A little less than a year ago we wrote a post (great comments by the way) that explained how the natural slate market was being damaged by the manufacturers of “synthetic slate” marketing their rubberized, polymer, shingle as “slate”. This is a disingenuous description of a rubber material because “slate” is defined as a natural rock. Big business is taking advantage, unfairly, of a high end roofing material and leveraging the name for profit.

Let’s be real clear, this is not slate. This post is not saying there isn’t a place for this type of material (Where? I’m not sure), it just shouldn’t be called slate.

Notice the fading color after only 5 years. The color underneath is what is started as, and now the sunlight has faded the non-covered area.

Fact Checking Synthetic Slate

Quality  – If “artificial” slates are not stored flat and become twisted or curled, lay them flat in a warm place and they will return to their original flatness. Pg 9 of this PDF

Anyone who knows slate should immediately shake their head at the material being installed on a roof. This sentence came from an installation guide for synthetic slate and should cause shivers to any homeowner knowing that their roofing material can curl before it even comes out of the box. What do you think is going to happen when wind gusts and high temperatures are pulling it at it on a daily basis? This is what is going to happen which will rely on underlayment to protect a roof.

Cost –  It is simple to install and at a fraction of the weight and cost of natural slate roofing.

Fraction of the weight? Yes. It should  be mentioned that the cost to install synthetic is considerably cheaper because of the weight of the material (easier to transport) and the ability to nail with a nail gun instead of a hammer. The actual cost of the material though is similar. In order to get a Class A fire rating in synthetic slate material, you’ll need to spend upwards of $500 a square for their premium material. A typical square of slate is around $350-500, depending on size. The reduction in installation costs initially is easily outweighed by the longevity of a natural slate roof and it’s not even close. Here is an older article outlining the cost which shows a rubber roof with a 90 year expectancy and that is not correct. A typical life span of rubber shingles, until curling or discoloring begins, can be 20 years and occur in as few as 5 years (or less). There is no evidence that they last 50 years (without asbestos) like the warranty says. At least not yet.

Aesthetics – Our synthetic Aledora slate and Classic slate roofing is indistinguishable from natural slate – yet it has an even more refined appearance and is significantly easier to install.

Disagree. A homeowner, who doesn’t understand roofing material, most likely won’t know the difference either way which would make the word “indistinguishable” correct to them. To anyone who knows slate, they can see the rubberized texture is cheesy when compared to slate. A shiny piece of rubber that has the potential to discolor from the sun’s rays is not going to stand up to slate when considering beauty. Notice the beauty of a rubber roof.

 

Durability – It is shatter resistant unlike natural slate roofing that can shatter when walked upon or in cold weather.  Bottom bullet of this webpage,

First of all, slate does not alter with a temperature change, unlike synthetic. Synthetic slate marketing is grasping at any negative aspect of slate they can when they even try to compare the two products. Their product curls, cracks, and disintegrates.Read more on durability on this excellent article found on Black Diamond Slate. Addit