Best Types Of Roof Slates

You may have made the decision to purchase slate tiles for your new roof. This article will explore various aspects of slating and tiling, its benefits and identify the best types of roof slates for your property. It will also give you an understanding how they function and how to apply them to your home. You can use this guide to learn about slate tiles from start to finish.

Best types of roof slates

What is slate?

Slate is a type of metamorphic rock that has been used for thousands of years as a roofing material. Traditional slate is produced when layers are bent and compressed over time, which causes it to form natural splits in its surface. These can be split into smooth flat sheets, which can then be cut into various shapes and sizes and also improve its quality.

What are the different types of slates?

There are a number of different types of roof slate available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. It all depends on what you want for your home and other factors.

Natural roof slate

This is one of the best types of roof slates as there are many natural roof slate options and is quite a popular option for many homeowners. There are a number of different types of natural roof slate available in the market, and each one has its own aesthetic appeal and finishes. Slate is mined from a lot of different places, so there’s a really big selection to pick from.

Spanish slate

High quality Spanish slate roofing tiles have the capacity to keep a house warm in winter and cool in summer. When your house is cooler, you spend less on energy costs and your electricity bills are reduced.

Almost 80% of the world’s slate comes from Spain, where the warm climate helps to create dense slates that can better regulate heat. This can help you save on your energy bill, since slate is able to hold heat better during the winter which can lower the energy bills.

Brazilian slate

Brazil is the world’s second-biggest slate manufacturer, and has been a dominant player in the slate manufacturing industry. One big difference between their slate and others is that, unlike products made from metamorphic rocks, mudstone slate lasts longer. As a result, they are now the world’s second-biggest manufacturer of slate. The difference with their slate is that it’s not only made of metamorphic rock, but mudstone.

Welsh slate

The region of North Wales, particularly the slate quarries, has been known for a long time as a high-quality slate producer. Applying this idea to UNESCO status is an interesting way to consider their history in the industry. It’s a durable material that has an attractive appearance, specifically used by architects, developers and designers to build exterior and interior structures.

Fibre cement slate

Fibre cement slate is a man-made material. It’s more stable and safe than natural slate, and can be recycled 100%. It can also be easily assembled, making it both easy on the environment and on your wallet. Moreover, it helps reduce CO2 emissions because you won’t need to grade and sort installation onsite.

Recycled roof slate

If you want to be eco-friendly, consider recycled roof slate – tiles that are made entirely or partly of waste materials from the slate industry. Because they are made from scrap, they produce no waste when they are made into tile.

Benefits of using slate roofs

When you use slate for your home, it has the potential to increase the value of your property. Slate has many benefits, including its durability in harsh weather and its appearance as a luxury material in the eyes of many and clearly outweighs its drawbacks.

Useful life

Slate is known for its durability. Many types, especially natural, can last for decades and have even been known to last centuries. Slate absorbs very little water and withstands many extreme kinds of weather such as frost, which makes it much more admirable for those looking to save up on future maintenance and repair costs.

Additionally, slate is also known to be fireproof – which makes it one of the most sought after roofing solutions for homeowners seeking to complement the appearance of their homes while at the same time avoiding the risk of fire.

Cost

Some of the best types of roof slates can be more expensive, especially the natural ones. The cost of slate roofing depends on a few different factors, including the type of slate you choose (natural vs. man-made) and whether you hire a professional or do it yourself. The labour required to install can also vary depending on the slate type

Installation

If you want to add a slate roof to your house, you are probably looking into two main kinds of slate: natural and man-made. Natural slate installation is more challenging than man-made slate installation. If you are unfamiliar with installing these, it’s best to seek support from professional roofers to reduce accidental damage.

The only disadvantage of natural slate installation is that it could take more than a week to install depending on the structure of the property.

Repairing and maintaining slates

Slates are generally long lasting requiring very few continuous repairs. Though you may require maintenance, you can leave the slate roof as it is unless you face any major damages or splits due to extreme weather.

The process of repairing is also less costly and easier to manage as they can be easily removed, cleaned and re-laid. This is great as you will not need to incur the cost replacing the entire roof, instead repair only parts of it.

How to cut slate

Though slates can break easily into slabs, it’s not necessarily an easy process to cut it into a specific shape.

Before you begin the task of cutting slate into roof tiles, it is vital to take precautions. Cutting slate can produce a lot of dust and particles, which might get into your eyes or be inhaled. 

Therefore, you will need to wear a dust mask, safety goggles and gloves. These can protect you from inhaling these particles during the cutting process.

Once you’ve finished preparing the safety aspects of slate cutting, you’ll want to mark and score your slate before cutting. This will improve accuracy and help give a reference point for where to make the cut.

There are two ways you can go about cutting a slab. By hand, you can use a hammer and chisel or a tile cutter. With power tools, you can use an angle grinder or a circular saw. The easiest method depends on your personal preferences.

Some of the best types of roof slates are those that provide an easier way to cut into various shapes. So, ensure you consider this when you’re preparing your slate roofing.

How to slate a roof?

The traditional method of slating a roof uses hooks which can be quite a complicated process and can be time consuming too. However, some of the best types of roof slates are pre-drilled which are are much easier to install. They generally follows a 5 step process as follow:

  • Find out the pitch of your roof: the pitch will vary how much overlap is required in each slate. This can be done with modern technologies available.
  • Determine the required overlap: depending on the type of roof slates, the manufacturer’s specification will generally suggest the required overlap to ensure it’s securely fastened and placed.
  • Roll out the roof membrane: After ensuring that the rafters are clean and free from any splinters, you would roll out the roofing membrane covering from one corner to the other. Make sure you secure the roofing membrane by using clout nails.
  • Place the battens: Once the membranes are fully rolled out and secured, you can place the battens which is generally the process that takes the longest time. This is the foundation for the slates and should therefore be carefully placed.
  • Lay the slates: Start by placing the under eaves course, this creates a staggered pattern for stability. Leave 5mm gaps between each slate so they accommodate for natural expansion.

What is the life expectancy of roof slates?

As noted above, natural slates are the most durable type. As such, investing in natural slate will definitely pay off. After you install it, your roof will last over a century.

Are natural roofing slates resistant to fire?

This depends on the various materials that go into producing the roofing slates. The European standard EN 13501-1 classifies slates according to their reaction to fire. Accordingly, CUPA PIZARRAS natural slates have been classified as A1.

Final thoughts

In this article, we have looked at various aspects and identified some of the best types of roofing slates. We also briefly explored the cost of each, their textures, possible shapes that it can be formed into and more.

If you still have more questions you would like answered, do get in touch with our professional team of roofers for more insight. You could also book a free consultation with our experts.

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