Authentic slate shingles have been the roofing material of choice for centuries throughout Europe and the United States for estate homes, libraries and cathedrals. The beauty of authentic slate comes at a high cost, however, in terms of production, installation and durability: It's expensive to quarry, heavy to lift for transport and installation, fragile to cut and nail, and cracks easily once installed.
Synthetic slate shingles are a modern improvement on a construction classic. Made from combinations of plastic and rubber, synthetic slate is designed to mirror the beauty and uniqueness of authentic slate without the expense or installation headaches. And synthetic slate shingles last longer.
They're made by injection-molding petroleum-based materials into metal forms that are cast from authentic slate. Some brands of synthetic slate shingles are manufactured with virgin rubber or plastic, while other products incorporate recycled rubber or plastic, mineral dust or cellulose fibers. Recycled content usually consists of high-quality post-industrial materials; only a few incorporate post-consumer recycled materials.
Here's a look at the benefits of synthetic slate:
On a scale comparing costs of conventional roofing materials, the initial cost of installing synthetic slate shingles falls in the middle—it's more expensive than asphalt and architectural shingles and less expensive than clay tile and authentic slate. Unlike less expensive asphalt shingles, however, synthetic slate roofs can last for up to 100 years, and the majority of synthetic slate shingles have 50-year warranties. The long life expectancy of this material means that a roof doesn't have to be replaced in 15 or even 30 years, and also that fewer repairs are needed during the roof's lifetime.
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