What Types Of Slate Roofing Is Best And Worst For A Gable Roof?

Slate roofing has an elegant look, long lifespan, and minimal upkeep in most situations. But slate roofing is a hefty financial investment so you want to make sure that the material is the best match for the type of roof on your home. If you have a gable roof, which features two steep sloping sides that come together at the ridge peak, there are some important considerations when discussing the possibility of slate roofing with your roofing contractor.

What are the best and worst slate types of roofing for a gable roof?

Worst: Real Slate

Real slate tiles are quite heavy, which isn't a major concern on roof styles that naturally distribute the weight evenly. A gable roof only has the two steep sides that don't allow for natural weight distribution. Unless your roof already has fantastic supports in place, the weight of the slate tiles might end up causing some damage to your home. The problem is especially common in areas that receive heavy snowfall in winter, which can further add to the weight of the roof.

The weight problem doesn't mean you have to shove aside the idea of slate tiles completely. You simply need to realize that there might be a lot more work and money involved if the support structures needed to be added before the slate. If that's a price you are willing to pay, you can't beat the beautiful look of natural slate.

Best: Asphalt Composite Slate

Asphalt composite shingles can be fabricated to resemble slate tiles. Asphalt is one of the most affordable roofing materials, has a very lightweight, and is fairly durable. The shingles won't look exactly like slate under close inspection, but gable roofs tend to be higher, which means only your roofing contractors are going to be close enough to tell the difference.

You might want to choose a different material if you have a home in the country without any wind breaks in place. High winds traveling up the gable slopes can loosen or pull off the asphalt shingles. But for many homeowners, this scenario isn't a problem since trees or neighbors are close enough to act as a wind break.

Worst: Fiber Cement Faux Slate

Asphalt isn't the only type of faux slate on the market. If you are on a very limited budget, fiber cement shingles created to look like slate might seem like a wise choice. But while the fiber cement shingles boast the lightweight appeal of asphalt, the material is far less durable than asphalt. Your roof might end up showing wear and tear far faster than if you had chosen another roofing material.

Best: Plastic Composite Faux Slate

There are also artificial slate shingles made from a composite of plastic and polymer. These shingles are more expensive than fiber cement, generally, but are one of the most durable of the faux slate products. In fact, the plastic composite can often prove more durable than natural slate.