slate roof in black

Slate Roofing – Why It is One of the Most Cost Effective Roofing Materials.

Posted on June 4, 2021 by baker-admin

You might be wondering if slate is more expensive than most roof coverings, then how can it be one of the most cost-effective roofing materials?

Slate material costs are three or four times the average asphalt shingle cost per square (a square is 100 SF), and the accessories are more expensive as well. Not to mention that slate roof installation requires more skill, and as you may have guessed, installation costs are also much more.

Now, I know you must be confused. Isn’t this article supposed to be discussing how slate is a more cost-effective roofing material, but as of yet, it has only been pointed out to be more expensive? Well, that is true, initially.

Natural stone roofing materials like slate has been used since the 16th century in North America and for much longer in Europe. This is because the durability of slate is incomparable to any other roofing material. Yes, you will spend more money on the roof upfront, but there are several reasons that this roof should be considered an investment.


Slate vs. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt roofing shingles are the most common roofing material for residential houses, much more common than slate roofing. The reason asphalt shingles are more common is solely due to the price. A square of 30-year or laminated asphalt shingles will cost about $110 dollars a square plus accessories and installation labor. Slate costs per square are between $400 – $1800 plus accessories and installation labor. Slate costs vary greatly depending on color, thickness, region, and cut.

However, when we look at the lifespan of each material, we begin to see how slate is more cost-effective than the cheapest roofing material, asphalt shingles.

Asphalt shingles have a true lifespan of 15-20 years in most climates vs. 75 – 200 years lifespan of slate shingles. Softer slate material will have a shorter lifespan than the harder varieties. If we look at the longest lifespan of asphalt shingles vs. the shortest lifespan of slate shingles and we compare price by the year, we see that slate comes out on top by just a small margin, as seen below.


Asphalt Shingle and Slate Cost Comparison per Year


However, when we compare the same asphalt shingle lifespan to the longest slate lifespan at an average cost of $600 for a good quality hard slate, the cost-effectiveness is awarded to the slate. We should note that both of these comparisons do not include accessories or labor costs in the equations. Considering that, the accessories for a slate roof will typically be more expensive because they are long-lasting materials, just like the slate roof shingles.

nd Slate Cost Comparison per Year 2


Slate Roof Benefits Over Asphalt Shingles

Abandon farmhouse with old slate roof


Slate roofing has many more benefits than just its durability and longevity that add to its cost-effectiveness. Slate roofing shingles require less maintenance than asphalt shingles. Over the years, and asphalt shingle will degrade quickly, becoming brittle and losing granules. This brittleness will decrease its wind rating, making it more acceptable to wind damage progressively at less windspeed than when new. This results in more repairs needed in-between roof replacement adding to its total lifetime cost.

Slate will remain strong and will not degrade quickly, if much at all over many years. The harder slate tiles will have a much longer life; even today, there are slate roofs that are more than 200 years old.

Slate will also increase the value of your home, especially if you have a high-quality slate roof installed. While it increases the home value, it also increases the curb appeal making your home more desirable to potential home buyers.

Back to Blog