Slate roofing is renowned for its exceptional durability and stunning aesthetics, making it a premier choice for homeowners who prioritize longevity and style in their roofing materials. If you’re exploring roofing options, understanding the key characteristics of slate can influence your decision.

  • Durability: Known for its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, slate is resistant to severe storms, heavy snow, and drastic temperature changes. Its resilience makes it one of the most durable roofing materials available.
  • Aesthetics: Slate offers a natural, elegant appearance that can enhance the architectural design of any home. It comes in various shades and textures, allowing for a range of unique and appealing installation options.

Slate roofing combines robust protection with visual appeal, providing a roof that not only lasts for decades but also enhances the beauty of your property. Such features make it an ideal choice for the discerning homeowner in the Northland region, where quality and aesthetic value are crucial.

Detailed infographic displaying the durability and aesthetic versatility of slate roofing, with comparative analysis to other roofing materials and visual examples of color and texture variations - slate roofing infographic comparison-2-items-formal

What is Slate Roofing?

Slate roofing is a sophisticated and highly durable roofing option, crafted from natural stone. It’s known for its longevity and classic good looks. Let’s break down what exactly slate roofing is, from its natural origins to the process of turning it into the shingles that might adorn your home.

Natural Material

Slate is a fine-grained, metamorphic rock, which forms from the compression of clay and volcanic ash over millions of years. This natural stone is mined from the earth, primarily in regions known for their rich deposits like North Wales, the northeastern United States, Spain, and China. Each piece of slate carries the unique characteristics of the area from which it was sourced, contributing to the material’s diverse range of colors and textures.

Tile Formation

After mining, the slate blocks are transported to processing facilities where they are cut into thinner sheets. This is done carefully to follow the natural grain of the slate, which aids in splitting the stone along its layers. These sheets are then handcrafted or machine-cut into uniform tiles, ready for installation on roofs.

The process of forming tiles from natural slate ensures that each piece is unique, with slight variations that add character to a roof. This uniqueness is one of the many reasons homeowners choose slate for their roofing needs. Its ability to withstand the elements and age gracefully while maintaining its distinctive appearance makes slate roofing a top choice for those looking to combine aesthetics with performance.

Moving forward, we’ll explore the numerous benefits of choosing slate roofing, from its impressive durability to its natural beauty, making it a standout option in the realm of roofing materials.

Benefits of Choosing Slate Roofing

When considering a new roof, the advantages of choosing slate roofing are numerous, ranging from its long lifespan to its fire-resistant properties. Here’s why slate remains a top choice for homeowners who prioritize quality and aesthetics.


One of the most compelling reasons to choose slate is its incredible longevity. Slate roofs are renowned for their durability, often lasting 75 to 200 years or more with proper maintenance. This makes them a once-in-a-lifetime investment for most homeowners. Unlike other roofing materials that might need replacement every 20 to 30 years, slate stands the test of time, enduring through generations.

Fire Resistance

Safety is paramount in any home, and slate roofing contributes significantly in this area. Slate is naturally fire-resistant, meaning it can protect your home against external fires. This characteristic is particularly valuable in areas prone to wildfires or in urban settings where fire can easily spread from one building to another.


In today’s environmentally conscious world, slate roofing is a standout for its eco-friendly properties. Made from natural stone, it doesn’t emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) during production, unlike synthetic materials. Additionally, its longevity means less waste in landfills from roof replacements. If a slate roof is ever removed, the materials can be recycled or repurposed, which is not always the case with asphalt shingles or other roofing materials.

Aesthetic Appeal

Slate roofs are not just about functionality; they also enhance the aesthetic appeal of any building. Available in a variety of colors and textures, slate can be matched to different architectural styles, from historic to contemporary. This versatility allows homeowners to maintain the authentic appearance of older homes or add elegance to newer constructions. The natural color variations in slate tiles create a unique, visually appealing roof that cannot be replicated with other materials.

By choosing slate roofing, homeowners invest in a solution that offers unmatched durability, safety, sustainability, and beauty, making it an all-around excellent choice for any residential project. We’ll delve into the installation process of slate roofing, ensuring you understand each step that goes into securing this durable, beautiful material atop your home.

