Slate: characteristics, advantages, disadvantages, price


Elegant and refined, slate is a natural rock suitable for the design of roofs. If its cost is very high, it gives your home a unique and timeless character, both old and terribly modern. Insulating, resistant, durable and solid, slate is a material which must be installed by professional roofers and which is not devoid of advantages. Let’s take stock of its characteristics, advantages, disadvantages and price.

What are the characteristics of slate? What price ?

Slate is a material used for making roofs. It is a natural rock, both appreciated for its elegance and for its performance in terms of thermal and sound insulation. This dark gray rock schist with bluish to black reflections does not tarnish and retains its elegance and beauty over time. It is very resistant to frost and sunlight.

There are currently two forms of slate sold in the market: natural slate and synthetic slate.

Natural slate

Natural slate is the most traditional. It comes from the rock present in the crust of the Earth which has been transformed by the effect of temperature and pressure, causing the formation of crystals. It is then polished and worked for the realization of roofs.

The natural slate is taken from quarries found all over the country. This geographical distribution gives each deposit its peculiarities, because the rock is linked to its soil. Depending on its origin and the regions of France, it will therefore be more or less clear, more or less solid, more or less flexible, more or less fine, etc. The most famous is that of Anjou, because it is said to be the most durable.

Depending on the origin and the quality of the slate, it takes between 100 and 150 euros per square meter.

Synthetic slate

Synthetic slate is absolutely not of natural origin, as the name suggests. It is indeed made from organic fibers, cement, minerals and water, hence its nickname of fiber cement slate.

It has more or less the same characteristics as natural slate, but it is still less durable. If natural slate does not move for more than a hundred years, it should be replaced after 30 years, provided it is properly maintained. On the other hand, it is lighter and therefore easier to install, less expensive than its cousin and available in a wide range of colors.

For a synthetic slate roof, count 50 to 100 euros per square meter on average.

What are the advantages of this material?

Slate is a material with many advantages:

  • Natural slate is environmentally friendly. It comes from a rock and no chemical product is necessary to extract it and to work it, nor to maintain it.
  • Extremely resistant, natural slate has a lifespan of more than 100 years without moving, without degrading or tarnishing.
  • Slate has impressive qualities in terms of insulation, strength and waterproofing.
  • Impermeable to water, it is also resistant to fire, frost and strong heat.
  • Slate is a very aesthetic material, timeless and both traditional and modern. Timelessly elegant, it dresses buildings in its beautiful gray to black color with bluish reflections.
  • Easy to work, slate can be cut into various shapes to meet all desires and needs.
  • Synthetic slate is available in several colors to meet a wider range of tastes. It is also less expensive than its natural cousin, which is a real plus for small budgets.

What are the disadvantages of slate?

Despite its undeniable advantages, slate is not without its drawbacks:

  • Slate is not an economical material. The natural form is very expensive with an average of 100 to 150 euros per square meter. The synthetic form is more accessible, but it remains expensive with 50 to 100 euros per square meter.
  • It is a heavy material that is not suitable for all frames. In addition, the slope of the roof must be at least 25% so that it is covered with slate.
  • The installation of slate must be permitted by the town’s PLU. It is indeed a material which is not authorized on the whole of the territory.
  • If the installation of slate is relatively simple, it is only for competent professionals with the right tools. Indeed, it is not a material that can be installed by individuals, which further increases costs.
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