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What are slate roof tiles?

Posted By On 10 Jan 2018

Slate roof tiles are made of metamorphic rocks which are derived from sedimentary rock of volcanic ash and clay. The mineral composition of slate will determine the color and weathering properties. Hematite produces purple tones and chlorite produces green.  Black and gray colors are created by carbon.  The presence of iron compounds, primarily fine grained iron pyrite, can lead to the “weathering” of these original colors to tones of buff and brown in various percentages. This characteristic produces the “semi-weathering” or “weathering” designations of slates and has lead to the development of commercial color descriptions Unfading Black, Semi-Weathering Black, Semi-Weathering Grey/Black, Unfading Green, Semi-Weathering Green to signify the color stability of slate from a given source.

Roofing slate quarry benches for producing roofing slate tiles
Unfading Black slate quarry
Slate quarry employees showing how they mark the stone to find the right size to cut in the plant
Slate quarry employees showing how they mark the stone
Employee preparing the slate blocks to be sent to the splitting department
Employee preparing the slate blocks to be sent to the splitting department
Employee sorting thru the various slate roof tile thicknesses
Employee sorting thru the various slate roof tile thicknesses

Slate roof tiles are one of the oldest roofing materials and have been used for centuries. Slate is a long lasting product depending on the quarry.  Known as the hundred year old roof, slate roof tiles are durable, fireproof, waterproof and no two pieces are alike because it’s a natural product.  Because of its quality and longevity, it’s also one of the more expensive roofing products in the market. Some refer to slate roof tiles as the Rolls Royce in roofing productions.

Old slate roof, still protecting the house
Old slate roof tiles, well over 100 years still functioning and protecting the house.
New slate roof tiles installed on custom home
New slate roof tiles installed on custom home

Slate roof tiles are available in a wide variety of sizes from 24” length x 12” wide to as small as 12” length x 6” wide. Each piece is split by hand and depending on the quarry, slate roof tiles can be split 3/6” thick to ¾” thick.  The standard thickness is ¼”-3/8”.  Thicker slates are available on special order allowing for the design of a truly unique, “one of a kind” roof.

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