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Roofing

Slate Tile Roof

Average cost range:

$20,700 - $37,500

On average, the cost to install a slate roof is $20,745 to $37,460 as of 2022 for a standard 3,000 square foot roof, with a national average installation cost of $29,100. Slate tiles can cost between $6.90 to $12.50 per square foot to install, or $690 to $1,250 per roofing square (100 sq. ft). Note that costs can vary by your roof’s size, slope and pitch, as well as contractor labor rates in your area.

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Slate Roof Cost Breakdown

Part of the reason why slate roofing can be expensive is due to the heaviness of the slate tiles and the labor involved. The cost of materials for a slate roof 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. This includes cutting the slate into slabs and drilling holes that make installation easier.

Your roof surface area and the type of slate tiles you choose will impact the price. As of 2022, the average cost to install slate roofing on a home is $6.90 to $12.50 per square foot. However, the total cost for your roofing replacement can vary depending on where you live.

Slate is a heavy material, so this particular roof installation should be done with the utmost expertise and care. Labor to install a slate roof will most likely cost you anywhere from $125 to $225 per roofing square. If your current roof needs to be removed, or if you have a complex roof layout, this can add to the cost.

Other materials, like underlayment, drip edging, and special tools needed for the job, may cost you $100 or more per roofing square. You will want to get at least four quotes from local roof replacement contractors near you to see if a slate roof is within your budget.

Slate tiles must be installed properly in order to maximize their lifespan. 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 required experience.

Benefits of Slate Roofing

Depending on the square footage, a well-installed slate roof can end up costing you up to $38,000 for a 3,000 square foot roof when all is said and done. This can be an intimidating number. But before you resign yourself to asphalt, make sure you are taking into account the several strong advantages, as well as the disadvantages, of slate roofs.

Easily recycled

Slate is simply stone. It does not 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.

Low maintenance

Slate is naturally resistant to water damage, temperature fluctuations, mildew, and bad weather. This type of roof will not require as much upkeep as other options.

Variety of styles

Because slate is natural stone, 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.

asphalt synthetic slate roof

Downsides of Slate Roofing

Slate roofing 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 is also very heavy, which means that you will need to have your home evaluated to see if it can bear the weight of a slate roof beforehand. The weight of slate shingle roofing tiles range between 800 and 1,500 pounds per square (8 – 10 pounds per square foot).

Energy Efficiency

The density of slate can help regulate the temperature in your home, saving you money on your energy bills. You can also enhance the energy saving potential of your slate roof by:

  • Installing Radiant Heat Barriers. Radiant heat barriers are a thin layer of metal insulation (usually tin foil with a paper backing or a metalized mylar sheeting), which can reduce radiant heat transfer into your attic by as much as 95 percent when installed to the underside of your roof.
  • Installing Rainwater Catch Systems. You can reduce your water bills by installing cisterns or drums as part of your roofing installation in order to catch valuable rainwater for landscaping use.

In addition to saving you money on energy costs, a slate roof can also help reduce your environmental footprint. Slate is naturally occurring, contributing no toxic substances to the environment.

Often capable of outlasting the life of your home, slate can also be recycled. Roofing waste accounts for more than 5% of the total waste sent to landfills across the nation every year. Since the majority of that roofing waste can be attributed to asphalt shingle roofing that needs replacement every 20 to 30 years, it is easy to see the positive environmental impacts of installing a roof that is going to last 100 years or more.

Alternatives to Slate Roofing

If the price tag of a new slate roof is out of your budget, you have some alternatives to consider. Among these options are a traditional asphalt roof, a synthetic slate roof, or metal coated roof shingles.

Slate Roof

Average Cost: $37,500
  • Life expectancy of 150+ years
  • Unmatched curb appeal
  • Increases home value
  • Expensive price tag
  • Heavy weight can strain roof

Asphalt Roof

Average Cost: $10,500
  • Affordable price point
  • Most popular roof type in U.S.
  • Lightweight
  • Life expectancy of 15-30 years
  • Less eco-friendly than slate

Stone Coated Roof

Average Cost: $24,000
  • Appears like natural stone
  • Lifes expectancy of 30+ years
  • Excellent weather resistance
  • Noisy with heavy rain or hail
  • More expensive than asphalt

Slate Roofing vs Asphalt Shingles

Natural stone is the ultimate eco-friendly, durable, and beautiful roofing material. Unfortunately, high cost and weight concerns make slate a rare sight on run-of-the-mill homes. You will most often see a slate roof on churches, libraries, and government and university buildings.

Slate tiles will not saturate with water, and offer a completely fireproof option for your roof. Since slate roofing is made of stone, it is impervious to weather, sun, heat, and cold so you can expect a slate roof to last up to 150+ years.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles (the most popular type of roof found on U.S. homes), lasts only 15 to 30 years. However, it is much more affordable than a high-end slate tile roof.

Synthetic Slate Roofs

If the price tag of real stone slate tiles is a bit out of your budget, there are alternatives with synthetic or faux slate roofing. The imitation styling of these synthetic slate shingles might be perfect for your home if you want the slate roof design without the high price tag. Synthetic slate is also far less heavier and easier to install.

Stone Coated Metal Shingles

Believe it or not, homeowners today have the option of installing stone coated metal roof shingles. These shingles appear like natural stone or slate, but have the benefits of a metal roof.

Stone coated metal shingles, unlike the asphalt shingles, have a much higher life expectancy of 30+ years. The initial installation costs may seem higher, but these metal shingles reduce your energy bills and maintenance bills in the long run.

As the base component of these shingles is metal, they provide necessary protection under harsh climatic conditions such as rains, hailstorm, wildfires, lighting and fire caused due to lightning. As metal shingles are lightweight, the installation is faster and easier.

One drawback of metal coating is the noise caused by rain or hailstorms. You may need to spend extra money to insulate your attic for any noise reduction during extreme weather.

Slate Roof Maintenance 

When installed properly, slate roofs require relatively little maintenance. The new roof will last 150 years or longer depending on the type of shingles installed, roof configuration, and the geographical location of the property.

Because of its longevity, slate roofing tiles are highly cost effective over the life of the roof. Not only is the stone naturally highly rugged, it is very resistant to mold, mildew, and other sources of contamination making maintenance costs minimal. That said, broken, cracked, and missing slate shingles should be repaired promptly by a professional in order to prevent water damage to your home’s interior and possible structural damage to framing.