Slate holds about a 1% foothold in the overall roofing material pie chart, maybe less. A simple goal would be to grow it to 2%. If natural slate is going to continue to be installed on exterior and interior projects, the industry is going to have to join together. This is a pivotal time for slate and this post will give backing with concrete numbers.

America’s Mentality & Europe’s Example

The slate industry is not growing because America’s mindset is that of a quick buck. Pride in building, with our lack of trade schools, is at an all-time low. Building’s are not built to last. Contractor’s are asked to use cheap materials and complete projects as soon as possible. These structures over time will develop issues. This is today’s standard for far too many projects.

Consider France & Germany where slate is a primary building material on roofs and walls. Their model and their use of slate would have to be followed if the use of slate were to grow in the USA. Here are 3 main factors:

  • Installation – Hook systems are used to reduce labor time thus lowering the cost.
  • Self Satisfaction – European homes are passed down from generation to generation. It makes sense to build them to last with durable materials like slate, stone and brick. As of 2018, the median duration of homeownership in the U.S. is 13.3 years.
  • Trade Schools – Being a roofer is looked at as a reputable profession in Europe. Roofers go to school for years and then fulfill an apprenticeship in order to be qualified. USA roofers need a ladder.

Europe’s Numbers Don’t Lie

Spain is the biggest exporter of slate and France is the biggest importer. France is a country of 67 million people which is about 20% the size of the USA. You can see that France imports between $160-$190 million dollars of slate a year from Spain. All of these statistics are found in the BeNatural newsletter which takes the stats from Agencia Tributaria.

France Total Imports From Spain

Spain Total Exports
France is the largest importer, but that’s still only about 50% of Spain’s total export. Spain’s export is a $300 million market.

Spanish Quarry

USA Imports & Exports

USA Total Exports
The main countries that buy slate from the US are Canada and the UK. Note that slate is not big business being exported. Remember Spain exports almost $300 million, the US is around $5 million.

The US Imports From Spain

The import market is also small scale when compared to France.It’s relatively stable although I expect it to continue to grow with the lack of production from PA quarries and Spanish slate acting as a potential substitute.

What Does This Tell Us?

The first part to understand is that the US slate market is mainly internal with slate being produced in the New York / Vermont Slate region, Virginia, and Pennsylvania supplementing it. These numbers are not posted but a $50 million dollar estimate may be a ballpark. The export market is up to 5 million. The import is around the same. This means that France, a country of 67 million people, imports 3 times as much slate as all of the USA. Spain, a country of 45 million, is exporting about 5x the entire slate industry in the US each year.

The point is that it’s not the material’s fault. It’s us. It’s our society. It’s big business. It’s a shift away from a traditional, permanent structure. It’s not wrong to adapt to changes, but we’re moving away from the beauty, longevity and integrity that a slate roof provides. Stepping up and fighting back has to start now.

Why Natural Slate On Roofs Is Not Growing In The USA

Drawbacks of slate is that it is an upscale, heavy material with a lack of skilled installers. It must be installed piece by piece which may be looked at as slow and laborious. The marketing budget of the industry is minuscule compared to other materials. There are associations like the NSA and SRCA who do their best to promote, but as a part of these associations, they are a far cry from a widespread message.

Another main issue with slate is money. American don’t stay in their homes for decades any longer. It’s commonplace to move about. When that decision comes to replace or repair/replace your slate roof or spend a portion of that on shingles, it’s a financial decision. Add that new installations are not as prevalent because structures are not being built to support slate and it’s apparent why slate is not on the way up. Business and reputation is also being lost to millions of dollar marketing campaigns of a synthetic product that calls itself slate if the industry didn’t have enough to overcome. Why Synthetic Slate Is Destroying an Industry.

Tell Us What You Think

This is an ongoing issue. Groups get together and talk, but at the end of the day, there are hurdles that a group of like minded people need to solve. If you’re passionate about slate, share your thoughts in this post and rally the troops. Or give ideas of what is happening in this industry. The more buzz created, the more detailed we can get to solving the problem.

Below are some of the questions that we regularly get asked regarding slate roofing.

The biggest advantage to installing a slate roof on your home is the appearance. … In fact, installed and cared for properly it is not unheard of for a slate roof to last 150 years or more. In addition to being beautiful and durable, slate roof tiles are also fireproof and environmentally friendly.

 


Are slate roofs good?

Why does Slate make a good roofing material?

Slate is a fine-grained, foliated metamorphic rock that is created by the alteration of shale or mudstone by low-grade regional metamorphism. It is popular for a wide variety of uses such as roofing, flooring, and flagging because of its durability and attractive appearance.

 


Why does Slate make a good roofing material?

Does slate roof need replacing?

Because slate is often called a “100-year-roof” homeowners sometimes assume that it doesn’t need maintenance for a century. … Slate roofs (like all roofs) should be inspected annually. Cracked, broken, loose or missing slates should be replaced as soon as possible by a roofer experienced in slate work.

