If you drive down the average street in the United States, you'll notice that most homes are roofed with conventional asphalt shingles. But once in a while, you might see a home with a slate roof. Slate is easy to spot, with its natural stone tiles and slightly rustic appearance. If you're considering re-roofing your own home, you might want to consider slate, too. Here's a look at how it compares to conventional asphalt shingle roofing.
The typical asphalt shingle roof will give you about 15 to 20 years of good service. It may last a bit longer if you're in a mild climate or purchase higher-end shingles. Slate, however, will last for 100 years if it is installed properly. Choosing slate could mean you never have to re-roof your home again. It's important to keep longevity in mind when comparing the prices of slate and asphalt roofing. Though slate is more costly, you're really buying one slate roof in place of several asphalt roofs (assuming you plan to stay in your home for years to come).
There are "fire-resistant" asphalt shingles, but even these will catch fire eventually if they're exposed to direct flames. Slate, however, is impervious to fire, since it is natural stone. This is a great benefit if you live in an area where wildfires are common or if you're simply concerned about safety in general. Your homeowner's insurance company may even give you a discount for having a slate roof since it lowers your risk of a fire.
Asphalt shingles are made with petroleum-based materials. There are some that are manufactured using recycled materials, and there are companies that recycle some of the components of the shingles once the roof is taken off your home. But in the end, the shingles still produce waste that ends up in a landfill, and they still must be made in factories that generate some pollution. Slate roofing, however, is just slabs of natural stone. When your slate roof reaches the end of its serviceable life, it will just return to the earth. Choosing a slate roof may even help you meet green building specifications since it's a natural, eco-friendly material.
This is the one area in which slate is admittedly lacking. It's easy to find a roofing contractor to install and repair an asphalt roof, since asphalt shingles are so prominent. There are far fewer roofers who specialize in slate. You may have to wait a bit longer to have your roof done, and you might have to search a larger radius to find a slate roofer in your area. Putting a slate roof on a home can also take several weeks, whereas an asphalt shingle roof can be put on in a couple of days. However, most homeowners find that these minor inconveniences are made up for by slate's long lifespan, fire resistance, and eco-friendliness.
If you would like to learn more about slate roofing, visit a site like http://www.threeriversroofing.com/.