How Much Does a Slate Roof Cost?

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Updated January 11, 2022
House with a slate roof
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The national average cost of a new slate roof is $14,700

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Installing a new slate roof costs between $5,800 and $23,600 on average. You could also consider the per-square price of approximately $1,500 per square (10-foot by 10-foot area) if you know your home’s roof size and want to calculate an estimate.

There’s no sense denying that slate roofs can be expensive. But those who are willing and able to invest will enjoy a roof that’s durable, fire-resistant, and incredibly long-lasting. Slate can last on your home for up to 200 years, and is also a great way to keep asphalt shingles out of landfills—one of the main construction materials that accounted for more than 600 million tons of U.S. waste in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Learn how much slate roofs cost, plus money-saving strategies for making your new roof fit your budget.

Slate Roofing by Type

There are two main categories of slate roofing shingles, although you have many options contained within each to customize.

Standard Slate (Hard, Soft)

Uniform natural slate tiles typically cost between $10 and $15 per square foot, depending on hardness and thickness. The two main types of standard slate, hard and soft, can also vary in price. Hard slate is incredibly durable but the most expensive ($15+ per square foot is a good estimate). 

While still made from the same natural materials, soft slate isn’t as durable or heavy and usually costs less. $10 per square foot is about average, but you may be able to find it for cheaper, too. Various designs of authentic slate, such as patterned (scalloped, hexagonal, and fish-scale), are available in both hard and soft options.

Synthetic Slate

Synthetic slate tiles made of clay, ceramic, and concrete give the appearance of standard natural slate at 30 to 50% of the average price (around $7 to $10 per square foot). These items often weigh less and may even be easier to install for your contractor, which could help you save on labor costs as well.

Textural or blended multi-color synthetic slate are often thicker than regular slate, so their weight difference could negate some of those savings.

What Slate Roof Can I Get on My Budget?

Authentic hard slate costs around $15 per square foot when sold in 10-foot by 10-foot sections, but there are plenty of creative ways to achieve the slate look on an asphalt budget.

<$6,000

You might be able to purchase a smaller roof of soft slate (hard slate is a heavier, nonabsorbent stone, while soft slate, even though it’s made of the same material, is less durable and won’t last as long) for under $6,000 including labor and materials.

If you like the natural look of slate, you may also opt for an affordable slate alternative roof. Ceramic slate roofing, for example, costs about half the price of regular slate per square. Majestic roofing, which are synthetic slate shingles made using recycled materials, is also another much easier option to install, which can save on labor costs.

$6,000 to $15,000

The national average cost to install a new authentic slate roof is around $14,700. You can save by opting for soft or synthetic slate over hard slate, which could save you up to $10 per square foot in material costs.

$15,000 to $24,000

You could easily exceed the national average if you’re installing hard slate with unique patterns or even if you simply have a larger-than-average roof. The average roof requires 15 to 30 squares to cover (between 1,500 and 3,000 feet) of material. A larger home will need more materials and therefore cost more in labor, too.

$24,000+

Homeowners who customize, have abnormally large roofs, or choose top-of-the-line hard slate report paying more than $40,000 for their new slate roof. The project gets pricey when you start customizing colors, textures, and patterns, too.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Slate Roof Yourself?

Person working on slate roof
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Roof projects, whether you’re installing slate or another material, are best left to roofing professionals. Even if the warning signs that you need a new roof are apparent, it’s best not to rush and find a trusted pro.

Slate Roof Cost Breakdown

Materials, labor, and a few other factors determine the final cost of your slate roof.

Synthetic vs. Natural

You can purchase cost-effective slate lookalikes, such as clay or ceramic, for $5 to $10 per square foot, which could save you thousands. These materials are only graded for about 30 years, but give you the same look as slate.

Hardness

Hard slate is extremely durable, fire-resistant, and graded to last up to 200 years. It is widely considered to be one of the strongest roofing materials you could install on your home. It costs as much as  $10 more per square foot than soft or synthetic slate, which is easier to install but only rated to last 125 years.

Labor

As a general rule, roof installation costs typically make up about 70% of the final bill. A $10,000 project may only require $3,000 worth of slate and other materials (caulk, nails, flashing, etc.), for example, but many labor hours to complete.

Slate is an especially difficult material to install that takes much longer than other roofing materials—typically between 10 and 12 hours per square, meaning a standard-sized home could take 200 to 300 hours to install. (Asphalt, for reference, takes one to three days total.)

One of the questions you should ask a roofer before hiring is whether they’re licensed, bonded, and insured. This way, your investment is protected in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

Roof Size

Professional roofers typically charge by project, and roof size is one primary factor used to calculate cost. More labor and materials are required for larger roofs, which could add thousands to a project if yours is extra large.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Install a Slate Roof?

Here are two other factors to consider when shopping for a new slate roof.

Roof Design

Roofs with deep slopes or other hazards are almost guaranteed to increase labor costs. 

If your home has a chimney or other items that require new flashing installation, this can also increase costs.

Shopping around for multiple quotes is always a good idea. Ask several reputable slate roofing pros in your area to give you an estimate on your home.

Availability

Some manufacturers mass-produce a variety of slate roof options. For custom projects, you may have to special-order the slate you want. This could add to your project’s time length and budget.

FAQs about Slate Roof Costs

Are slate roofs worth it?

When maintained, a natural slate roof can last multiple generations. You’ll pay more up front but won’t have to worry about installing a new roof every 30 years.

What kind of maintenance does my slate roof need?

Having an annual inspection is a no-brainer slate roof maintenance tip that can make sure your investment lasts for many years to come. The cost of a roof inspection may be only $200 or less.

Are there drawbacks to installing a slate roof?

Besides up-front costs, there aren’t many negatives to consider about a slate roof. Older homes may not be graded to withstand the additional 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of pressure a slate roof will put on it, so talk to your contractor about any concerns early in the process.

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