If you want a roof that’s going to last a lifetime, standard asphalt shingles may not be a good fit for your new construction or re-roofing project. That’s because they last 20 to 30 years—decades less than other, premium options such as metal or slate.

Slate is a natural material, which makes it eco-friendly. Despite being tough and water-resistant, it can be easily split into smaller pieces. The varying colors and its natural look give slate tiles a beautiful aesthetic that other roofing materials simply can’t match. Its timeless feel makes it a fitting choice for government buildings, churches, and renovated historical homes. But the high cost associated with slate roofing has made it a less popular choice for residential properties than the standard materials.  

If you’re interested in slate roofing for your home, you’ll want to cut to the chase: how much does it cost? How long does it last?  

Table of Contents

Slate Roofing Cost Breakdown


The cost of materials accounts not only for the quality of the material itself but for the labor that has to be done by hand to acquire and prepare it, which includes cutting the slate into slabs and drilling holes that make installation easier. Your roof area and the type of tiles you choose will have bearing on the price, but a safe estimate for the materials is about $900 to $1300 per roofing square (100 square feet).

Other materials, like underlayment, drip edging, and special tools needed for the job may cost you $100 or more per roofing square.


Slate must be installed properly in order to last as long as it’s made to last. As you call contractors, make sure to ask specifically about each contractor’s experience with slate roofing so that you can feel confident they have the necessary experience. It’s also a heavy material, so this particular roof installation should be done with the utmost expertise and care. Labor will most likely cost you anywhere from $600 to $1500 per roofing square. If your current roof needs to be removed, or if you have a complex roof layout, this will cost more. Be sure to take these factors into account and ask about them when you contact roofing specialists.

slate roof

Advantages of Slate Roofing

Depending on the square footage, a well-executed slate roof can end up costing you around $14,000 to $18,000 when all is said and done. This is an intimidating number, but before you resign yourself to asphalt, make sure you’re taking into account the several strong advantages of slate:


Depending on which type you choose, a slate roof can last 60 to 125 years. If you intend to live in your house for a long time or would like to pass it down in the family, you will most likely not have to go through another roof replacement in your lifetime.  

Energy efficiency

Slate is a dense material that can keep unwanted heat out of your home in the summer. This is another reason why proper installation by an experienced professional is so vital; the underlayment helps insulate your home, which can reduce heat transfer and save you money on your energy bills.  

Easily recycled

Slate is simply stone. It doesn’t give off toxins, and it will last on your home for potentially a century. If you are concerned about your carbon footprint and want the most eco-friendly roofing option possible, you are looking in the right place.

Easily maintained

 Slate is naturally resistant to water damage, temperature fluctuations, mildew, and bad weather.


Because slate is natural, it comes in varying shades depending on its chemical composition and its area of origin. You can experiment with color and do something unique, or just stick with the classic gray.


Thanks to all of these qualities, a slate roof can raise the value of your home.

Disadvantages of Slate Roofing

Slate is well worth the investment for many people, but you never want to jump into a project blindly. The material is durable, but the same quality that makes it ideal for cutting into slabs can also be its downfall—slate is somewhat fragile and can be cracked or broken if not handled properly. It’s also very heavy, which means that you’ll need to have your home evaluated before you decide to move forward and make sure it can handle the weight.

Know Your Options

Slate is a gorgeous, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible material. But installing a slate roof means paying large front-end costs. Consider metal roofing as an alternative if the financial sacrifice of slate is not ideal for your budget, and make sure to thoroughly research roofing contractors before trusting one of them with the future of your home.