Denver CO Roofing Tips: Is Slate Roof Too Expensive or Worth Its Price?

Many Denver CO homeowners may regard slate roof as absolutely too high-priced and often go with middle priced-roofing materials instead. However, slate roof is expensive for a reason: reputable Denver CO contractors with decades of experience providing slate roofing deem it as a long-lasting and greatly advantageous roofing material. When you use slate roofs, you are making an investment on excellent roofing that can last for decades -- and sometimes even a century.

If you're new to slate tile roofs and want to know more about them, has an excellent introduction to this roofing material. Read more here.

Slate roof tiles

What are slate roof tiles?

Slate is a type of rock which has been used on floors and roofs for hundreds of years. Large pieces of slate may be split into flat, thin slices while remaining intact, which makes it an excellent material for benches and tiles. Slate tiles can be used on floors and walls, and they are highly regarded as a strong, lightweight roof cladding material.

Slate is a high quality building material, and although different types of slate vary considerably in how much they cost, slate is generally one of the most expensive roofing materials to build with.

Properties of slate tiles


Slate is a type of rock, and offers excellent strength and durability as a roofing material. Slate roofs can easily last well over a century or longer, with the necessary maintenance. In most cases, the part that fails is not the tile itself, but the fixing nail which holds it in place. As these nails rust and fail, tiles may become loose and slip down the roof. Using specially treated nails and periodic maintenance help to ensure the longevity of slate roofs.

Climatic suitability and insulation (Read More Here)

Slate roofs are an excellent roofing material. They have cuts similar to asphalt shingles. Does this mean you can install them in the same way? In some ways, they are similar but not quite. Slate roofs are delicate roofing materials despite their high-quality durability. Handling them and securing their place on your roof requires proper equipment and knowledge in doing so.

Do It Yourself has an excellent guide on how to install slate roofs. If you'd like to give it a try, read all about it here.

How to Install Slate Roof Tiles

What You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk Line
  • Slate Hammer
  • Stainless steel nails
  • Drill with 1/8 inch masonry bit
  • Slate starter strip

Slate roof tiles add plenty of grandeur to a building. These tiles have been used in Europe for many centuries and in the US, they can be found on many older buildings. They last a long time and do an excellent job in keeping out bad weather. It takes longer to install slate roof tiles than to install a composition roof because each tile has to be individually fixed into place.

Step 1 - Drilling the Tiles

Each slate tile needs to have a hole drilled through it so it can be nailed to the roof. You’ll need to do this for every single tile, and you’ll save an abundance of time by doing all the drilling beforehand. Although some manufacturers of slate roof tiles will carry out the drilling according to your specifications, they’ll usually charge extra for it. Hole placement is likely to vary according to the size and style of the slate roof tiles. There will be instructions provided by the manufacturer to help clarify hole positioning.

Step 2 - Marking

To mark the starting positions, find the center point of the roof above the gutter by using your tape measure. From here, you’ll need to use a chalk line to determine the center point on the ridge of your roof.

Step 3 - Starter Strip

Before you begin attaching the slate roof tiles, you’ll need to put a starter strip on the roof. Generally, this will overhang the roof edge by around 1 ½ inches although you should check the manufacturer’s recommendations first. When you do begin nailing in the slate roof tiles, do so very carefully. Overdriving the nails can cause the tiles to crack. If you underdrive them, the nail heads will be raised which means the next course won’t sit properly.

Step 4 - First Course (Read Full Post)

In many ways, first-time roofers will encounter numerous difficulties installing their brand-new slate roof. However, with proper knowledge from professionals, you can install your slate roofs and avoid many errors along the way. With patience and a proper understanding of your roof architecture, you can install a quality replacement or freshly-installed slate roof. Know the common mistakes in slate roofing (including non-construction ones) and ways to avoid them here.

Top 10 Mistakes Made When Installing New Slate Roofs

As a slate roof consultant, I travel around the country looking at slate roofs, both old and new. Some are ancient and just need inspected and evaluated; others are brand new — and leak. I am currently involved in five slate roof litigation cases as an expert witness — all residential structures with roof work ranging in cost from $20,000 to $350,000. I see the same mistakes over and over on new slate roofs, and they’re hurting the long-term prospects of the American slate roofing industry. Here are the top ten mistakes, in no particular order.

1. Lack of information

The contractors (and homeowners) have not done their homework. The contractor blindly bullies ahead with the job without making any effort whatsoever to do any research. A simple search on the internet can yield a wealth of information about slate roofs, sources of correct tools, materials, supplies, and installation techniques.

2. All slate is not the same

You wouldn’t buy a car without looking at different models and checking their track record — and cars only last ten years and are cheaper than slate roofs! A slate roof is an investment in the future of your building. It will reasonably last 100 years if constructed correctly. There are many different types of slate with differing characteristics and longevities. Why buy a foreign slate with no track record? Do the research. [Source list of new roofing slate] [Source list of salvaged roofing slate]

3. The contract documents are deficient

Every detail about the slate roof installation should be included in the contract documents — type, size and origin of the slate; type, length and gauge of the nails; type and installation style of underlayment; type and size of cant strip; headlap; flashing specifications; number of squares to be installed; slate installation style, and many other details. A basic contract (“Sample Slate Roof Installation Proposal”) is posted here:

4. Lack of headlap (Read Full Post)

With its performance, durability, and exceptional capabilities, slate roofs are definitely a material you can invest in. However, roofing is never an easy task. With the weight and fragility of slate roofs, an incorrect installation might just shorten its lifespan. Prevent this from happening by hiring the finest roofers Denver CO has to offer. Roper Roofing has decades of experience installing slate roofs for residential properties across the area. You can trust us in delivering the high quality of roofing you need -- contact us today.


795 McIntyre St. Suite 303
Golden, CO 80401

Phone: 720-809-7586



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