Installation Process of Slate Roofing

Installing a slate roof is a meticulous process that demands precision to ensure longevity and effectiveness. Empire Roofing specialists are trained to handle each step with care, ensuring a seamless and durable installation. Here’s what you need to know about the installation process:


Before any tiles are laid, the preparation of the roof surface is crucial. This includes:

  • Inspecting the roof structure to ensure it can support the weight of slate, which is heavier than many other roofing materials.
  • Clearing the roof of any old roofing materials, debris, and ensuring the surface is smooth and ready for underlayment.
  • Measuring and marking the roof to guide the placement of tiles and ensure alignment and symmetry, which are vital for both aesthetics and functionality.
slate roofing


Underlayment is the barrier between the roof deck and the slate tiles, providing an additional layer of protection from water and the elements:

  • Installation of ice and water shield is critical in areas prone to ice dams and wind-driven rain.
  • Laying down heavy-duty roofing felt or other suitable synthetic products which act as a secondary barrier against moisture.

Tile Laying

The methodical laying of slate tiles is what gives the roof its distinctive and elegant appearance:

  • Starting from the bottom edge, tiles are laid in a straight line course, beginning with the starter tiles which are usually 12” x 14”.
  • Each tile is secured with two fasteners ensuring they are fixed in place but also allowing for slight movements that occur naturally due to temperature changes.
  • Overlap and arrangement need to be precise, following the snapped chalk lines for alignment and maintaining a consistent ⅜” gap between tiles for expansion.


Flashing is critical in waterproofing your roof, especially around chimneys, valleys, and roof penetrations:

  • Installing durable metal flashing around chimneys, at the valleys, and around any roof penetrations like vents or skylights.
  • Ensuring overlap where pieces of flashing meet to prevent water seepage.
  • Securing the flashing without puncturing the slate tiles to maintain the integrity of the waterproof barrier.

By following these detailed steps, Empire Roofing ensures that your slate roof is not only aesthetically pleasing but also structurally sound and durable. This meticulous process leads to a roof that can last over a century with proper maintenance, making it a wise investment for any homeowner. We will address some common questions about slate roofing to help clarify any uncertainties you may have about this premium roofing option.

Common Questions About Slate Roofing

How Long Does a Slate Roof Last?

Hard slate and soft slate are the two primary types of slate used in roofing. Hard slate has an incredible lifespan, often lasting between 75 to 200 years. This type of slate is known for its toughness and resilience against the elements. On the other hand, soft slate is still durable but generally lasts between 50 to 100 years. The lifespan of your slate roof can also significantly depend on maintenance. Regular inspections and timely repairs play a crucial role in extending the life of a slate roof.

Why Choose Slate Despite High Costs?

Choosing slate roofing is about looking beyond the initial expense and recognizing the long-term value it offers. Not only does slate roofing provide a timeless beauty that enhances your home’s curb appeal, but it also offers unmatched durability and longevity. A slate roof can be a once-in-a-lifetime investment, meaning you might never have to replace your roof again if it’s well-maintained. Additionally, its natural ability to withstand fire and resist weather extremes makes it a top choice for safety and resilience.

Special Considerations for Installing Slate Roofing

When opting for slate roofing, there are several important factors to consider:

  • Weight: Slate is significantly heavier than most other roofing materials. It’s crucial to ensure that your home’s structure can support this weight. A structural engineer may need to assess your home and possibly reinforce it to handle the load.
  • Structural support: Due to its weight, installing a slate roof often involves reinforcing the existing roof structure. This might include enhancing joists and trusses to ensure they can support the additional weight without risking structural integrity.
  • Expert installation: Slate roofing requires specialized skills for proper installation. It’s not just about laying tiles; it involves precise craftsmanship to ensure each slate is correctly aligned and secured. Empire Roofing provides expert installers with years of experience in handling these unique materials. Our team ensures that every installation meets high standards of quality and durability.

