Why Slate Roofing is Worth the Investment

January 20, 2020

a close-up of a slate tile roof with nearby copper work, flashing, and valleys

Slate is an exceptional roofing material and worthwhile investment in your home. The famous longevity and beauty of slate adds value as well as meaning to your home; it enhances the curb appeal, provides peace of mind, and tells a story, perhaps one just beginning. Perhaps one that began generations ago. It’s a forward thinking investment that will appeal to future buyers as much as the original owner. As if to say “this is more than just a shelter against the rain and snow. This is our home and it was built to last.”

Approaching the value of a slate roof rationally, we focus on its durability and related savings. If your slate roof is installed correctly and proper routine maintenance – as all roofs require – is attended to, you can expect your investment to last for generations. Conservatively, a slate roof can last for a century. Some of the more robust slate tiles can last even longer; sometimes hundreds of years longer.

Sure, more vulnerable sections of your roof might require unexpected maintenance or repair work, but on the whole a slate roof is incredibly long lasting. Particularly when compared against other modern roofing materials, such as asphalt or composite shingles. Their persistent and successful marketing campaigns have convinced us to expect less from our roofing materials, measuring their life-cycle in mere decades rather than centuries; that money saved is the better value.

Value is more than just money saved or spent.

Let’s be clear: a century is a long, long time. A slate roof is likely to outlast the original purchaser, roofer, and roofing company, particularly if it was installed by a true roofing master. The value of this investment carries over into the next generation of homeowners. It’s an investment in a more lasting future. Not a goopy tar patch shoring up an old leak. A slate roof begs us to reflect on the permanence of family, community, and culture; a need that only stone satisfies.

A well made slate roof creates lasting value.

And this value is beautiful.

a beautiful new slate roof

Slate is a metamorphic (changed) rock that comes in a variety of colors and textures. The natural weight, density, and robustness of slate is immediately clear; your slate roof stands out, boldly. It’s stone, not plastic. It’s a conversation happening over decades, repeated through the generations. But it can be a colorful roof, brilliant even, with an accumulating patina that adds to the wow factor as the ensuing decades pile on. Every slate tile is uniquely colored and striped; every slate roof is a well-armored masterpiece of layered stone. It’s rough red, blue, grey or green hue striking out against the drab browns and greys of thoughtlessly fabricated asphalt shingles. 

Strength, beauty, and time honored craft, to keep your family warm and dry.

But mother nature is a patient, persistent foe. Thanks to slate’s naturally low water absorption index, the material is remarkably resilient against rain. Along with its low thermal conductivity, slate is also an excellent insulator. Together, these properties make slate an impressive material in any climate, especially colder regions. Indeed, there are few things more picturesque than a slate roofed cottage, bright and warm amidst the fresh snow. An unassuming sentinel, well-protected against high winds, heavy snow, and rain. And while so much around the slate will rot and decay with time, your stone roof will persist year after year.

Because investing in a slate roof is also investing in the future, rather than just treating an immediate problem, we should discuss sustainability and recycling. We can’t talk about lasting value without discussing our environmental impact. Borrowing from future generations is simply not sustainable.

Often, the slate material will outlast the building they were originally intended for and can be re-purposed for another building project, over and over again. Slate is inert stone. There are no chemical by-products from the tile itself. This is terrestrial, rocky stuff, not a single-purpose single-use petroleum product. The carbon footprint, then, is lower than their asphalt or composite shingle counterparts. Because they can be re-purposed so often and because the individual tiles preserve their value so well over time, the destiny of slate is not the landfill.

Nearly all synthetic roofing products end up in the trash… eventually. They enjoy a shorter lifespan than slate and can be hard to recycle even if they’re sold as a “green” alternative. The lower price point of synthetic shingles is just a credit against the future. A short term solution to a lasting problem. 

But, tomorrow’s debts still need to be paid and we won’t find much value in the trash.

Slate is both classic and modern; geologically and aesthetically timeless. Slate roofs are beautiful and strong. A good slate roof represents a commitment to the present and the future. In other words, a well-made slate roof is enduring value and a worthwhile investment.

An aerial shot of a slate roof repair in progress by the durable slate company