What Slates Are Best For Your Roof?


What slates are best for your roof? A background of slates for residential and commercial roofing projects and things you’ll need to know when planning you slate roofing project.

Slate roofs are a distinguished feature of many buildings. Their popularity stemming from both their aesthetic appeal and effectiveness as a waterproofing system.

Slate is one of the longest lasting materials used in the roofing sector, with a life expectancy outliving many other elements of the building. Slates are naturally resistant to water, highly durable and have very low levels of water absorption.

In scientific terms slate is “a fine grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low grade regional metamorphism.

The use of slate as a roof covering has been around for hundreds of years but, only after the introduction of the railways did the use of slate become more popular away from areas where it was mined.

In the United Kingdom, slates are quarried from natural deposits in North Wales as well as parts of South-West and North-West England and Scotland. Such slates have been distributed across the world, and are known for their durability and long lifespan.

Whilst British slates are of exceptional quality, this quality comes with a cost to match. In recent times natural slates from across the world have provided a more cost-effective solution. In particular slates from Brazil, China and Spain are becoming readily used alternatives.

Slates today are used across both residential and commercial properties, and whilst carrying a greater upfront cost, their longevity gives them excellent value and they’re still a very popular choice of material today. Slates can be installed on almost all roofs where the pitch exceeds 20°.

In addition to natural slates, there are a number of man-made alternatives available which, once again, allow property owners to make savings, while still maintaining the aesthetic appearance of a slate roof. Whilst in some cases artificial slates are significantly cheaper, they have a much lower life expectancy of approximately 40 years.

Today, the roofing sector is spoilt for choice when it comes to slate selection. The range of options not only come with a variety of cost implications, but of quality too. So, what do you need to consider when selecting a slate?

According the National Federation of Roofing contractors: “A British and European standard for roofing slates, BSEN12326-1 Slate and Stone for Discontinuous Roofing, was introduced in July 2004 and replaced the former standard BS680.

BSEN12326-1 is the only official standard in Europe. Slates should be selected by using the results of the tests in BSEN12326-2 but to select one suitable for the British climate and traditions from the test evidence some guidance is required”.

The most suitable slate for a project will be determined by a number of factors including planning rules, building type, cost and everything in between.

At Maguire Brothers, we offer surveying and specification design services that will give you all the information needed to make informed decisions at to what slate is best suited to your upcoming roofing project.

To find out more, get in touch with the team here.

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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