By understanding these aspects, homeowners can better prepare for the installation process and appreciate why slate is a premier choice for roofing despite its higher upfront cost. With Empire Roofing, you’re not just getting a roof; you’re making a lasting investment in the protection and beauty of your home. We’ll explore maintenance tips and how to keep your slate roof in prime condition for years to come.

Maintenance and Upkeep of Slate Roofs

Maintaining a slate roof is essential to ensure it continues to protect your home and retains its beauty over decades. Empire Roofing emphasizes the importance of regular maintenance, which extends the life of your slate roof and prevents potential costly repairs. Here are the key practices to keep your slate roof in top shape:

Annual Inspections

Routine checks are crucial. At least once a year, your slate roof should be inspected by professionals. These inspections help catch any issues like cracked, broken, or misplaced slates early before they lead to bigger problems like leaks. Empire Roofing offers expert inspection services to identify and address minor issues promptly, ensuring they don’t turn into major concerns.

Dealing with Damage

Slate is durable but can be fragile under certain conditions. If your inspection uncovers any damage, it’s important to act quickly. Replacing broken or missing slates promptly prevents water from penetrating the underlayment and causing further damage to your home. It’s essential to use experienced professionals for repairs, as improper handling can lead to more broken tiles and increased repair costs.

Professional Maintenance

Beyond inspections and handling immediate repairs, professional maintenance includes tasks like cleaning gutters and downspouts, checking flashings, and ensuring that the roof structure remains sound. Empire Roofing provides comprehensive maintenance services that cover all these aspects, ensuring that every part of your roof’s ecosystem functions as intended.

By adhering to these maintenance practices, you can significantly enhance the longevity and performance of your slate roof. Regular professional care not only protects your investment but also maintains the aesthetic appeal of your home. Let’s compare slate roofing with other materials to help you understand why it might be the best choice for your roofing needs.

slate roofing

Comparing Slate Roofing with Other Materials

When choosing the right roofing material for your home, compare different options based on several factors like cost, lifespan, aesthetic differences, weight, and ease of installation. Let’s dive into how slate roofing stands against asphalt shingles and synthetic slate.

Asphalt Shingles

  1. Cost: Asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable roofing materials available. Typically, you can expect to pay significantly less for asphalt shingles than for slate. This makes asphalt a popular choice for homeowners on a budget.
  2. Lifespan: While cost-effective, asphalt shingles have a shorter lifespan, usually lasting between 15 to 30 years depending on the quality and maintenance. In contrast, slate roofing can last from 50 to over 200 years, making it a more durable option if longevity is a priority.
  3. Aesthetic Differences: Asphalt shingles offer a wide range of colors and styles, but they lack the unique, natural appearance of slate. Slate’s natural sheen and texture can significantly enhance the curb appeal and value of a home.
  4. Weight: Asphalt shingles are much lighter than slate, making them easier to handle and install. This can reduce the structural demands and installation costs.

Synthetic Slate

  1. Weight: Synthetic slate is much lighter than natural slate, which simplifies the installation process and reduces the need for additional structural support. This can be a crucial factor if your home isn’t originally built to withstand the weight of natural slate.
  2. Cost: Synthetic slate is generally less expensive than natural slate but offers a similar aesthetic appeal. It’s a cost-effective alternative for those who desire the look of slate without the higher investment.
  3. Installation Ease: Unlike natural slate, synthetic slate is easier to install. It can be cut and fitted with standard roofing tools, which reduces labor costs and installation time.
  4. Lifespan: While synthetic slate has a respectable lifespan, typically lasting about 50 years, it doesn’t compare to the century or more durability that natural slate offers. However, for many homeowners, 50 years is more than adequate.

Slate roofing, whether natural or synthetic, offers unique benefits that might make it the ideal choice for your home, especially if you’re looking for a blend of durability, beauty, and environmental friendliness. If you’re considering slate but are concerned about the costs or structural implications, synthetic slate might be the perfect middle ground.

At Empire Roofing, we specialize in both natural and synthetic slate roofing, providing expert installation that ensures the longevity and performance of your roof. Our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction makes us your trusted partner in roofing solutions. Contact us to discuss which roofing material is best suited to your needs and to explore our range of services.

