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Slate Roofing: Natural vs Synthetic and How to Choose the Right Roof for Your Home

Slate roofing offers the homeowner a sophisticated and elegant curb appeal when it comes to roofing options. The appearance of a home with a slate roof is set apart from the others on the block simply because of its striking beauty. Its benefits are unmatched when compared to other roofing materials. The hardest part is deciding whether to go with natural or synthetic slate. We will compare the two below and narrow down which is the best roofing material for you.  

natural slate roofing in Houston

What Exactly are the Two Types of Slate? 


Natural slate is renowned for its unrivaled durability and long-lasting performance. This roofing material is extracted from quarries and then meticulously created into square tiles, with each piece installed individually on your roof. The allure of natural slate is undeniable, but it does come with certain considerations. Availability can be a concern, as sourcing high-quality natural slate tiles may require patience. Additionally, the weight of natural slate can be substantial, potentially necessitating structural enhancements for your home. Before fully deciding on this particular product, it would be wise to discuss the structure with your roofing contractor.


Synthetic slate, a cost-effective alternative to natural slate, is crafted from recycled materials like asphalt and rubber polymers, skillfully designed to replicate the appearance of its natural counterpart. Chisel marks are intricately incorporated to lend an air of authenticity. Unlike natural slate, this option is notably lightweight, eliminating the necessity for additional structural support in your home.

The Differences Between Natural and Synthetic


One significant difference between natural and synthetic slate revolves around their environmental implications. Natural slate, once it reaches the end of its lifespan, lacks recyclability or reusability, potentially adding to landfill waste. In contrast, synthetic slate offers versatility in reuse. Ideas for repurposing synthetic slate include using it for garden edging, pond lining, outdoor murals, plant markers, and crafting birdhouses.


Given its substantial weight, natural slate often requires additional structural reinforcement for a home’s frame when used on a roof, costing nearly 300 pounds per square (a 10ft x 10ft area). In contrast, synthetic slate weighs approximately half as much, rendering it a more budget-friendly option due to reduced installation costs and frequently eliminating the necessity for structural upgrades.


The comparison between synthetic and natural slate extends to their pricing. Natural slate roofing can be nearly twice as expensive as its synthetic counterpart. Additionally, due to its weight, the need for extra structural support in the home incurs added fees. Moreover, natural slate tends to break or become brittle more frequently than synthetic, leading to more frequent repairs. Conversely, synthetic slate not only presents a more cost-effective material but also proves to be more economical in terms of installation and maintenance expenses.

Long Lasting

Synthetic slate tiles stand out for their exceptional durability, showcasing resistance to fire, impacts, and extreme weather like severe winds and hail. In comparison, natural slate might struggle to match the resilience of its synthetic counterpart. The strength of synthetic slate contributes to a lifespan of nearly a century, potentially surpassing the lifespan of the home itself, making it a roofing material known for longevity and endurance against various harsh conditions.

synthetic slate roofing in Houston

Which Slate Roofing is Right for You?

Choosing the right slate roofing depends on your individual preferences and needs. If environmental impact and versatility matter to you, synthetic slate holds an advantage with its potential for repurposing after its lifespan. Its lightweight quality can also save you on installation and structural adjustment costs, making it a practical choice for those mindful of their budget.

Conversely, if you’re captivated by the timeless allure and genuine feel of natural slate and are willing to invest in necessary structural upgrades, it can be a breathtaking addition to your home.

Both natural and synthetic slate offer exceptional longevity and can significantly boost your home’s visual appeal. Your decision should reflect your values, financial considerations, and the unique characteristics of your property.

Contact Walton Roofing a reliable roofing company in Houston here to help define other amazing factors that make up slate roofing. We are the roofing experts ready to assist you, with slate or any other type of roofing material. We have been serving the local area for years and are ready to help you with our expertise and excellent customer service. We are anxious to learn of your vision for a home and roofing project. Call us today and let’s discuss how a slate roof can help you stand out from the other homes on the block. 

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