It’s difficult for any other material to compete with natural slate . The durability of a rock hard natural material means that a quality slate roof would last a life time or two ,here are some examples of our recent slate roofs .
Natural slate is recognized throughout the world as one of the finest building materials available. The material has a capability to withstand the most extreme environmental and weather conditions. Its durability and unique natural beauty has led to the specification of slate in a broad range of roofing applications.
Slate is frequently grey in colour, however, slate occurs in a variety of colours even from a single locality and can be found in many shades of grey, from pale to dark. Ninety percent of Europe’s natural slate used for roofing originates from Spain with Brazil, China, Argentina and the UK being some of the most used slate in the UK.
Slate is particularly suitable as a roofing material as it has an extremely low water absorption index of less than 0.4%. Its low tendency to absorb water also makes it very resistant to frost damage and breakage due to freezing.
Slate roof tiles are usually fixed using either nail fixing or the hook fixing method as is common with Spanish slate.
Nails will traditionally be copper, although using S/S hook fixing means that areas of weakness on the slate are fewer since no holes have to be drilled and is particularly suitable in regions subject to severe weather conditions since there is a greater resistance to wind uplift as the lower edge of the slate is secured.
The metal hooks are, however, visible and may be unsuitable for historic properties. Both these methods, if used properly, will provide a long-lasting weather tight roof with a typical lifespan of around 80–100 years.
Slate has lined our roofs since the Roman times. However, today’s choice of local, imported or man-made slate is dictated by a number of factors, including price.
British Slate, hard-wearing and watertight — locally sourced slate is an enduring sight on our roofs. The introduction of BS EN 123261 in 2004 also guarantees that newly quarried British slate is frost- and fire-proof.
Welsh slate, grey-blue in colour, is universally recognised as the highest quality slate available. However, Britain boasts a number of prestigious slates — including Burlington blue-grey and green-coloured Westmorland slates from the Lake District, dark-grey Cornish Delabole slate, and Scottish Ballachulish and Easdale slates. Several other types of stone also offer a sturdy choice.
Imported Slate, Offering competitive prices and an array of different hues, imported slate is a popular choice and available in abundance. Spain is by far the largest exporter — providing nearly 75% of all slate worldwide. Chinese slate is among the cheapest natural slate available. Canadian slate is also a good alternative to Welsh slate.
Artificial Slate Tiles
Man-made products lack the durability and charm of their natural counterparts, yet are an affordable alternative — and, therefore, widely used. Manufactured to consistent size, shape, texture and colour, they can create a uniform, smart finish. Consistency also means they can be laid single bond and still provide watertight protection (unlike natural slates, which are typically laid in a double-lapping bond) and, coupled with the convenience of pre-drilled holes, makes installation far easier — saving time and money.
Concrete slates and slates manufactured from reconstituted slate dust are both viable options. Fibre-cement slates – made from cement, organic fibres and mineral additives – are ideal for complex designs, steep roof pitches, or for roofs where a lightweight solution is required (yet copper rivets are usually required to keep this lighter material in place). Unlike natural slate, however, weathering may expose the base colour of both concrete and fibre-cement slates over time.
Clay-based slates are another innovation introduced to meet the rising demand for slate, and offer good resilience to the elements.