Slate Roofing: What You Need to Know


Slate Roofing is widely considered as being one of the few and true “lifetime roofs.” Slate is a premium roofing material that is more durable than asphalt shingles and tiles. Many famous buildings, in fact, use this material because of its top-notch strength and long service life.

Read on as Achten’s Quality Roofing, your local roofing and gutter contractor, shares a few things you need to know about installing a slate roof.

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The History of Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is one of the oldest roofing materials in the world. It dates back 700 years and is used worldwide. There are many reasons to choose slate roofing, including its fireproof qualities. But it is also a very expensive material to install.

During World War I, non-strategic materials such as asbestos-cement shingles were affordable. This increased the market share for slate roofing.

Today, natural slate is still in high demand. However, synthetic slate is available. These products are more durable and lightweight than natural slate roofing. They are usually cheaper than slate and come in a variety of colors.

A good slate roof is a great investment, but it can cost several hundred dollars. It may be necessary to replace a slate roof at some point. In many cases, it is simply a matter of replacing broken shingles.

Depending on the type of roof you have, you can expect your slate roofing to last between 75 and 150 years. It is a durable, beautiful roof that adds value to your home.

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As a material, it is a highly durable, weather resistant, insect resistant and environmentally friendly. Compared to asphalt shingles, it is more resistant to moisture, frost damage and fire. Moreover, it is a good choice for historic properties.

Slate was first imported to the New World by the Jamestown settlers. Although it was not popular at first, it has gained popularity in the last couple of centuries.

Slate is made from volcanic ash and clay. Once mined, it is sawed along cleavage lines. The smaller pieces of slate are then fashioned into shingles.

Various Installation Patterns

Slate roofs are often characterized as having uniformly-arranged gray or black rectangles on sloped roofs. However, that is not always the case. The material can be installed in many ways, and it depends on the size, color and texture of the material.

For instance, a roof can have slate pieces of the same height and thickness but that vary in width.

Another example involves contractors using different colors of the same material, adding texture to an otherwise uniform-looking roof.

Proper Installation

Regardless of whether the roof has a skylight or not, the pros must make sure to reduce the chances of walking on the slate roof. The more they do so, the more likely the material will crack. For this, roofers use roof brackets, also known as “roof jacks,” which act like mini scaffolds.

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Importance of Nails

Slate may be durable, but like other roofing materials, it needs to be nailed to keep them secured. Installers use copper, stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized steel nails, making sure they are of the right length.

Ideally, they must be double the slate’s thickness plus an inch. Once hammered, they will penetrate the roof sheathing boards but not all the way through.

At Achten’s Quality Roofing, we create beautiful and durable slate roofing systems with GAF’s TruSlate®. You get genuine, real S1-grade, hand-split quarried slate from North America’s finest quarries. This gives you roof a high-quality, luxurious appearance.

The material is lighter than traditional slate and is perfect for both new construction and re-roofing.

We also offer other services, including installation of gutter guards, chimney caps and eave flashings. Call us today at (253) 539-7663 or fill out our contact form.