Popular Types of Synthetic Slate Roofs

Synthetic Slate Roofs

Slate roofs provide a textured, architectural appearance, creating deep lines and bold contours that can elevate your curb appeal. Unfortunately, the material is fragile, expensive, heavy, and hard to install. On the bright side, numerous types of synthetic slate roofs allow you to achieve the look and feel of clay tiles without the weight complications.

At Sundown Exteriors, serving Bloomington, Normal, Lincoln, and Peoria, IL, we specialize in slate roofing installation including synthetic materials. Our team can install synthetic slate, cedar shake, and barrel tile roofing systems. Read on to learn everything you need to know about popular synthetic slate roof alternatives.

6 Slate Roof Alternatives

Because of natural slate’s excessive weight, you face high installation costs, increased risks, and fragility concerns. Slate roof alternatives allow you to enjoy the appearance of slate without the cons. Below, we discuss the top six types of roofing materials that mimic the look of slate.

1. Composite Synthetic Slate Roofing (Top Choice)

brava composite synthetic slate roofing

Synthetic slate roofing (faux slate) offers the appearance of organic slate without the cons. Manufacturers create synthetic slate roofing by combining recycled plastics for an eco-friendly, highly durable, UV-resistant, waterproof solution. The lightweight result can withstand extreme temperature fluctuations, foot traffic, hail storms, and humid climates much better than the above options.

With composite roofing, you won’t need to worry about material shrinkage and expansions that create leaks, denting, cracking, or other issues requiring frequent maintenance and repairs. Composite slate roofs come in various organic styles that mimic real slate without repainting or refinishing requirements.

With composite slate roofing, you can enjoy ideal energy efficiency for lower utility costs. With the right installation, composite roofs can last up to 50 years, making them a worthy investment considering the low maintenance and repair costs.

2. Fiber Cement Slate Roofs

Fiber cement slate roofing contains a blend of cellulose fibers, sand, and cement to create a cheaper alternative to the highly desired slate roof. Back in the 1980s, roofers used a cement mixture containing asbestos. Today, we use safer, more advanced materials for ideal insect, water, and fire resistance.

You can purchase fiber-cement roofs in many colors, shapes, and patterns to suit your style preferences. The material costs around $3 to $16 per square foot to install, as opposed to the starting cost of $9 per square foot for real slate.

The biggest cons with fiber cement roofs are the high maintenance requirements and short lifespan of just 20 to 25 years. You will likely need to repaint the system every ten years or so.

3. Concrete Slate Roofs

concrete slate roof

Concrete slate roofs are energy-efficient, cost-effective, stylish alternatives to natural slate. Manufacturers create these types of synthetic slate roofs using a blend of cement, water, sand, and oxide, averaging $3 to $5 per square foot installed. The highly durable material can last up to 50 years when installed correctly, withstanding strong impacts, severe weather, and extreme temperatures.

Unfortunately, concrete slate weighs a lot, meaning the installation process is highly complex. While the material can last up to 50 years, you must replace the underlayment after 20. An underlayment replacement can cost over $5,000.

Concrete slate roofs are not waterproof, either. You must keep up with mold and plant growth removal to maintain the roof’s health. Poor maintenance could place your entire home at risk from the added roof weight.

4. Bituminous (Asphalt) Roofs

Bituminous slate roofs are made from asphalt shingles that manufacturers sand down to create a slate-like surface. You can expect bituminous roofs to last about as long as an asphalt roof: 15 to 30 years. The material costs around $3 to $13 per square foot to install, providing decent durability at an affordable cost.

If you look at photos of bituminous slate, you’ll find it’s the least similar to natural slate in appearance. The material can also suffer damage from extreme temperature fluctuations, strong UV rays, poor ventilation, or moisture buildup.

A bituminous slate can be a nice upgrade if you want an asphalt roof. Otherwise, you may want to look into the other types of synthetic slate roofs on our list.

5. Metal Slate Roofs

metal slate roofing

Metal slate roofing is a highly durable, long-lasting, eco-friendly, energy-efficient alternative to slate. While the material may look more industrial than organic stone, you can enjoy iron-clad protection against hurricane-force winds, mold, water, insects, pests, and fire.

Manufacturers create metal slate roofs in large sheets to achieve various shingle designs. You can choose from zinc, copper, and steel alloys ranging in price and durability.

While metal roofs can withstand numerous weather patterns, they can easily get dented from hail and foot traffic. Dents compromise the roof’s structure, integrity, and weather-proofing abilities. Rust and water buildup may also develop over time if your roof doesn’t have a steep enough slope.

6. Clay Slate Tile Roofs

With clay roofs, you can enjoy fire, impact, water, and rot resistance, allowing the system to last as long as 100 years. Clay tile roofs offer an organic appearance similar to slate roofing with excellent durability. Unfortunately, you face many of the same issues.

This excessively heavy solution often requires reinforcement maintenance, which can cost up to $10,000, underlayment replacements at around $5,000, and more. The initial installation may already put you in the hole over $20,000.

Upgrade Your Roof to Composite Synthetic Slate (#1 Option) Today

Of all the types of synthetic slate roofs, your best option in terms of value, durability, style, and longevity is composite. At Sundown Exteriors, serving Bloomington, Normal, Lincoln, and Peoria, IL, our experts install synthetic slate, cedar shake, and barrel tile roofing materials so you can boost your home’s curb appeal without risking durability.

You can trust our five-star CertainTeed SELECT ShingleMaster™ and Owens Corning Preferred Contractors to install your system correctly for ideal longevity. Plus, all systems come with a peace-of-mind warranty. Call Sundown Exteriors in Bloomington, IL, today at (309) 275-6801 to learn more about your options and receive a free estimate on your composite roof.