Slate shingles are made of stone that is highly durable. They can last a hundred years or more. The look they create on a home or building is colorful and handcrafted. They enhance the overall appearance of any roof they top. Slate shingles are the most expensive type of shingles, but their beautiful appearance and incredible durability make them worth the cost to those who can afford them. Working with slate shingles can be a difficult process. They are heavy (about three times as heavy as asphalt shingles) and break easily if not cut properly. It is often necessary to bring in a professional to replace even a few slate shingles on a roof or there is a risk of damaging the new and old shingles. Because of the weight of slate shingles, the rafters of a home or building need to be reinforced before the shingles are installed. This reinforcement can add to the expense of adding slate shingles to a home. Traditionally, slate shingles have been nailed to a roof. If the nailing is done incorrectly, the slates can crack over time and fall off the roof. There is a new method of installing slate shingles that entails hanging the shingles from tracks. There is less damage to the slate done this way.
What is slate and where does it come from?
Slate is a natural stone material that is quarried and used not only on a home's roof but also in other places in a home such as flooring or countertops. In America, slate is taken from quarries in about ten different states. As the use of slate in shingles and other products diminishes because of its expense, the number of quarries diminishes also. This contributes to the rising cost of slate products. There is an alternative for those who like the look and prestige that a slate roof gives to a home or building but cannot afford real slate. There are now synthetic slate roof shingles. They are made of recycled rubber and plastic that is poured into molds that are taken from real roof slates. They look very much like the real thing, but they are less expensive and easier to install. They also eliminate the need to have the rafters of the building reinforced because they are much lighter than slate shingles. The life expectancy on the synthetic shingles is a hundred years. Consumers now have a choice �� natural or synthetic slate shingles.