Synthetic slate is an increasingly popular roofing material. It can even be said to be conquering much of Chicago’s North Shore. Why is this happening? Surely there are no better alternatives? When is it worth choosing synthetic slate tiles, and when would natural stone be a better choice? Let’s check it out!
What is The Synthetic Slate Made Of?
There are several technologies for producing synthetic stone equivalents. The main differences are not only in price, but also in quality, weight, resistance to external conditions or flammability. At the same time it is worth noting that composite slate is much lighter than natural stone, and this has a significant impact on the durability of the entire house.
One of the most popular manufacturers of synthetic roofs, DaVinci Roofscapes, makes tiles from properly processed resin. Other companies use cement, different varieties of plastic and asphalt, very similar to that used to make shingles. Each material has slightly different parameters, but there are some common features. For example, any synthetic roof will be lighter than one we would make from stone.
Are synthetic slate roofs safe?
Synthetic slate is made of plastic, which may suggest that, unlike natural stone, it is flammable. In practice, however, this is not the case. Many manufacturers claim that their synthetic tiles do not ignite even at very high temperatures. Admittedly, we have not had the opportunity to test this, but we can certainly say that this type of material is much safer than cedar shakes.
Another equally important issue is resistance to strong wind. The tornadoes that occasionally occur in Illinois have a devastating effect on buildings, but there is little difference between synthetic slate roofs and those made of asphalt shingles from GAF, for example. In both cases, the certification covers winds up to 210 kilometers per hour.
For both fire and wind resistance, choosing the right roofing contractor is of paramount importance. Mistakes in the installation of tiles can check that your home will not be fully safe, and if critical conditions arise, something could fail. It often turns out that cheaper does not mean better.
Is Synthetic Slate More Expensive Than Natural One?
Most of our customers are primarily guided by quality, but let’s not hide – price is a very important factor that practically always affects the final choice of roof.
Natural slate tiles are very diverse products – some manufacturers offer stone for as little as $10 per sqft, while products from reputable brands will cost $30 or even $40. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of a roofing crew and any modifications to the roof structure. Without a doubt, a slate roof will not be a budget solution.
Synthetic slate tiles are slightly cheaper. For example, the products of DaVinci, considered a leader in the industry, as a rule do not cost more than $20 per sqft. The lighter weight also makes the cost of installation slightly lower, and the entire installation takes less time. If you have to count money, synthetic stone will be a more reasonable choice.
Is synthetic slate durable?
According to Wikipedia, slate is an extremely durable material – no surprise, after all, it is stone. In the case of roofs made of natural slate, we can talk about up to 100 years – time and UV radiation do not cause much damage. We often find that a roof made of stone lasts longer than the rest of the house!
When it comes to composite roofs, durability is not so high. It is estimated that synthetic slate lasts about 50-60 years under typical Illinois conditions. There’s also a good chance that after that time, you’ll only need to make a few repairs rather than a major roof replacement.
What About Insulation Performance?
Some of our customers are paying increasing attention to the energy efficiency of their homes. Practice shows that the type of tiles or shakes does not directly affect the insulating properties of the building, but… there is some correlation.
As we already mentioned, synthetic slate is much lighter than natural stone. This means that the roof structure does not need to be as solid, and this in turn means that more insulation materials can be used. With the addition of the right insulation membrane, such a roof can be very airtight, and your bills will drop dramatically.
Does Synthetic Slate Look Similar to Natural Slate?
Well – the roof is the showpiece of any house, so it should look great. The development of technology makes synthetic tiles indistinguishable from natural ones from a distance. To increase realism, many manufacturers offer mixtures of tiles of different sizes, making the roof texture look more varied.
If you look at your roof up close, however, you will probably notice some differences. The easiest way to find them is on the side parts of the tiles, but we must admit that they are not striking. The vast majority of people won’t even realize that there is synthetic rather than real stone on a given building.
Will my Local Authorities Accept Synthetic Slate Roof?
As a rule, there should be no problem with this. If you’ve had a roof made of natural stone so far, replacing it with synthetic slate shouldn’t raise anyone’s objections. These materials are similar enough to each other that the renovation of the roof will not have a big impact on the appearance of the house.
When is it Worth Choosing Synthetic Slate? Pros and Cons
Well, it’s high time to answer the title question.
Pros of synthetic slate tiles
- Ease of maintenance – synthetic slate does not require excessive maintenance. Current plastic technologies are so superior that no homeowner needs to go on the roof to waterproof it;
- Weight – Synthetic slate is much lighter, which has a positive effect on the construction of your home. The low weight also makes the installation of the roof simpler and cheaper;
- Price – synthetic slate tiles are noticeably cheaper, which will reflect positively on your household budget.
Cons of synthetic slate tiles
- Longetivity – Although synthetic slate lasts many years, in theory, it is less durable than natural stone. In practice, this aspect can be ignored.
- Appearance – Although the synthetic slate looks very realistic, a trained eye will distinguish it from natural stone. If you are very keen on the classic design of your home, consider installing a classic stone, such as from Cupa.
At this point, synthetic slate seems to be a very good solution. Over the past 20 years, we see that the vast majority (more than 70%) of our customers are just asking for composite roofs, not natural ones. Is this trend likely to reverse? Perhaps, but at this point, there is no indication of that.
If you are just thinking about replacing your roof, be sure to contact us. Our company’s specialists will be happy to meet with you to discuss various options for your project. Don’t wait – take care of your home today!