The Comprehensive Slate Roof Maintenance Guide You Need for 2019

The cost of a new roof for a 900-square feet home is quite a financial commitment for Denver CO residents and those all over the country. For this reason, many never know how to replace a roof because it causes huge budget dents.  Indeed, how much is a new roof of slate is more expensive than other traditional roofing materials.

Even with a roofing calculator, slate roofs can cost quite a fortune. The average cost a new 1000-square feet roof of asphalt shingles is equivalent to less than a slate roof's actual price. Therefore, knowing the proper way to maintain your slate roof saves you plenty of time -- they can last for more than 70 years and beyond on average.

Slate Roof Complete Maintenance Guide

  1. How much is a new slate roof (2 items)
  2. Complete lifespan-improving slate roof maintenance (4 steps)
  3. Is maintenance enough?
  4. Alternative materials to slate roofs (3 items + 1 more item)

How Much is a New Roof of Slate?


Denver CO contractors will recommend slate roofs if it fits your budget. It is highly durable, has excellent lifespan, and provides exquisite, property value-increasing curb appeal.

Slate is a naturally-occurring rock formation that manufacturers usually purchase from mining companies. Because the roof material exists, manufacturers reform them into shape and give them a system of fasteners to create a highly-dependable installation system.

Slate can cost about $17-$23 per square feet. How much is a new roof of slate? It can range from $170-$230 per square, which is quite a financial commitment.

scale style slate tile roof patterns

Slate tiles can also have varying shapes and sizes based on manufacturer preferences.


Aside from asking "how much is a roof of slate," most homeowners ask about the average cost to tear off and replace their slate roof. Undamaged slate stones are still useable, but it can be expensive to buy replacement tiles.

In addition, slate is heavy. Contractors use special equipment to remove them from your roof. Next, they will improve on your roofing joists to make sure it can support its weight.

The same is true for installation labor. Your contractor will build a supporting joist structure that accommodates your slate roof's weight. In doing so, your slate roof will not weaken and cause a cave-in.

Slate requires specialist handling and paced installations, which means increased labor hours and expenses.

Maintaining Slate Roofs for Maximum Performance and Longevity

Roof Deck Water Stains

Slate roof maintenance requires using a special wall-bracing ladder, a flashlight, and a pressure cleaner. You need only to do it once or twice a year to avoid asking "how much is a new roof" and save on replacement expenses.

Once you're up on your ladder, use a flashlight to find water stains on your slate tiles. These water stains can have a brownish color to them. A rusty color is an indicator of slate tile water stains. You can check roof timbers for water stains from your attic.

slate tile roof undergoing sheath replacement

Check the roof deck for possible stains. This is a clear indicator of slate cracks and leaks.

Hairline Cracking

The presence of slate tile stains is an indication of hairline cracking and possible water infiltration. Slate tiles are highly durable. However, some tiles can age prematurely than others. When this happens, the materials can crack during a strong and prolonged rainstorm or a single incident of hailstorm.

In most slate roofs, hairline cracks are uncommon. However, they can be difficult to spot because of their small size. Make sure to shine your flashlight on each slate tile on your roof and check closely for any missed hairline cracks.

Powdery Surface

Powdering or erosion is common with most traditional roofing materials including slate, asphalt roofing, clay tiles, and even wood shakes and shingles. Premium slate tiles have additional laminates that extend the tile's overall lifespan. The presence of powder or erosion is a sign of slate tile aging.

Once again, some slate tiles age faster than other tiles. You'll need to replace these tiles individually to maintain your roof's performance. Additional signs of slate roof faults include mortar joint splits, which require mortar replacement to prevent internal leaks.

Debris Clearing

To have a clear view of all possible slate roof faults, you can clean up your slate tiles free of debris. However, make sure to have someone anticipate possible leaks in your attic to prevent extensive water damage.

Pressure water cleaners allow you to remove debris, lamination flakes and erosion, and molds on your slate roof. However, keep in mind that aged slate tiles can break apart from pressure water cleaners, so prepare replacements before you start cleaning.

stained slate tile roof that requires cleaning

You can clean stained and dirty slate tile roofs using pressurized washers.

Is Maintenance Enough to Bring My Roof Lifespan Beyond 70 Years?

Prevention is definitely worth more than a pound of cure. Regular bi-yearly inspections help you determine problem areas and resolve them quickly through DIY or by calling a contractor.

In most cases, preventative maintenance such as replacing damaged tiles and bi-annual cleaning helps avoid long-term slate roof damage. For example, roof sheath water stains warn you about possible internal leaks, which encourages you to have specialists replace it

While both slate tile sheathes and replacements are more expensive than plywood, it beats having to pay the full price of slate tile installations or tear off and replacement.

Related: Roofing Materials With The Longest Lifespans

slate tile roofs with special shapes

Slate tiles can withstand hailstorms and rainstorms, but they can get damaged and cause leaks in the process.

Great Roof Material Alternatives to Slate

Clay Tiles

Medieval-era castles still have complete clay tile roofs to this day, which attest to their long-term lifespan and durability. In addition, they introduce a beautiful Mediterranean appeal for your property. They can be quite as expensive as slate tile roofs, but they require no additional joist installations. Clay tiles are easier to handle than the latter because they are light too.

Asphalt Shingles

The traditional asphalt roof is inexpensive and introduces the same curb appeal as slate tiles. While they're less durable and having a short lifespan, they're practical because they're affordable and very easy to repair and replace.

Metal Roofs

Corrugated and standing seam metal roofs cost about half to above half of slate tiles. However, galvanized and galvalumed steel can last for more than 70 years with careful maintenance. In addition, they are extremely lighter than slate tiles.

Related: All About Corrugated Metal Roofing

The Best Way to Get Top-Level Slate Roof Maintenance

True enough, you can miss some slate tile symptoms during your regular bi-annual maintenance. Don't blame yourself because most homeowners fail to see majority of roof issues during their inspections.

In this light, it pays to have a professional team to inspect your roofs regularly. If you have yet to find a reliable one, don't hesitate to consider Roper Roofing, Denver CO's finest roofing contractors. We can perform slate tile roof maintenance and on-site repairs to extend the lifespan and dependability of your roof. Contact us today!


795 McIntyre St. Suite 303
Golden, CO 80401

Phone: 720-809-7586



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