- Weight considerations. Slate is heavy. The building’s framing must be able to support it.
- Maintenance. As a natural material slate can have flaws. Also, the installation process can have weaknesses. These factors inevitably lead to service calls and repairs.
- Cost. Natural slate by itself is expensive, and because of the variable attributes of real slate, installation takes additional time.
The roof being installed in the picture above is not real slate! I know because I held the product in my hand. You literally have to touch it to realize this is a synthetic roof slate.
The particular product is called Lamarite Slate Composite Shingles and is manufactured by TAMKO Building Products. TAMKO also makes a shake composite shingle which I have not seen, but it’s certainly worth a look if you’re considering a real shake roof.
Traditional Slate vs. A Synthetic Slate Roof
I’ve written before about authentic vs. synthetic materials. In most instances I like “keeping it real”. However, you owe it to yourself to research and consider the look, the cost, the maintenance and the longevity of all your options.
There are attributes shared by both a traditional slate roof and a synthetic slate roof.
- Great look. As I mentioned, it’s hard to tell the difference.
- Fire resistance.
- Wind resistance.
So what features of a synthetic slate roof make it worth considering over a traditional slate roof?
- Easier to install. The synthetic product has features built into it to simplify and speed-up installation like: designated nail zones and preformed hip & ridge shingles. It’s also lighter and easier to cut than real slate.
- Resistance to foot traffic. The consistent integrity and stability of a synthetic slate roof makes it safer to walk on if necessary.
In the case of this synthetic slate roof the homeowner will enjoy the look of real slate, but with the advantages of lighter weight, less maintenance and lower cost.
For a truly classic project, authenticity should be your goal. But when you can introduce advantages through composites and synthetics without sacrificing looks, “go for it”. And don’t worry – your secret is safe with me.