Architect’s Talk: Slate Roofing

Slate roofing tile has a long and interesting history and is generally known as one of the highest quality, longest lasting roofing materials on the market. Studies have shown slate roofing can easily outlast a century. That’s quite a difference between the 20 to 30 years life a normal tiled roof is based on. 

But they are much more expensive, installation requires a slate professional, and the relative fragility of slate roofing tile means it’s not the perfect choice for everybody. Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of slate roofing.

The Pros

Slate roofing has many benefits, mostly due to the fact that it’s a natural stone product, giving it a unique, beautiful appearance, and the longevity that slate is famous for. Here’s a list of the most popular reasons homeowners choose to install slate roofing tiles on their home.

Slates great look— First and foremost, homeowners are drawn to slate because its looks great. There simply isn’t a roofing material on the market that has a classier, more notable appearance. Furthermore, slate roofing tiles offer more choices than most homeowners actually know about, available in varying sizes and thicknesses, as well as a wide range of colours, including grey, green, purple, black, red, and mottled tiles that sport several colours mixed together.

Durability— Slate roofs can and should be routinely built to last at least a century. In fact, 150 years is a reasonable expectation of a roof’s life if the roof is properly constructed. That’s a big plus in an industry where many roofing systems are lucky to last 20 or 30 years before needing replacement.

Fire Proof— Slate roofing is one of the most fire-resistant roofs that exist. Unlike many other roofing materials, slate tiles themselves are completely fire proof. That’s a big advantage when it comes to preventing fires caused by air borne sparks from fireworks, wildfires, or from adjacent house fires.

Environmentally Friendly— Roofing waste accounts for more than 5 percent of the total waste sent to landfills across the nation every year. Since the majority of that roofing waste can be attributed to asphalt shingle roofing that needs replacement every 20 to 30 years, it’s easy to see the positive environmental impacts of installing a roof that is going to last 100 years or more.

The Cons

The most notable disadvantage when it comes to installing a slate tile roof on your home is its high cost, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Other than that, the down side of slate roofing is that homeowners should be aware that slate roofing requires a slate professional as the installation has tough requirements, the brittleness of slate tiles, and complications that arise in replacing damaged slate tiles. You would not want an unexperienced contractor causing more damage than good working on your roof.

Poor Installation— The vast majority of roofing contractors, as well as general Thai contractors, know very little about slate roofs. This certainly would not deter Thai construction from giving you a quotation or trying to install slate roofing tiles anyway without real slate knowledge. When you are hiring a contractor, be sure to inquire about experience and ask for references. A well installed slate roof will last a century or more. An inadequately installed one would cause more grief and cost than good.

Weight— The weight of slate roofing tiles is anywhere between 350 and 700KG per 10m2. As such, you’ll need to have your residence assessed from a structural standpoint before you install slate roofing tile on your home to make sure it can take the weight.

Durability— The fragility of slate roofing tile can be a big negative for homeowners. You don’t walk on them unless you know what you’re doing. You certainly don’t want the Thai A/C on your rooftop, he’ll break tiles and cause expensive damage. Replacing broken tiles isn’t as easy as it sounds, either. Since slate comes in lots, that makes it nearly impossible to find replacement tiles that are a perfect match.

The information and images in this article have been kindly supplied by

Adept Asia Co., Ltd. Who offer European Quality Construction and Building Services in and around Koh Samui. Adept Asia have professional knowledge and experience building roofs on our island with slate and will be happy to answer any of your questions.

Adept Asia Co., Ltd.
167/58 Moo 1
Bophut, Koh Samui
Suratthani, Thailand 84320
Mobile: +66 (0) 819 783 712