Efficient and good looking are two reasons why people cover and protect their homes with roofing. There are other benefits too. Slate come in numerous and naturally occurring colors, which can be attractively blended with other materials. The range of size and thickness is almost endless. Slate is water repellent, fireproof, and low maintenance, especially because it is resistant to the growth of moss and algae.
For all these reasons to buy slate roofing, it can still be a questionable investment because it is one of the most expensive roofing systems to install. So most people when considering slate as a new roofing system have to ask: How long will it last? This is especially important in the northeastern United States where winters can be long, harsh, and destructive.
Just how long can a slate roof be expected to last in the northeast? The American Society of Home Inspectors puts the longevity of slate roofing at 30-100 years. That makes it a good buy when compared with asphalt at 15-20 years, wood at 10-40, metal at 20-40, and clay at 20 years or more. That makes slate a good buy even with the most expensive installation price.
However, if you are considering slate, but longevity is a concern, do some research before installing a slate roof, especially in the northeast. Not all slate is the same and some roofs just are not designed for such a covering. So, begin your search for the right slate with a consultation with a contractor who knows the product.
Slate has been quarried in the United States since the 1850s from states in the northeast and Virginia. Vermont roofing slate, quarried in the Green Mountains, carries a life expectancy of up to 200 years and with proper maintenance is said to last indefinitely. The rate for Pennsylvania roofing slate, which comes in solid gray or multi-color patterns, has a life span of about 50 years. Slate from Buckingham County in Virginia, with its blue/black color and high mica content, is said to be one of the world’s hardest. The life span is averaged at about 175 years or indefinitely.
Ribbon slates have lines or ribbons of color that make them distinctive looking. Although some of these slates are very durable, care should be taken in selecting them. In some slates, the material that forms the ribbons of color has been found to be soft enough to weather rapidly.
In some cases, the answer to “how long will a slate roof last in the eastern U.S.?” has to be: It depends. Maintenance is an important concern for longevity. However, with careful study of these generally highly durable materials and the aid of an experienced and knowledgeable contractor, the answer might be: Long enough to keep your home safe and you happy with the choice.
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