Slate roof tiles

Slate roof tiles 
Slate roofs look fantastic and offer excellent durability.
Image by Kou07kou, used under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

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

Slate roofs are particularly well suited to cold, wet climates. One particular aspect of slate which makes it so attractive as a roofing option is its very low tendency to absorb water. This is useful in places where the temperature drops below zero, because it means that slate tiles won't crack or break as a result of frost.

Slate tiles are also dark coloured and have a relatively high thermal mass, which means that they do a good job of absorbing heat from the sun throughout the day, and releasing it at night. They also provide good insulation and noise control.



Perhaps the biggest draw card for slate tiles is their appearance. Slate offers a polished, natural and refined look that people tend to associate with prestige. As well as improving the look of your home, a slate roof will also add to its charm and resale value.


Where are slate roof tiles found?

Slate roofs are mostly found in the cooler southern states of Australia, thanks to their thermal properties. A slate roof may cost many times more than a conventionally tiled roof, and as a result slate roofs are most often found on historic buildings or the homes of the well-to-do. Being non-combustible, they are a safe material for bushfire regions.


  • Durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Natural material
  • Looks prestigious
  • Resistant to salt air
  • Relatively light
  • Quite expensive
  • Brittle, difficult to maintain