 


Does slate roof need replacing?

How many years does a slate roof last?

After all, roofing can be expensive. Slate is one of the few roofing options that doesn’t need to be replaced within the span of a lifetime. In most environments, slate shingles will last at least 125 years and sometimes as long as 200 years.23 May 2018

 


How many years does a slate roof last?

Are slate roofs expensive?

A slate roof is among the best roofs to have. It is expensive to install compared to other roofs. … So one hard or soft slate for each square foot of your house times $1,500 will be total cost of a new slate roof. Asphalt shingles have a total cost around $200 per square.25 Jan 2018

 


Are slate roofs expensive?

How often do slate roofs need to be replaced?

These materials don’t last nearly as long as the slate itself and generally need replacement several times throughout the life of the roof. In fact, depending on the material used, flashings may need replacement as often as every 15–20 years or as infrequently as every 70.

 


How often do slate roofs need to be replaced?

What is slate tile roofing?

Slate roof tiles are made of metamorphic rocks which are derived from sedimentary rock of volcanic ash and clay. … Slate is a long lasting product depending on the quarry. Known as the hundred year old roof, slate roof tiles are durable, fireproof, waterproof and no two pieces are alike because it’s a natural product.10 Jan 2018

 


What is slate tile roofing?

Can you walk on a slate roof?

Working on a slate roof requires delicacy. Some roofs have been up for nearly a century and while the stone is still effective, damage is possible. Experienced slate installers never walk on a slate roof, but instead erect scaffolding or prop hook ladders to the side of the building before beginning repairs.

 


Can you walk on a slate roof?

Does slate absorb water?

They might be the better looking alternative, but natural stone is our water absorbing material of choice. Sandstone, slate and unglazed ceramics have the ability to keep your drink from pooling and collects up to 1/4 cup moisture without a problem. The coasters then dry as the water evaporates and you’re good to go.22 Jun 2009

 


Does slate absorb water?

How do you care for a slate roof?

Cleaning Slate Roof. When cleaning your roof, be gentle and use a medium roughness brush, with regular household cleaner and make sure to wash away the soapy water when you are done. Do not use a pressure cleaner or any harsh industrial cleaners because they can damage the slate.11 Dec 2017

 


How do you care for a slate roof?

How are slate roofs attached?

A slate ripper is a long sword-like tool that removes a slate from the roof without having to remove overlying slates even after the slate has been nailed in place. A ladder hook attaches to a ladder section and hooks over the ridge of the roof to allow for a way to get up and down on a steep roof.

 


How are slate roofs attached?

What does a slate roof cost?

Some of the most popular reasons for slate roof installation are its high quality, natural beauty, longevity, and durability. On an average, the installation of a 1,500 sq.ft. semi-weathering slate roof with 3/16” thick tiles will cost around $15,000-$30,000.12 Oct 2017

 


What does a slate roof cost?

How do I know if my roof is bad?

Potential signs that your roof may need to be replaced:
  1. Shingle edges are curled or shingle tabs are cupped. …
  2. Bald spots where granules are missing.
  3. Cracked shingles. …
  4. Your roof is at least 20 years old; while many shingles today are produced for durability, many factors can accelerate the aging of shingles.

 


How do I know if my roof is bad?

What is the minimum pitch for a slate roof?

Although BS 5534 recommends a minimum pitch of 20°, SSQ has developed a successful slate roofing system that allows the roof’s pitch to be reduced to 17.5° generally and under some circumstances, as low as 15° in areas considered to be ‘unexposed’.

 


What is the minimum pitch for a slate roof?

How much does it cost to clean a slate roof?

A well-maintained roof lasts longer, and it keeps the market value of a house or a building at its prime. A clean roof also improves energy efficiency and makes your home look more aesthetically pleasing. The average cost to clean a roof is $413, though you might pay anywhere between $293 and $571 for the project.

 


How much does it cost to clean a slate roof?

Are slate roofs better than tiles?

Disadvantages. Like natural slate roofing, concrete tiles are heavy, which means if you need a new roof, you may need to have your building structurally inspected prior to installation. However, concrete tiles are lighter in weight and less costly to install than natural slate tiles.30 Mar 2017

 


Are slate roofs better than tiles?

How much does it cost to roof a 1500 sq ft house?

Average Cost to Replace a Roof per House Size
House by Square Foot Roof by Square Foot Re-Roofing Cost*
1,000 1,054 $4,000 – $5,500
1,100 1,160 $4,200 – $6,000
1,200 1,265 $4,500 – $6,500
1,500 1,581 $5,500 – $8,000

7 more rows

 


How much does it cost to roof a 1500 sq ft house?

Why is Slate good for roof tiles?

Slate is most commonly transformed into roof covering materials due to various reasons. First and foremost, its composition allows it to be cut and shaped into thin sheets. Just the right size of a roofing tile. Apart from this, there are other promising reasons behind why is slate used for roof tiles.24 Aug 2018

 


Why is Slate good for roof tiles?


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