Slate Roof Cost Breakdown
Materials, labor, and a few other factors determine the final cost of your slate roof.
You can choose between a standard (also known as “uniform”) slate roof, or more unique types, such as a patterned, graduated length, blended, or random-width slate roof. Standard slate roofs are the most common option, and typically cost less than the other more intricate types. Each type of roof is unique, so it’s best to speak with your roofing pro to get specific quotes for the slate roof types they offer.
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.
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.
As a general rule, installation typically makes up about 70% of the average cost of a new roof. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 is often thicker than regular slate, so their weight difference could negate some of those savings.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Slate Roof Yourself?
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.