Natural stone, in various forms, has been used for roofing since ancient times. A few examples are some Roman forts and military buildings having slate roofs, Trulli houses in Italy with pyramidal stone roofs made from roughly worked limestone boulders, as well as Romanesque and gothic style slate roofs on different historic buildings. Many of these roofs still stand, so we cannot deny the importance of slate – this noble and highly durable roofing material.
The advantages of slate roofs
Slate became popular in areas where this material was easy to find. In America, slate roofs appeared in the 16th century, but became popular only in the late 1800s. Compared to traditional wood and reed roofs, slate provided some advantages:
- durability and resistance in any climate
- naturally waterproof surface
- low maintenance in most applications
- suitable for areas of strong winds due to its weight
- aesthetically pleasing
- good fire protection
- no rot or insects/ pests issues
The service life of a roof is a particularly important constant. Most entrepreneurs are willing to pay a higher price for materials that retain their properties and appearance for a long time.
According to experienced roof repair Houston specialists, a metal roof can last for 40-50 years; ceramic tiles have a longer service life – up to 100 years. However, nothing compares with the durability of a slate roof, which has a guaranteed service life of more than 150 years. A slate roof is the best solution for those who want to enjoy impeccable appearance and durability. According to studies, the climate, the level of precipitation and the temperature variations do not affect this material suitable for many types of buildings: residential homes, monumental constructions, churches, etc. Slate tiles are resistant, they face weather challenges and keep their characteristics over time.
The insulating properties of any roof are important because they affect the well-being and personal comfort; at the same time, they influence the value of the utility bills. The chemical and physical composition of a slate tile roof is complex, which allows efficient insulation, reducing heat losses and overheating. Homes with slate roofs require 30% less resources for being heated, compared to those covered with metal roofs, so you can expect to achieve significant financial savings over time.
However, as with any other materials, there are also some cons relating to slate tile roofing:
- a slate roof is one of the most expensive roofing options – both in terms of material costs and labor
- It is a very heavy material, so the roof structure may need additional support
- it is risky to walk on it, for making necessary repairs, as slate is brittle
Also, restoring the slate roof is a long and expensive operation, which is why regular maintenance is preferable. After a period of 20 years, an inspection is required every 2 years, and after 40 years, you should consider annual inspections. Broken or cracked parts must be replaced, as well as rusted accessories. Maintenance also involves periodic removal of moss and algae that typically grow on any natural roof.