Slate roofing shingles have been used as a roofing material since ancient times, as they are made from clay that has been compressed over time to form shale and then slate. This slate is mined from the earth. Slate is harvested in large slabs and has layers formed by different stages of compression. These layers allow the slate to be split or sawn into different thicknesses. The slate is then sawn and quartered along the cleavage lines to reach the desired dimensions. The larger pieces are commonly used for countertops, blackboards, electric panels, and flooring, while the smaller pieces are crafted into shingles by hand or machine. To make an informed decision about roofing materials, it’s crucial to be aware of all the available options. Asphalt shingle roofing is commonly chosen due to its affordability for both purchase and installation.
Slate roofing is commonly seen on high-end homes and is the preferred roofing material for many people, if it was more affordable. Slate is highly resistant to water, very long-lasting, and is often referred to as the top-of-the-line roofing material or the roof that lasts a lifetime. For most individuals, installing a slate roof means they will never need another roof for the duration of their homeownership.
Slate Roofing History:
Slate was first used for roofing on a private home in North Wales in the year 1300 A.D. However, it was mostly used in castles and military buildings due to its high cost. In the 16th century, it was introduced to America and the first quarry was established on the Pennsylvania-Maryland border in 1734. Although it remained expensive, it became more accessible to average homeowners in the 1800s.
Slate is a rock that is abundant in India, Brazil, Asia, and the United States. In the United States, it is primarily obtained from quarries in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The quarried rock is then sent to mills where it undergoes inspection for any imperfections before being transformed into various products, including roofing tiles. The colors in natural slate come from the minerals in each piece. Hematite creates purple highlights, chlorite makes a green hue, and carbon gives the slate its blacks and grays. To achieve a seamless blend in the appearance of a finished roof, some installations require using a combination of weathering and non-weathering slate tiles. The determination of which type of slate to use is based on the amount of iron pyrite present in the slate. Iron pyrite, also known as fools gold, can cause the slate shingle to weather differently and result in various shades of brown.
Lifespan of a Slate Roof:
The lifespan of slate depends on whether it is classified as hard or soft. Hard slate can last between 75 to 150 years, whereas soft slate has a shorter lifespan of about 50 to 90 years. However, the longevity of slate is influenced by various factors, including the finished quality of the slate, installation, and maintenance of the roof. Additionally, the origin of the slate is important, with most slate mined in Vermont and New York being hard and most of the soft slate coming from Pennsylvania.
Typically, slate roofing does not have a manufacturer’s warranty due to it being a natural material. Instead, it is your roofing contractor who will provide the warranty. To ensure the best warranty possible, it is important to select a reputable contractor who has been in business long enough to offer a lifetime warranty. Beware of roofing companies that may push you to replace your slate roof, even when it just needs basic maintenance. It requires years of experience to be proficient in installing slate roofs and accurately assessing their condition. If your slate roof is younger than 30 years, it’s recommended that you have an inspector check it out before taking further action. This could help you avoid unnecessary expenses, loss of time, and inconvenience.
The Advantages and Disadvantages Of Slate Roofing
As with any roofing material, there are pros and cons with a slate roof. We’ll review them in this section.
- Slate is a beautiful roofing material.
- It has a reputation for being used on the most admired dwellings.
- It is resistant to insect infestation.
- It is one of the most durable roofing tiles available.
- It is a natural product.
- It can be recycled as roofing again, making it eco-friendly.
- Slate is naturally fire-resistant.
- If you plan to use slate as roofing material for a new home, it’s important to engineer the roof to support the added weight. (up to 4 times as heavy as asphalt shingles)
- If the structure needs additional support, it can have a significant effect on the project’s cost.
- It is important to hire a slate specialist for the installation as regular roofing contractors lack the qualifications needed for slate installation.
- Although slate is a durable material, it can be easily fractured. Be cautious of heavy objects, like large hail, as they can cause harm.
- Specialists in slate roofing will be required to perform the repairs as the necessary equipment to access the roof and complete the repairs is the same.
- Walking on slate can be difficult and unsafe especially when it’s wet.
Looking for an Experienced Slate Roofing Specialist in NJ?
If you’re searching for a professional, experienced, and reputable NJ roofer who specializes in all types of slate roofing, check out LGC Roofing today! LGC Roofing is a family owned and operated roofing contractor that has been serving the New Jersey area for over 30 years! We are full service NJ roofing company handling both residential & commercial projects, large and small. Whether you need simple roof repair or complete roof replacement, we are your top quality NJ roofer. We are fully insured and licensed to do roofing and siding work in New Jersey. We are certified to install variety of roofs from shingle to cedar shake to slate. Our service areas include the entire State of New Jersey. If you’re looking for more information, you can contact us today at (609) 712-8157 or visit our home page.