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Slate Roofing Price Guide

There are countless styles of roofing materials available on the market today. Prices range per type and design as well as manufacturer. A popular roofing choice is slate. Slate offers a relentless beauty that can’t be duplicated. The ever-changing soft hues of a slate roof offer design options that can match up with almost any home style and décor. Unfortunately, slate can sometimes be expensive because the material is challenging to transport and work with because it can be heavy. This occasionally makes contractors more hesitant to work with it, causing prices to skyrocket out of budget. When considering all costs for a slate roof, it's important to shop for a contractor who has experience with installation and can get slate for a reasonable wholesale cost. It's also important to know what some of the benefits and advantages are when considering slate roofing in order to incorporate the right selection into the budget.

The Costs 

  • Average minimum cost of slate roofing: $1.89 per square foot

  • Average maximum cost of slate roofing: $2.72 per square foot

Production and Use

Homeowners enjoy the look of slate in both new construction and existing structures. The look helps increase the overall home's value and curb appeal. When buying slate in bulk, homeowners can enjoy a better value for their money and see a real cost savings in their pocketbook. If the homeowner lives near a location where slate is produced or manufactured such as Southern Canada, Virginia and some of the more north eastern United States, costs can be significantly lower than if the slate has to be shipped across the country.

Slate is often referred to as being either permanent or weathered. This is often determined by its mineralogical and chemical composition. Because slate is deposited and produced in various areas and climates, each piece is vastly unique. When the color is dominant and strong, it is considered to be a permanent color variety. Where colors are marked and varied, they are likely to be of a weathered type. Some popular colors include gray, green, variegated purple, black and red. 

Homeowners can decide on color choices based on how much is available of the same color and how easily accessible the slate is to obtain for the contractor. Contractors will likely have more than one wholesaler who they work with. This allows for the opportunity to get the best cost for amount of slate needed. Most of these colors are standard, but it is important for homeowners to keep in mind that colors and textures can vary. The homeowner can also select a special-order color or design to match the exact specifications of their home.

Slate roofing is generally a standalone roof type, although it may have to be matched up with asphalt shingles or synthetic slate shingles that have been placed on an attached roof or garage. Some roofs may have a significant pitch to work with, which can make installation tricky, especially on cottage-style, slate roofs. Because slate pieces can be heavy and have to be worked with individually, there is a risk of dropping or splitting the slate. This can be very expensive. It is important that contractors are equipped to handle slate installation and know how to prevent over- and under-nailing and get the headlap and lateral overlaps installed correctly.

Advantages of Slate Roofing

The biggest advantage is the look and longevity of a slate roof. Compared to traditional asphalt roofing or synthetic slate, slate is easily identifiable and highlights a natural, old-world quality that cannot be duplicated. Homeowners can see up to a 35-percent increase in their home’s value when they choose slate materials. This can really drive up the property value and, in some cases, may lower the insurance premium of the home. The beauty of a slate roof is an advantage not only with quality but with longevity, withstanding a beating compared to other roof types. Each piece has to be cut and adhered to the roofing underlayment. This represents an outstanding one-of-a-kind craftsmanship that can be found with other roofing types. Installation is comparable to a traditional synthetic slate or asphalt roof, so contracting costs are competitive.

Because it is also a green roofing alternative, this appeals to homeowners who are eco-conscious about their home, including heating and cooling costs. This type of roof can help the home retain heat and cool air, allowing the homeowner to save hundreds on their heating and cooling bills each year.

Most quality slate roof shingles are generally impact resistant. This means they can withstand abuse as well damage from the elements, including hail, falling debris and ice formation.

They are also fire resistant, which is something sought after by homeowners who may live near wildfire-prone areas.

Another advantage is that slate does not fade or change color like other synthetic roofs. Their color is often warrantied to last up to 15 years or longer, depending on the brand or manufacturer. This is a great perk for homes with new construction. The colors can be easily matched and the homeowner does not have to worry about fading.

Disadvantages of Slate Roofing

While there are many advantages to slate roofing, there are some disadvantages as well. The biggest one is finding quality installation. It can be difficult to match slate colors because each piece is different. This could show some differences in color and hue once installation is already complete. Another challenge with matching occurs when the homeowner currently has a slate roof. It can be hard to get new pieces to match up with the existing roof.

Because slate has to be delivered to the job site, there is always a chance that pieces can get broken or chipped. Careful handling is required throughout the delivery and installation process. Misuse of slate can cost the homeowner and the contractor thousands of dollars.

Homeowners should keep in mind that while slate is still a good cost option compared to synthetic slate roofing, it does not come standard with certain paint colors. If the homeowner wishes to match up existing or special-order paint, the costs can be steep. Otherwise, an alternative such as synthetic slate roofing may have to be used.

Choosing slate roofing is still a great cost savings in the long run. The benefits of the beauty and durability will last a lifetime.

Last updated on Oct 19, 2016

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