Slate roofs gained the nickname “the forever roof” for a good reason—but it doesn’t mean they’re immune against repair or replacement. Your forever roof can turn into a “needing repair every few years” roof without proper maintenance.
Today we’ll cover all things slate so you know when to replace, when to repair, and how much a slate roof will cost you.
Benefits of a Slate Roof Include:
- One of the longest-lasting roofing materials (100+ years)
- Relatively low maintenance
- Environmentally friendly
- Unique and stylish curb appeal
- Premium roofing material with great ROI
- Naturally fire and rot-resistant
- Dramatically increases the value of your home
How Much Does a Slate Roof Cost?
Slate roofs have a wide range in cost depending on whether you’re choosing soft or hard slate, the size of your roof, and the labor costs associated with installation. On average, you can expect a slate roof to cost between $11,000 and $24,000. However, some homeowners may spend upwards of $45,000 for premium installation or large roofs.
The reason slate is so costly is that:
- The material is very heavy, which makes installation more complicated.
- It requires special slaters to install it and isn’t a standard roofing material installed by just any roofer.
- The flashing, boots and other roofing components must be high quality to ensure a tight seal.
Although the upfront costs of slate can be quite high, the return on investment is massive due to its incredibly long lifespan of 150 years or more.
What Are the Signs It’s Time to Repair Your Slate Roof?
Slate tiles are one of the most durable roofing materials available, but they can still be damaged enough to require repairs. The material’s sturdiness makes it far less likely to be damaged than asphalt or wood, for example. But strong winds and large hail can be enough to damage the tiles.
However, a slate roof’s most common need for repair is regular wear and tear. Slate is a natural stone that can expand and contract during temperature changes. In climates with a consistent freeze-thaw cycle, this constant expansion of the tiles can inevitably cause them to crack and require repair or replacement.
Proper installation and treating them with water-resistant products can help alleviate some of the risks, but overall it’s best for climates that don’t get incredibly cold then warmer in a short amount of time.
The flashing and fasteners of a slate roof are also susceptible to damage and repairs—more so than any of the slate tiles. Roof flashing, in general, often requires repair or replacement long before the roof does. Regular maintenance and inspection can help eliminate any immediate repairs by catching issues before they cause leaks or other damage to your home.
Overall, evident signs of damage to a slate roof include:
- Cracked or broken tiles
- Missing or loose tiles
- Moisture, mold, or leaks in the attic
- Holes or craters from hail/debris
- Dusting in the attic from the tiles rubbing against the roof decking
- Broken or loose fasteners and flashing
When Should a Slate Roof Be Replaced?
If you notice any of the above signs of damage, your slate roof should be repaired by just replacing a few of the damaged tiles. When contractors do that, it’s also appropriate to check the roof sheathing, decking, and flashing underneath the shingles being replaced. Any damage to slate tile leaves the roof susceptible to leaks, so ensuring no further damage was done is vital to making those repairs.
When any tile repairs are being made, the contractor should:
- Inspect for rot on the roofing deck or in the attic
- Inspect and replace (if necessary) damaged flashing
- Check for rust or leaks around roof fasteners
- Make necessary repairs if damage has spread
If the damages or required repairs are on more than 20-30% of the roof, it might be time to replace the entire thing. Replacement is a more extensive process as it requires removing the existing tiles and replacing them all brand new.
This can be time-intensive and may increase the overall cost of a slate roof replacement due to added labor costs. However, repairing a large section of the roof is only buying time and will end up costing you more in the long run—so it’s best to do it in one fell swoop.
Other critical signs that indicate you need to replace vs. repair include extensive flaking of the slate tiles, and the powdering we mentioned above that may be most prevalent in the attic on the underside of the tiles.
Other Things to Consider When It Comes to Installing Slate Tiles
Slate roofs are expensive but ultimately are a great investment because of their low-maintenance, rarity of repair, and strong durability. Plus, they’re just plain stunning on any building. But before installing a slate roof, there are a few key considerations that can help determine the best option.
For one, composite slate roofs are an option. Composite slate looks and feels like the real thing, but at a fraction of the cost. Composite slate roofs also don’t require the extra reinforcement of a home to carry the heavy load of natural slate tiles.
Get the Best Slate for Your Home
To get the most out of your investment, choosing a contractor who installs DaVinci Composite Slate Roofs (like Durashield) means they can save a ton on long-term maintenance and replacement costs. Due to DaVinci’s high impact and fire resistance, homeowners who install a DaVinci Slate roof may even receive discounts on their insurance premiums.
If you’re interested in a slate roof, contact us today. Thanks to our high-quality brand partnerships with Owens Corning and DaVinci, homeowners across Wisconsin can get a high-end roof within their budget and have it installed the right way with the team at DuraShield.