Slate Roofing Tiles – Beauty Down The Ages
Mention slate roofing tiles and you are instantly reminded of those majestic images from the past of huge mansions and elegant exteriors. Something exotic, something unimaginable for ordinary folks. But, it is no longer true. Slate roofs are no longer the preserve of the rich and the famous. Modern homeowners with money to invest in their homes can easily afford to have slate as roofing option of choice. No, you don’t have to be satisfied with fake slate or rubber slate, You can the real slate roofs for ordinary homes.
Slate is expensive roofing option. It is above the budgetary limits of most homeowners except the very determined. There is no rule that states that slate is the best roof for all regions and seasons. In fact slate may be quite unsuitable for a many homes and situations. Here we will discuss both the advantages and shortcomings of slate roofing tiles as an roofing solution.
Slate is a stone product and is mined from quarries of sedimentary rock. The slate roofing tiles are cut to size and thickness from pieces cut from the rock surface. The roofing can be identified by the way the light hits the surface of slate. Slate contains a high amount of mica which reflects sunlight and gives off a shiny appearance. Some slate roofs have up to 40 percent mica.
Slate is nothing but sedimentary rock formation and hence, it’s easy to take out slivers of it to make slate roofing tiles which go on our roofs. The different layers of rock can become tiles. Imagine a pack of cards and each layer as one card. In the United States you get slate from states like Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia, Kentucky, China, Arkansas and Brazil. The best slate are Welsh. These have some great properties which make them excellent as roofing materials. They are durable and not in the least affected by weather extremes. They weather extreme temperature changes with ease. They are resistant to acids, alkalis and other chemicals.
The natural color of slate does not fade even on exposure to harsh rays of sun and it does let water to affect it either. They have life-spans of 100 years or more, their look absolutely great on any building, especially on heritage and old style architecture and it is not very expensive considering their long life-span.
The slate roofs that come from Welsh region have been known to be re-used even after 100 years or more. The roof itself does not fail in these cases, it is the timber underneath that gives way and the slate is carefully removed and relaid once the supporting structure is put in place. Some of the oldest roofs that last more than 400 years were removed and reused. Projects that are considered monumental like museums, art places or places of public importance usually prefer this material because of its quality and long life. Welsh slate roofing tiles is also not as fragile as slate from other areas and hence does not break or crack easily.
Slate installation is not an easy process. It needs special skills to do a proper job of slate roof installation. Slate roofing tiles have to be handled carefully by the slate roofing contractor who is interestingly enough called a slater. The slates have to placed one by one along the pitch of the roof. It is craft that is passed on by the older generation to the new usually from father to son in the olden days. Slate is a strong roof but it is fragile and can break if walked on or handled carelessly. The process of installation is slow but experienced can do from 100 square feet to 200 square feet depending on difficulty levels of the roof.
The cost of installation for slate is not easy to fix as there are number of factors that keep changing like location, size of the roof, type of slate roofing to be installed, experience and expertise of slate contractor. According to a slating expert he charges betweem $10 and $30 dollars per slate. The costs vary wildly and for every square installed the cost can range from $1000 to $2000 dollars or even
Apart from being beautiful, attractive and durability slate roofing tiles are low maintenance roofs. They last long without giving too much trouble to the homeowners. Slate is natural stone, it does not rot, rust, warp, curl or attract insects.