Composite Slate Roofing: A Top Alternative

Builders and roofers agree that the best roofing material for homes in areas of heavy snow and rain is slate roofing. It lasts for decades and is tough as the nails that hold them in place on your roof. But genuine slate is about the most expensive roofing material out there. It needs to be mined, not manufactured, and can easily break before it gets onto your roof. Genuine slate needs special handling, so finding an experienced roofer might cost more in your time and money. It can feel like a catch 22 situation - you want the best roof for your home, but you don't want to risk going bankrupt and loosing your home to get that roof.

Enter Composite Slate Roofing Stage Right

Wherever there's a need, you know somebody is going to sell a product to fill that need. In this case, the need is for a lower-cost, less fragile and more easily available kind of slate roofing material. Also in this case, there is a good alternative to genuine slate - composite slate roofing, sometimes called "synthetic slate" or "semi-fake slate".

Composite slate roofing is made out of a few materials, but the most popular is a mixture of genuine slate powder and plastic. There is also ceramic based and plant fiber based composite slate roofing. The plant fiber based material is not so popular in areas where it freezes and thaws out a lot during the winter, as this makes the tiles warp. It's still a relatively new roofing material, so check out the latest building periodicals and websites to see any improvements in that alternative.


Composite slate roofing is still going to cost more than some other roofing materials, but not as much as genuine slate. They still have the long life, fire-resistance and protection of genuine slate. Composite slate shingles often come with warranties of 30 years - compare that to roll roofing, with only has a ten year lifespan. Composite slate roofing is also weighs less than genuine slate, which your roof might really appreciate. It doesn't fracture like genuine slate and doesn't need special tools to cut it. Many composite slate roofing makers also put on a special coating to resist mold or mildew growth, which can sometimes be a problem with genuine slate.

Some people are a little wary of composite slate roofing, as it's such a new roofing material. But many homeowners are happy with it. The only significant problem is that over time the original color sometimes or turns to white. But, honestly, how many people are going to climb up on your roof that needs to be impressed by its color?