Slate Roof Cost, Pros and Cons, Facts, and FAQ

What's a Typical Cost To Install a new Roof? Average Price: $5,960 - $12,740
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If you are looking for a “lifetime” roofing system that can provide superior durability and add a distinctive touch of timeless beauty to your home, then consider investing in a natural slate roof.

For centuries, slate has been highly acclaimed for its natural beauty and remarkably superior longevity, unmatched by other materials. Investing in a slate roofing system is a major financial commitment. Therefore, it is critical to learn about advantages and drawbacks of slate before you make a buying decision.

Cost Details

One of the factors that deters many homeowners from installing a slate roof is the high cost of materials and labor. Depending on the grade, thickness, and the overall quality of slate tiles, expect to pay between $7.00 and $15.00 per square foot for materials alone.

With the installation, your total cost will be between $14.00 and $28.00 per square foot installed. The reason for such a wide pricing range is that installation/labor costs can vary widely from installer to installer. Your location and difficulty of the roof will also play a major role in determining the overall cost of the project.

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Aesthetic Appeal

Slate Roof

One of the most attractive features of slate is its natural beauty, followed by its truly uncontested durability and longevity. Slate will enhance the look of any architectural style, and is available in a variety of natural slate colors and textures.

Slate’s color options include green, gray, black, purple, red as well as tiles that sport a mixture of colors. Moreover, slate shingles are shaped by hand to meet specific requirements and can be custom made in a variety of thicknesses and sizes. Regardless of its age, slate will maintain its distinctive appearance.


When it comes to roof longevity, few roofing materials can compete with slate. A slate roof will easily last over 100 years, which is at least double of what other roofing materials can offer.

Many slate tile manufacturers offer up to 100-year warranty on their products. For people who do not plan to ever sell their home, the incredible longevity of slate is a highly desirable benefit.

Durability and Low Maintenance

Being a natural stone, slate is more durable than any man-made material. High density of slate makes it waterproof, meaning that it will not absorb water. Slate is completely non-combustible and will protect your home in the event of a fire.

Slate is also highly resistant to any temperature fluctuations and inclement weather conditions, making it ideal in areas prone to heavy rain, snow, and wind.

Moreover, a slate roof will not be affected by fungus and mold. These properties make a slate roof practically maintenance free, allowing you to have the peace of mind, without having to spend extra cash on expensive maintenance and repairs.

High Resale Home Value

Installing a slate roof on a house, greatly increases its resale value. Moreover, slate’s permanence, durability and aesthetic appeal will make your home more attractive to prospective buyers if you ever decide to sell it.

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Environmentally – Friendly

Slate’s longevity makes it an environmentally friendly roofing choice. Roofing waste from roofs that get replaced every 10-20 years currently accounts for 5% of all construction waste that fills up our shrinking landfill space. With a slate roof, you will not be contributing to this problem! 😉


Fragility and Replacement Issues

While slate is a very durable material, it can break if stepped on. You should not walk on slate tiles unless you know what you are doing, otherwise you will most likely damage some of them.

Once a slate tile is broken, replacing it is a complicated task. Slate runs by lots and each lot is different, which makes it nearly impossible to find replacement tiles that are a perfect match.

Heavy Weight

One of the drawbacks of slate for some homeowners is the heavy weight of slate roofing tiles, which can be between 800 – 1,500 pounds per square (100 square feet).

Consequently, not all homes have the structural support necessary to take the weight of a slate roof, and often additional reinforcement needs to be installed.

Prior to purchasing a slate roof, make sure you have your home evaluated from a structural standpoint to know whether it can take the weight of the slate roof.

Complex Installation

The key to slate’s longevity is proper installation. If a slate roof is not properly installed, it could easily become the cause of some major roof problems. Slate is a very specialized roofing system and installing it correctly does require some proper training and experience.

The reality is that most roofers do not have this experience, yet many will readily agree to install your slate roof anyway! Do not fall into this trap, and only hire an experienced contractor who specializes in slate roofing. Be sure to ask the contractor for local references.

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What's a Typical Cost To Install a new Roof? Average Price: $5,960 - $12,740
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4 thoughts on “Slate Roof Cost, Pros and Cons, Facts, and FAQ”

  1. I am buying a beautiful cape that has a gorgeous slate roof across the entire front side of the home, but the back side is all asphalt shingles. My guess is the original home owners did this for Aesthetic purposes and to save money.

    Is this common and would it be better to replace the back side with Slate as well? Hopefully it would be much cheaper, as it would only be the back side.

    • Hi Lorraine,

      This is not very common, but slate roofing is expensive, so the cost savings is the most logical explanation for why the roof was covered with slate on the front side and asphalt shingles on the back side.

      Provided the current roof structure of the house is designed to withstand the heavy weight of natural slate, you can have the back side covered with matching slates, as well, but it will cost you a pretty penny.

      You can leverage this roofing situation in negotiating your offer on the house.

      Good Luck!

    • Hi Cheryl,

      If you have a real slate roof, I would only recommend replacing any missing or broken slates with other natural, properly-matched slates. You would probably need to find a slate roofing specialist in your area to do that.

      Fake slates are only an option if you are replacing either the entire roof or a section of the roof.

      Good Luck!


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