Slate roofing is often the aspiration of many a homeowner because to have slate tiling is to have made a significant investment in the long term value of property.
A lot of this has to do with the superior quality of slate tiles as a roofing material.
Generally speaking, the lifespan of a roof made of generic materials is ten years, throughout which, constant maintenance will be needed to determine whether small repairs or full re-tiling is required.
Slate tiles are easily one of the most durable, and importantly, natural materials that can be used for roofing. When installed properly, slate tiles have been shown to last at least half a century longer to alternative roofing materials and depending on the quality of the slate, even longer. One of the earliest examples of slate roofing in history, a Saxon chapel in England dating from the 8th Century, is a testament to the quality of slate tiling and its lifespan.
This is one of the main reasons why, traditionally, slate roofing has been the covering of choice for culturally significant buildings such as churches and colonial homes; because they have lasted and will continue to make their mark through time.
Apart from the durability of slate roofing another reason slate tiles are so highly valued by homeowners and architects alike is for the aesthetic value that slate tiling can provide as a classic design statement.
Slate is a naturally occurring material which, over many millions of years transforms fine-grained, crystalline rock fragments of clay and sand in intense heat and pressure under the earth. Given this, it is no great leap to see why slate roofing has such a long lifespan above ground and similarly why slate tiles bear so well against rot, fire and often more extreme weather conditions. Slate roofing requires the layering of these elements in styles and colours chosen by the homeowner, and given enough time, will wear very naturally.
The nature of the material, as a stone, requires that the professionals handling the slates tiles are highly skilled. This is yet another reason why the end product provided by slate roofing is of such high quality.
As the fragility of our environment becomes ever more apparent, choosing slate roofing has been highlighted in many studies as one of the most environmentally responsible steps towards reducing the carbon footprint caused by roof construction.
Unlike some other man-made and synthetic tile variants, tiles used for slate roofing are cut from the ground as they are found. As a naturally occurring stone, slate tiles require minimal processing giving it low carbon consumption. The nature of the material is not changed and this remains one of the endearingly sustainable qualities of slate tiles.
Where other building products will return to the earth at the end of their life as waste, slate tiles can be reclaimed or recycled. When, at last, they do finally return to the earth-they do so as naturally as they started out-as stone.