Natural slate is very resistant to water and fire and will withstand severe temperatures, both high and low. These characteristics elevate slate to the top tier of superior roofing materials. Slate roof tiles are made from natural slate that has been mined and produced in three grades. Top-quality slate is dark green or black in color and very durable; it can be used for exterior surfaces as well as interior decorating features such as flooring and countertops. Medium-quality slate is light to medium green in color and less durable than top-quality slate; it's commonly used for roof sheathing (the framework upon which roofs are built) and other non-slip applications. Backslates are gray or brown in color and the most common type of slate used for roofing; they're typically thinner than other types of slate and more flexible. They're generally used where design elements like dormers or gables would otherwise be visible on a roof.
Slate is a hard, dense stone that does not chip, crack, or peel away when removed from its environment. The stone is heavy and difficult to work with so most slate is now manufactured rather than quarried. Modern machinery shapes the slate into flat panels that are then glued or nailed together to form a single sheet. The grain of the slate may run perpendicular ("C-shaped") or parallel ("V-shaped") to the surface.
In terms of weather durability and fire resistance, hard slate is one of the most durable roofing materials available. Slate, as a hard stone, will not absorb water or get distorted as a result of moisture exposure. In addition, slate will retain its makeup for decades. It can also be cut and fitted to match any design element within the building structure.
Slate has been used for roofing since ancient times. The Egyptians made slate roofs popular by using it to cover their famous pyramids. Today, this material is used worldwide for both commercial and residential applications. It is often selected over other types of roofing materials because it is extremely long-lasting and resistant to heat, cold, rain, snow, and wind. The color of slate varies depending on how it was quarried but generally ranges from gray to white.
The texture of slate is similar to granite; however, due to its ease of cutting, slate is usually not as sharp as granite. Also, because it's a rock, slate has many natural flaws like cracks, knots, and wormholes. When slate is being manufactured for use as roofing material, these defects are removed during processing. However, some imperfections may make their way into the finished product and can be visible when it is installed on a building.
One advantage of slate that cannot be emphasized enough is its longevity.
True slate roof tiles are made entirely of natural stone and include no additives. Slate roofing, like real granite countertops, is extracted from the soil. Slate may be distinguished by the way light strikes it at a specific angle. This is due to the high mica concentration of slate tile. The microscopic structure of slate is composed mainly of silicon dioxide (silica) and aluminum oxide. It has an extremely dense crystalline structure that makes it very hardy; most types of weathering cause little more than color changes to the surface.
Slate was originally used as roofing material because it is easy to work with and durable. It can also add value to your home! Unfortunately, slate is also heavy so it's not always the best choice for colder climates where it can lead to leakage issues if not installed by a professional roofer. However, if you live in a region that gets plenty of sunlight exposure, then a slate roof is a great option!
Do you know the difference between slates and tiles? The most significant distinction is that natural roofing slate is a natural product, whereas tiles, whether concrete or clay, are produced. As a result, slate tiles may be the more appealing option for people seeking a genuine rustic style. Slates can look worn-out after just a few years, while tile roofs will last forever if cared for properly.
The main advantage of slate is its ability to mimic other materials used on buildings, such as wood or tiled surfaces. This makes it useful in areas where you want to conserve energy but still provide coverage for important structures. For example, if your house has metal joists under the floorboards, they won't get damaged by standing on slate. The same goes for wooden floors: They won't get stained by the acid in rainwater because they're not made of glass.
Slate is also easy to maintain and durable. You won't need to seal it like you would a tile roof, and any dirt trapped between the stones will simply come out of the way when you sweep off the roof. Tiles require periodic cleaning to prevent mold from growing behind walls and underneath sinks.
Both types of roof are suitable for warm climates like southern California, but if you live in an area that experiences intense sunlight, you might want to consider something more protective. Tile roofs are known to heat up quickly in the sun and can cause skin diseases.
Slate roofs are extremely durable since they are constructed of naturally existing stone. Unlike other roofing materials, slate is largely unaffected by weather extremes such as high winds, high temperatures, or even hail (most slate roofs can resist up to 4 inches of hail). It is for these reasons that slate is the preferred roof material for most climates around the world.
Slate is also an excellent conductor of heat, which is why it is commonly used in hot climates as well. Slate roofs do not emit gases into the atmosphere like some other materials may, so they are environmentally friendly. If you're considering installing a slate roof, take care when selecting slate because not all slates are equal. The best slate has no significant defects; if anything, it should have a slight gray coloration. The darker the slate, the more iron present in it. This will not affect its durability or climate-keeping capabilities but it could cause a problem if you are using it as a surface upon which to paint or stain.
Finally, slate is very affordable and easy to maintain. You won't need much labor time or equipment to install or repair a slate roof. Just make sure to select a reputable company that knows how to handle this type of material.
The best part is that a slate roof will not cost you more to operate or maintain than other types of roofs.