A Comparison of Synthetic Slate vs Traditional Slate Roofs

When it comes to installing or replacing a roof, a residential homeowner has many choices. It is best to discuss with your local roofing contractor what roof would suit your home best, taking into account factors like cost, lifespan, and any other goals you may have, including how you want your home to look. One of the prettiest roofing materials on the market just so happens to be among the heaviest: natural slate. We're here to discuss the alternative to a natural slate roof: synthetic slate.

Synthetic slate roofs sit in the middle of traditional asphalt roofs and natural slate roofs by combining some of the best features of each. A synthetic slate roof has improved durability and curb appeal over asphalt shingles, while simultaneously reducing the weight and costs associated with natural slate. Let's dig a bit deeper on the topic.

What is a Synthetic Slate Roof?

Synthetic Slate Shingles are created to mimic the look and feel of actual slate shingles. To the untrained viewer (aka non-roofer), they've come so far that it's hard to distinguish natural slate from the synthetic slate tiles with the naked eye.

How long does a Synthetic Slate Roof last?

Synthetic slate tiles will offer a homeowner 45-50 good years depending on how they are maintained and looked after.

What is a Natural Slate Roof?

A natural slate roof is one of the most durable and long-lasting roofs that you can install on a home. Slate is a mined rock that requires cutting down to size and shape in order to be put on a roof. Beyond the durability, many homeowners appreciate natural slate for the excellent curb appeal.

How long does a Natural Slate Roof last?

A natural slate roof can last upwards of a century if properly maintained. It is quite common for slate roofs to give a homeowner 50-75 good years. Here's a good look at the pros and cons of a slate roof.

What are the differences between Synthetic and Traditional Slate?

Let's dive into the differences between the two roofing materials. Before we do, one thing you should know when it comes to roof repair and maintenance is that slate roof tiles need to be replaced one at a time.


Cost is and will forever be a big factor when it comes to making a decision to install a new roof or replace an old one. While there are many contributing factors that go into the price of a roof, we can say that the materials (synthetic slate tiles) are less expensive than natural slate.


Slate roofs require an attention to detail during the installation process. The quality of the material in combination with a professional installation means that a natural slate roof may very well be the last roof you put on your house, as natural slate can last 50-75 years, and possibly beyond if it was properly installed and consistently maintained.

While synthetic slate cannot offer 100+ years of protection, it can offer a duration of 45-50 years and perhaps a bit more if it is cared for.


Natural slate is one of the heaviest types of roofing materials on the market. A house needs to be framed or built to be able to withstand the weight. Going back to retrofit a home to be able to withstand the weight of slate tiles will drive up the cost of a roofing project. This is where synthetic slate tiles can help alleviate any concern, as they are a lighter material to work with.