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Slate Roof Installation 101


1. Not all roofers are qualified to install slate roofing. Make sure to find an installer that has a lot of experience. You may even need to hire a stonemason to install your roof. Don’t hesitate to call references in order to verify the pro’s experience. If the roof isn't installed properly the first time, correcting the mistakes will add significantly to the cost of installation.

2. Before signing a contract, make sure that you get every detail in writing so that there are no surprise costs. Everything from the origin and size of the slate tiles to the copper nails that will be used to fasten them to the roof should be a part of the contract.

3. Slate is very heavy. Ask the contractor if your roof decking is strong enough to support the weight of the slate tiles. You want the decking to last just as long, if not longer, than the roof material.

4. If natural slate is somewhat out of your budget, you may consider installing a synthetic slate roof (also called rubber slate or faux slate). The initial investment will cost significantly less.

How much does a slate roof cost?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $700-$1275 per square (or approx. 100 square feet) for a slate roof. Use the information below to get a good idea of what to expect from the installation process, from start to finish. Whether you are on a tight budget or you are looking to splurge, we have all the information to help you make an educated hiring decision.

Installation Process:

1. Slate comes in a variety of sizes and colors. In addition to gray and black, slate tiles come in red, purple, green, and blue. To ensure that the color is consistent throughout the roof, make sure that all of the tiles come from the same quarry.

2. Slate tiles can be arranged in a number of patterns. The contract should include the agreed upon pattern and the exact amount of material needed to complete the project.

3. Don’t expect the roof to be done in a day! Slate is very heavy and it is important to have a realistic installation timeline. Once you and your contractor agree upon a timeline, get it in writing to prevent any future issues. Also, find out what time the crew will arrive each morning and leave every afternoon.

4. Ask the contractor about the roof’s headlap. It should be no less than three inches in most cases. Anything less is not acceptable and has the potential to ruin your roof by allowing water to seep into your home.

5. Make sure cleanup is included in the cost estimate! Before the contractor and his crew pack up their things and go, they will make sure to pick up any leftover materials and loose nails.


1. Some slate roofs, when installed properly, can last for over 100 years. They require minimal yearly maintenance, although the upfront installation cost can be very high.

2. Slate is very brittle and cannot typically withstand the weight of any human foot traffic. In fact, walking on the roof may immediately invalidate the roof’s warranty.

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About the Author

ProMatcher Staff, ProMatcher
Orlando, FL 32803

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