What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Slate Roof?

We recently had a look at metal roofing. But what about slate tiled roofing? Slate tiles have a brilliant reputation for homeowners, and roofing experts too. The main reasons are because they look great, they’re durable and hardwearing and make for a good all round roofing material.

Slated roof properties generally tend to be some of the most valuable around the country, showing that more expensive and modern properties are utilising this great material. 

Let’s expand on durability. Despite looking incredible, durability is surely the strongest deciding factor for most property owners to choose slate. Slate tiles can last hundreds of years under the right conditions. Sure, you might have to combat the odd repair, but the bulk of the slate tiling should survive well. While it’s celebrated beauty might fade after several years, you can count on the tiles protecting your roof. 

But how long will your average slate tile roof last? That is the question that many people want to know who are going to buy their slate tiled roof in 2020 and 2021…

So, let’s dive into it!

Variations of Slate Roofs

Slate tiles tend to last 50-100 years. This is an estimate. Factors that affect the lifespan are: the type, brand, size and elements your tiles are subject to. 

Let’s look at the two main types of slates here:

Hard slate tiles

Hard slates are some of the strongest roofing materials available on the market today. Notably, slate is fire resistant, unlike older more classical roofing options. The density of slate also makes it pretty resilient to the elements and debris that might strike it.

Not only is the material itself strong, but it’s also weather resistant. This is good, you’d hope one of the most popular roofing materials on the market was weatherproof…!

Another strength of hard slates is how they don’t absorb water or get warped by moisture. Generally, they’re relatively easy to repair. Normally a tile will come loose or become cracked. The best repair is to simply replace the tile. Although when working with metal roofing you don’t get this issue – normally, replacing a slate tile isn’t that expensive.

If you purchase a property with a hard slate roof you’re most likely safe from any major issues. Any foundational issues are what they are and are present for any kind of roof.

That’s why it makes sense to get the roof and other parts of a property checked before purchasing. In any case, if you can’t see any issues with a slate tile roof, there’s a decent chance it’s still OK. Of course, inquire about the age to be sure. If it’s only a decade or two old, you’re probably OK.

Soft slate tiles

Soft slate tiles are as they sound – softer than hard slate tiles! Despite being a softer version of hard slate tiles – they have similar properties, meaning they are also weather resistant. Soft tiles tend to have less of a lifespan. They usually last between 40 – 100 years depending on the weather conditions. 

Soft slate tiles become susceptible to damage as cracks start to emerge. When purchasing a home with soft slate tiles, it’s worth inspecting the roof to make sure that there aren’t cracks. If you find a soft slate tile roof that is over 30 years old, it might be on its last legs. 

Cost of a slate tile roof

The easiest way to describe how much a slate tile roof costs is to say around £10k-£15k. Although it depends on how large your roof is, how much work there is to be done and so on. This is generally how much most of our slate tile roofs ends up costing. Given the length of their life, the day to day durability and the aesthetics – many people still opt for slate roofs. Soft tile roofs tend to be a little cheaper.

To conclude

It’s no surprise that slate tile roofs are popular given their look, the durability and how their price isn’t unimaginable. Sure, metal might suit that of an industrial building or a commercial premise – but slate is still very much a winner for lots of local homeowners. 

Soft slate tiles tend to be a little cheaper and a nice balance of still getting slate, but making some immediate savings on getting the hard tile. 

Both are good and it depends on you, your budget and the kind of look you want to achieve with your roof.