If not asphalt shingles, then American homeowners will likely choose clay or slate tiles. Why would you use slate for a roof? It’s elegant and glamorous to look at.

Slate is a stone in the shale family composed of volcanic ash and clay. The melted sedimentary rock is grainy and has cleavages. Its aesthetic beauty is truly undeniable even just as a single stone.

Now, imagine these beautiful slate stones lining up and providing your roof the optimum protection, insulation, and curb appeal it deserves.

If this sounds great to you, then you should definitely use a slate roof. While it has its respective downsides, it is still a worthwhile investment.

What is Slate Roofing?

Why would you use slate for a roof? Because it is reliable.

Slate roof manufacturers use naturally-forming slate with a property called “fissility.” This is the natural tendency of rock or stone to split apart into shapes of flat planes.

Early masons who found slate stones in fissility knew quickly they do great as roofs. Modern manufacturers collect and cut these stones into similar sizes to fit residential roofs.

In most cases, manufacturers add strengthening materials to provide homeowners a durable and long-lasting roof.

slate stones before they undergo fissility and manufacturing.

Slate stones occur naturally. They are made of volcanic ash and clay, which creates their impressive cleavages and variations of color.


Its Protective Capacity

Slate is a durable material. Forged from volcanic ash and clay, the material can withstand several hailstone hits.

Strong winds cannot lift heavy slate roofs off homes. If installed on seaside homes, they can last as well as aluminum roofs. Slate stones are non-corrosive, which means high salt air environments will not affect it.

Because its main properties are ash and clay, slate roof tiles will not catch fire. Most homeowners will find lower insurance premiums for slate roofs.

Lastly, they are environmentally friendly. Because most manufacturers collect and modify rather than use composites to produce them, they can recycle old slate stones and use them for new properties.

Why Would You Use Slate for a Roof: Is it a Long-Term Investment?

Why would you use slate for a roof? Because it lasts for an extremely long period of time.

Early masons used clay and slate to create middle-century homes and castles. Their superior architecture and material has lasted for centuries with many still standing today.

Slate is capable of living through 50 years in virtually any harsh weather. In fact, they can last for more than 150 years if given proper care during the early half of its lifespan.

It will require maintenance from time to time. However, think of it as an investment for a roofing material that can last for centuries.

Ease of Installation

Contractors will recommend modifying roof decks, joists, and other founding material before installing slate roofs. Because slate roofs last for a century and more, it needs the longest-lasting foundation too.

However, contractors will not need additional equipment to install slate roofs. They will only use the basic equipment used for installing asphalt or wood shakes.

In turn, this will save you much in terms of labor and installation costs. Modifying the foundation of your roof will cost you in labor and materials, but you must consider it an additional investment for a sturdy and long-lasting roof.

beautifully-shaped slate tiles on a property's roof

Slate tiles can be cut into different shapes. Most manufacturers improve their durability to introduce a longer lifespan.


Slate roofs are naturally beautiful. The stone gives any property a luxurious curb appeal because of its pure appearance.

The naturally-cleft surface with beautiful variations the mixture of clay and volcanic ash introduces to its color adds to the amazing appeal.

Additionally, slate protects and insulates your property because of its thickness. If contractors install them effectively, they are the best protection against rain and hailstorms.

Aside from making homes beautiful and glamorous, why would you use slate for a roof? Because these roofs have been a tried-and-tested solution by masons who have built centuries-old structures.


As with anything durable and capable, slate roofing is expensive. Naturally-forming stones are hard to come by. Manufacturers will add production and labor costs that improve their slate material.

In the market, slate stones cost around $10-$15 per square foot. This means a full square will cost about $1,000-$6,000, a truly exorbitant cost.

While the material alone can last for 150 years, improper installation will shorten the lifespan of the slate roof. However, contractors will require more time and resources to make the best possible installation and will add to your labor costs too.

why would you use slate for a roof

Slate tiles are naturally-occuring stones. Just like asphalt shingles, contractors can install them in different styles to introduce various aesthetic appeals.

Alternatives to Slate Roofs

Why would you use slate for a roof? Because it is durable and elegant.

However, most contractors and manufacturers will understand why it isn’t a first choice for most property owners.

It is quite pricey compared to other roofing materials. However, there are alternatives for slate roofs with almost the same curb appeal. While they may not last for centuries, they still make homes look amazing and stand out.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the go-to roofing materials of majority of homeowners. They’re affordable, have a decent lifespan of 25-30 years, and are quick and easy to install.

Additionally, their curb appeal is impeccable. Architectural shingles, the modified and strengthened version of asphalt shingles, introduce almost the same glamour as slate roofs too.

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles introduce a Spanish-style feel to any property. Most homeowners find this Mediterranean feel especially fitting if they want a beautiful seaside-style home.

rows of round clay tiles on a roof

Clay tiles are a perfect alternative to slate roofs because they are natural materials with expressive accents.

Wood Shingles and Shakes

Why would you use slate for a roof when wood shingles and shakes exist? Wood shingles will appear similar to slate stones in fissility because they are machine-cut by manufacturers.

However, wood shakes introduce a whole new aesthetic because of the manual hand-cut style.


Why would you use slate for a roof? Because they are excellent and gratifying investments.

A slate roof can last for 150 years with regular and proper maintenance. Additionally, they are easy to install and introduce an irresistible, property value-increasing curb appeal.

However, they can be quite expensive and will require an immense financial commitment in the process.

Therefore, if you wish to have a slate roof, make sure to invest in the best material and best roofing contractors for the task.