The Difference Between Cheap & Expensive Roof Slates

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roof slates on commercial buildings

Particularly prevalent on many of our most-cherished buildings, such as churches and heritage properties, slate roofs are very much considered a premium roof covering, renowned for their timeless aesthetics and unmatched durability.

The difference between cheap and expensive roof slates in the UK can be attributed to several factors, including the quality of the materials, their durability, appearance, and the level of craftsmanship involved in their production.

The main differences between cheap and expensive roof slates:

Material Quality:

Expensive roof slates are often made from high-quality materials such as natural slate, which is known for its durability and longevity. Cheap slates, on the other hand, may be made from lower-grade materials or synthetic alternatives that are less durable and may not withstand harsh weather conditions as well.

Durability:

Expensive roof slates are typically more durable and have a longer lifespan compared to cheaper options. High-quality slates are less prone to cracking, fading, or deteriorating over time. They are also more resistant to water absorption, which helps prevent water damage and ensures the integrity of the roof.

Appearance:

The visual appeal of roof slates can vary significantly between cheap and expensive options. Expensive slates are often sourced from quarries with desirable colour variations and unique textures, providing an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the roof. Cheaper slates may have a more uniform appearance and lack the natural beauty and character found in high-quality slates.

Craftsmanship:

Expensive roof slates are typically produced with greater attention to detail and craftsmanship. They may be handcrafted or meticulously shaped to ensure uniformity and precision during installation. Cheaper slates, on the other hand, may be mass-produced, resulting in inconsistencies in size, shape, and overall quality.

It is important to note that the cost of roof slates also depends on other factors such as the brand, supplier, and market demand. While expensive slates may offer superior quality and durability, the choice ultimately depends on individual preferences, budget constraints, and the specific requirements of the roofing project.

What are the best roof slates for your commercial building?

Despite their durability (a well-installed British slate roof can have a lifespan well in excess of 100 years) eventually, roof renewal will be required, and therefore it is prudent to recognise the different roof slate options available. As a commercial roofing contractor, we are often asked to explain the difference between expensive roof slates and their more cost-effective alternatives – particularly the difference between British and Spanish slate respectively.

Particularly prevalent on many of our most-cherished buildings, such as churches and heritage properties, slate roofs are very much considered a premium roof covering, renowned for their timeless aesthetics and unmatched durability.

Despite their durability (a well-installed British slate roof can have a lifespan well in excess of 100 years) eventually, roof renewal will be required, and therefore it is prudent to recognise the different roof slate options available. As a commercial roofing contractor, we are often asked to explain the difference between expensive roof slates and their more cost-effective alternatives – particularly the difference between British and Spanish slate respectively.

British roof slates – the premium choice

British slate remains (as it has done for centuries) the premium option, with Welsh slate in particular considered the finest in the world. Most British slate mines are found in Wales and the South West, although mines exist throughout the UK, such as Scotland and the Lake District respectively. British roof slates are renowned for their unmatched durability, UV and water-resistant qualities, as well as their timeless, attractive appearance, in particular their wonderful hues and variations, owing to their centuries-old geological formation.

Spanish roof slates – a worthy alternative

A more cost-effective alternative to British slates are Spanish slates. Spain is the world’s leading producer of slate – and for good reason. Spanish slates share many qualities of British slates, namely durability and attractiveness. In terms of appearance, Spanish roof slate offer less variation than British slates, with black and grey prevalent as opposed to the uniqueness of blue-and-green hues found within British slate. It is also important to note that, as Spanish slate has been formed over less time than their British counterpart, it is more prone to degradation, leading to the possibility of more frequent repairs and, as a result, it generally have a lesser lifespan than British slate.

Brazilian roof slates – worth consideration?

Brazilian slate is an even more cost-effective option, however, due to its composition, it must be treated differently than European slates and installers must factor in more wastage, owing to its brittle nature. They are also less likely to withstand the vagaries of the British weather and therefore may be deemed unsuitable for use in many parts of the country.

To surmise, we believe British slates will always remain the most attractive, durable and desirable roof slates and for very good reason.   

This article, as with all other articles we produce, is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute formal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For bespoke, unbiased advice relating to your commercial roofing project please contact us and we would be pleased to assist.

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