Many people love the elegance and durability of natural slate tile roofing, which is made from fine grained shale rock. However, the high cost of installation and materials makes slate too expensive for most homeowners. Also, slate roofing is extremely heavy and most homes will need extra structural support to handle the extra load.
Luckily for homeowners, there is another option. Many roofing manufacturers make synthetic slate roofing, which mimics the beauty of natural slate without the high price tag and heavy weight.
Synthetic slate is considered a premium roofing product, compared to standard asphalt shingles. Many synthetic slate roofing products are guaranteed to last at least from 30 to 50 years. These low maintenance roofing tiles are designed to withstand high wind, fire, freeze-thaw cycles, and other conditions. Some roofing tiles also contain fire retardant and UV inhibitors for extra protection.
Synthetic slate roofing is usually made from plastic or rubber, or a combination of both. Some roofing manufacturers use recycled materials, while others use virgin resins. To produce the tiles, the plastic or rubber is first heated and then injected into metal molds. Some synthetic slate roofing tiles are made from asphalt or composite materials, but it is less common.
Popular colors for synthetic slate roofing shades include: red, grey-blue, purple-grey, green and black. Some manufacturers also offer synthetic slate tiles that come in distinct pre-mixed color blends. Some roofing manufacturers also offer diamond, scallop or chisel shapes, as well as special tiles for covering turrets and other curved rooflines.
Some synthetic slate product come in uniform widths, while others have varying widths to look like natural slate tiles. The most authentic looking roofing tiles are a bit thicker, to replicate natural slate’s distinctive shadow lines and depth. Homeowners should look at and compare several types of synthetic slate roofing, both up close and installed on a roof, before choosing one.
Synthetic slate roofing is normally installed on sloped roofs. Roofers should always install adequate underlayments and flashing to prevent leaks. Unlike natural slate, synthetic slate doesn’t require any special cutting or installation tools. The roofing tiles can often be cut with a utility knife and put up using standard roofing practices. However, professional installation is recommended for best results.