Empire Roofing: Your Trusted Partner in Slate Roofing

When it comes to installing a slate roofing system, the quality of workmanship and the credibility of the roofing contractor are just as important as the quality of the materials used. At Empire Roofing, we pride ourselves on being a GAF master elite contractor—a designation that places us among the top echelon of roofing professionals in the industry.

GAF Master Elite Contractor

Being a GAF master elite contractor is not just a title; it’s a promise of excellence. This certification is awarded to less than 2% of roofing contractors in the country and comes with stringent requirements, including:

  • Proven Reputation: Demonstrated commitment to ongoing professional training to ensure quality installation.
  • Superior Craftsmanship: Regularly tested and verified for exceptional quality service and customer satisfaction.
  • Adequate Insurance: Providing customers peace of mind with comprehensive liability coverage.

This status allows us to offer exclusive warranties that are not available through non-certified contractors.

Warranty Options

Choosing Empire Roofing means access to some of the best warranty options in the market. Our partnership with GAF enables us to offer robust warranty coverage, including:

  • Lifetime Warranty: For as long as you own your home, your roof is covered. This includes both material defects and the labor to address any issues.
  • Peace of Mind: With the GAF Golden Pledge® warranty, you get a 40-point factory inspection of your finished roof, ensuring perfection in installation.

These warranties provide long-term security, ensuring that your investment in a slate roof is protected for decades to come.

Commitment to Excellence

At Empire Roofing, our commitment to excellence is reflected in every project we undertake. Whether it’s a new installation, a complex repair, or routine maintenance, our approach is defined by meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of roofing dynamics. Here’s how we ensure excellence in every job:

  • Expert Installation: Our team is highly skilled in the specific nuances of slate roofing, from handling the delicate tiles to ensuring perfect alignment and effective weatherproofing.
  • Tailored Solutions: We understand that every roof and home is unique. We provide personalized solutions that meet the specific needs and preferences of each homeowner.
  • Quality Materials: We use only the highest-grade slate, sourced responsibly to ensure both beauty and durability.

Our extensive experience and adherence to high standards have made us a trusted name in roofing across the region. We don’t just install roofs; we build lasting relationships with our clients through honest advice and dependable service.

If you’re looking for a roofing partner that stands by their work with significant warranties, employs certified craftsmen, and commits to the highest standards of project execution, contact Empire Roofing. Let us help you protect and beautify your home with a slate roof that lasts for generations.


When considering a new roof, the choice of material is more than just a practical decision—it’s an investment in your home’s future. Slate roofing is not only about immediate aesthetics; it’s about securing long-term value and durability. At Empire Roofing, we understand the importance of this decision and are here to ensure that your investment is sound and rewarding.

Investment Value

Choosing a slate roof is an investment in the longevity and resilience of your home. Slate’s natural resistance to the elements and its ability to withstand the test of time means fewer replacements and repairs down the line. This translates to cost savings over the lifespan of your roof, which can be substantial when compared to other materials that might require more frequent updates or repairs.

Long-term Benefits

The long-term benefits of slate roofing extend beyond its durability. Its timeless beauty enhances the curb appeal of your home, potentially increasing its market value. Additionally, slate is eco-friendly; being a natural stone, it is completely recyclable and contributes to a healthier environment. This aspect is especially appealing in today’s eco-conscious market.

Contact Empire Roofing for Consultation

If you’re ready to explore the advantages of slate roofing for your home, Empire Roofing is here to guide you through every step. From selecting the right slate to expert installation, our team ensures a seamless and satisfying roofing experience. Our commitment to excellence and adherence to high standards have made us a trusted name in roofing across the region. We don’t just install roofs; we build lasting relationships with our clients through honest advice and dependable service.

If you’re looking for a roofing partner that stands by their work with significant warranties, employs certified craftsmen, and commits to the highest standards of project execution, contact Empire Roofing. Let us help you protect and beautify your home with a slate roof that lasts for generations. Whether you are contemplating a new installation or need expert advice on maintenance, our doors are always open for consultation. Reach out today, and let’s start planning your home’s next big upgrade.