’t catch fire. This quality generally promotes safety and peace of mind.

#4 – Eco-Friendly

One of the top reasons why is slate used for roof tiles is that they are environmental-friendly. Having slate tiles prevent owners from replacing their roofs every 20 to 30 years for it can reach up to a hundred years with proper installation and regular maintenance. Other materials may need to reroof more often contributing to more roofing wastes that end up in the landfills. The more you extend the use of your slate roofing, the less you need to undergo costly replacements which are also favorable for the environment.

Drawbacks of Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is undoubtedly superior in terms of performance, longevity, and appearance. If you are seriously considering this type of roofing system, you should also be open to its drawbacks. Here’s a quick rundown of the things to watch out for:


One of the main drawbacks for most people is the cost. Slates are difficult to produce, hence, they are priced significantly higher than other alternatives. Prices start at $1,000 per square and could go up as high as about $8,000. They can initially be intimidating but as you decide, consider their long-term benefits as well.


Construction worker installing slate tiles

Slate tile installation is crucial as it can determine the performance, overall look, and longevity of your roofing.

Slate installation is a delicate procedure. It requires experience and appropriate skills in order to produce great results. Installation is considered a drawback because it can either make or break the deal. Poor installation prevents you from maximizing the slate’s promising performance.

The key to solving this dilemma is by hiring credible roofing contractors. Work only with a roofing company that has a tried and tested reputation in slate tile roofing.


Slate tile roofing weighs about 800 to 1,500 pounds per square. Admittedly, slate tiles are heavy making difficult to install. Due to its weight, you need to have the right structural support to prevent premature damages and unwanted accidents. Check feasibility with your trusted roofing partner that can access the foundation accurately.


While slate tiles are proven to be tough and weather-resistant, it can also be fragile. They are prone to cracking when mishandled. Maintenance could also be a challenge as it can create damage if you walk on it. Hence, only professionals should manage all roofing projects related to slate to avoid damages.

construction worker repairing damaged slate roof tiles

Slate roof tiles are extremely fragile. Hence, only trained professionals should handle them during installation, inspections, and maintenance.

Other Uses of Slate

In the modern era, the slate is now being used for varying purposes that are related to construction. You may find slate in the following:

  • Interior Flooring
  • Exterior Paving
  • Decorative Pieces
  • Wall Tiles
  • External Cladding
  • Fireplace
  • Kitchen Worktables
  • Window Sills

 During earlier times, people use slates not just on roofing but also as chalkboards, a form of paper, and as a writing instrument.

Different Types of Roofing Tiles

The good thing about roofing is that your choices never end. If natural slate tiles cost too much or if you find it too high maintenance, there are other alternatives that you can explore.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingle roofing is probably one of the top choices in the US. As a matter of fact, a total of four out of five houses in America choose this roofing system over the others. This doesn’t come as a surprise because of its promising qualities such as versatility, fire-resistance, waterproofing abilities, and of course, durability. This type of roofing is also low-cost without sacrificing a classic design.

Wood Shingles

close up of cedar roof tiles

Wood shingles are durable and beautiful to look at. However, they are high maintenance.

Wood is a good choice for people who want to achieve a timeless appeal. However, the most obvious issue with wood shakes and shingles are their vulnerability to fire. There’s a solution to this dilemma as roofing companies can recommend corresponding treatments to prevent rot and retard fire. With proper installation and maintenance, it can last up to 30 years. In choosing wood shingles, make sure to get high-quality wood to maximize their performance.

Metal Roofing

If you are looking for a high performing material, then you might want to look into metal roofing sheets or shingles. It is durable and versatile in terms of design and variations. It comes in different forms including steel and aluminum as the most popular options. You can also explore zinc alloy or copper.

sun shining on copper roofing surface

Copper is one of the most expensive roofing systems available in the market.

Metal roofing is low maintenance and durable. However, it can be noisy during heavy rains and could be prone to punctures. Regardless of these downsides, metal is still a promising roofing system for it can resist fire and wind. It is also resistant to insect infestations. If you want an industrial design, go for metal.

Synthetic Shingles

Synthetic shingles are similar to natural slate. In fact, they are sometimes referred to as faux slates as they imitate the look of real stones. Being rubber-based, they are lighter and easier to install which also means that they are more affordable. These are your second best bet if you really want to achieve the look of slate tiles. They are also weather-resistant and long lasting.

Final Words

Nothing beats slate tile roofing when it comes to that timeless aesthetics. It is also unbeatable when we’re talking about longevity as this can last for a century.

We always remind our clients that regardless of your choice, all roofing systems have their pros and cons. The success of any residential roofing lies with proper installation and regular maintenance. To enjoy your roofing for a long time and get the most out of your major investment, learn to care for it the right way. When we say the right way, it all boils down to the use of premium and high-grade materials as well as services from a trusted roofing partner.

If you want to know more about the reasons why is slate used for roof tiles, feel free to talk to our team of expert roofers. Contact us at 647.952.2863 and get an absolutely FREE estimate.