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How Much Does It Cost To Install A Slate Roof?

Typical Range: $4,900 - $20,726

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On This Page:

  1. Average Cost to Install Slate Roofing
  2. Slate Tile Prices
  3. Reinforcing Your Roof
  4. Pros & Cons of Slate Tile Roofing

Hands down, one of the most durable, beautiful, and high-end upgrades you can make to your home is the installation of a slate roof. When properly installed and maintained, it can last anywhere from 75-200 years, all the while giving your home an appearance that is both timeless and upscale. Slate roofs are also both environmentally-friendly and customizable; natural slate appears in a rainbow of colors ranging from jet black to purple to red to mottled or multicolor.

Unfortunately, slate roofs can also be prohibitively expensive. High-quality slate requires an investment five times or more the average cost of asphalt shingles. However, alternatives to natural slate, including synthetic tiles made of recycled materials such as plastic and rubber, offer homeowners more cost-effective options that still provide the same look and style.

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National Average
Typical Range
$4,900 - $20,726
Low End - High End
$1,230 - $45,000

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 70 HomeAdvisor members in .

Average Cost to Install Slate Roofing

Every aspect of a slate roof installation adds to the overall cost of this project. That includes the slate itself, the labor costs, and all associated materials such as flashings, nails, membranes, caulk, felt, and more. In addition, the details and difficulty of your particular installation, including the height and slope of your roof and the intended pattern of the tiles, can all impact the final cost.

Labor Costs to Install a Slate Roof

Installing a slate roof is not as simple as installing an asphalt shingle roof, as there are several specialized tools and skills needed. It is also a tedious process that can take anywhere from three months to a year for larger, more intricate roofs.

It is important to note that many roofers and general contractors have little to no experience with slate and therefore may offer a lower price but substandard-quality installation, which may impact the life and viability of your roof. By contrast, an experienced slate roof installer or "slater" charges between $3-$5 per square foot for labor.

Additional Material Costs to Install a Slate Roof

The slate you use to cover your roof is only one part of a system of components designed to last a century or more. Therefore, the quality of the material and the time spent on preparing additional roofing materials are also important factors to consider. Removal of an old asphalt roof, for example, costs an additional $3-$5 per square foot.

Installation of a bituminous membrane and weather shield, use of adequate amounts of high-quality copper flashings and nails, and adding up to three layers of protection under the shingles are among the other important steps required for a proper slate roof installation. As a result, additional materials and procedures can add up to $2.50 per square foot onto your installation costs.

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Slate Tile Prices

While the costs for labor and additional materials are clearly high, the most expensive component of any slate roof installation is the slate itself. Natural slate tiles, which must be harvested from the earth, are a premium product in limited supply. They also come in different categories — hard and soft — and in a number of colors, shapes, and sizes. Alternately, high-quality synthetic slate tiles are also available for a less-dramatic though still-expensive price. These lookalikes are not only aesthetically identical to natural slate, but they also offer some additional benefits worth noting.

Natural Slate Tiles

Any old home from the early 20th century or before originally had a natural slate roof. Grown as a result of mineral deposits subjected to extreme heat and pressure, it comes in a rainbow of hues that include black, grey, red, purple, green, and a multicolor variation. Rarer colors and patterns come at higher prices, and at all times, buyers are limited to what suppliers can harvest, making finding an exact color or pattern in an amount sufficient for your home a challenge. As such, natural slate tiles can cost anywhere from $3.85-$5.90 per square foot. Thicker tiles, rare colors, and longer-lasting, harder material all increase the per-square-foot prices.

Synthetic Slate Tiles

In an effort to provide homeowners with a more consistent supply of varying designs and styles, synthetic slate tile companies have developed options that include recycled rubber tiles, galvanized steel tiles, and even imitators made of old plastic water bottles. Because these tiles are fabricated by hand or through injection-molding processes, homeowners can order synthetic tiles to suit their needs, find replacement tiles for maintenance purposes, and even install slate roofing more easily given the lighter weight and increased durability of synthetics.

Depending on the manufacturer, style, and material chosen, synthetic slate tile prices vary, but they generally cost about half as much as natural slate. It is important to note, however, that this is still two to three times the cost of asphalt shingles.

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Reinforcing Your Roof

One of the most notable cons of a slate roof (besides its cost) is the weight of natural slate tiles as compared to asphalt or synthetic tiles. Weighing up to 1,500 pounds per 100 square feet, installing a slate roof is not always possible without also reinforcing your home and its framework. The extent of this project is highly personalized, based on factors such as the size, age, and stories of a building. However, on average, additional structural reinforcement costs anywhere from $2,000-$12,000.

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Pros & Cons of Slate Tile Roofing

Before looking into the specific costs of your project, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of this extensive home renovation to see if it is something that is practical as well as within your budget.

Why You Should Install a Slate Roof

Although it is not the most common project, installing a slate roof is one of the most significant exterior renovations you can make as a homeowner because it adds both value and aesthetic interest to your home. In historical districts or areas with other pre-20th century homes, slate roofs may be standard, so adding or replacing one is essential to establish or maintain the authenticity and character of your home. This roofing also impacts the home’s resale value quite significantly.

Furthermore, using slate is also an environmentally conscious decision because the material itself is naturally derived. In addition, the century or longer lifespan of natural and synthetic slate roofs equals less waste added to landfills. In fact, the waste of asphalt roofs, which only last between 20 and 30 years at best, accounts for up to 5 percent of all landfill material in the United States.

Why You Might Not Want to Install a Slate Roof

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to a slate roof. Obviously, the cost is one. It can add up to tens of thousands of dollars — at least five times that of an asphalt roof installation. Finding an experienced slater is another concern. Finally, the durability of the roof itself is important to consider. Natural slate tiles are easy to break if you walk on them incorrectly; this makes repairs to other components of the home difficult if technicians need to access them from the roof.

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