It’s sometimes tricky trying to tell the difference between real and costume jewelry, isn’t it? Occasionally I’ll see a necklace or ring with such brilliance and — for a moment — think they’re genuine diamonds or gemstones, only to find out they are high-end, elegant pieces of well-designed costume jewelry that were made to look real. In certain circumstances, man-made materials have a better function and purpose than the genuine article. Let me explain.
I just wrapped up a blog about the strength, beauty and longevity of natural stone. In it, I mention slate as a type of natural stone. While natural stone is the right decision in certain applications, I do believe that choosing synthetic slate roofing for Wayne IL homes and anywhere in the Midwest is an excellent choice.
What is natural slate?
Natural slate is a durable, stain-resistant and fireproof stone, often used for flooring, cladding and landscaping. Formed over thousands of years of sedimentary deposit and compression, slate splits naturally into beautifully textured layers. It helps create a rustic-classic look for your home. You can find various shades of slate colors often within the same piece of stone.
Speaking with hprtexas.com on the most common colours for slate roofing, they said, “The most common slate color families are: black, brown, dark grey, red or green.”
One drawback, however, is that it is a thinner stone and can break if not installed correctly or if used in the wrong area. One area, in particular, that you should NOT use natural slate is your roof. Slate’s imperfections include the fact that it can be brittle and easily damaged by hail or flying debris (not to mention inevitable foot traffic when repairs are needed).
Where does that leave you? Well, if you love the distinct look of slate (it’s timeless and beautiful), then think about choosing synthetic slate roofing for Wayne IL homes or elsewhere in the Chicagoland area.
What is synthetic slate roofing?
Synthetic slate roofing – also known as composite slate roofing or composite slate shingles – is a man-made product that looks exactly like natural slate. There are different types of composite slate shingles. In this blog post, I’ll be discussing the type that is made from an engineered polymer base, and includes fire retardant, UV and thermal stabilizers. Some companies use recycled materials such as recycled rubber or plastic, mineral dust or cellulose fibers when manufacturing their slate tiles while others use virgin rubber or plastic.
What are the 12 benefits of using synthetic slate roofing over natural slate?
I can sum this up in one word: performance. Synthetic slate roofing outperforms that of the genuine article for several reasons. My top reason for loving it is that it protects your home better, which leads to a longer life for your home!
Synthetic slate roofing is:
- Authentic in appearance with realistic textures
- Durable yet lightweight
- Generally maintenance-free, although any good roofing contractor will offer a maintenance program.
- Available in multiple widths and colors
- A good choice for remodels or re-roof applications (Many homes in our area were not designed to handle the weight of natural slate.)
- Energy-Star Certified (This is a label given to products that use less energy, save money and help protect the environment.)
- More affordable than natural stone (Not only does it cost less than natural slate, but it will cut your installation cost in half. In addition, there’s a greater availability of installers vs. natural slate.)
- Warrantied for a long period (The top manufacturers listed below all offer a 50-year limited warranty.)
The four top synthetic slate roofing manufacturers in the United States are:
- CertainTeed (Symphony product line)
- DaVinci Roofscapes
- EcoStar, LLC
- InSpire Roofing Products (The Tapco Group)
Please note that in my next blog about this topic, I will compare these four companies and their composite slate shingle products.
What year was synthetic slate first developed?
Everything takes time. The early 1970s (the same time asbestos was eliminated in building products) is when companies began to experiment with a base formula of recycled rubber and plastic. This base became the foundation for injection-molded roofing tiles, or the first composite roofs. The first synthetic slate tiles were sold in the U.S. in 1996 by a company that is now a part of EcoStar. You will find many uses for Synthetic materials as they’re developed and engineered to increase your homes performance, both inside and out. You’ll find a lot of companies are adopting a new introduction into artificial grass in Perth as many new-builds are having these gardens installed to keep down on maintenance which is just one initiative Perth residence have adopted to cut down on there annual water usage.
What were the main goals of manufacturing slate verses using natural slate?
I gave you 12 good reasons outlining the benefits of having composite slate tiles on your home. Let’s zero-in on a few of them, which also explains the impetus to develop the technology to manufacture them to the level of sophistication we see today.
Composite slate is durable yet lightweight. Some roof structures simply cannot carry the weight of natural slate. Composite slate is about one-fourth the weight of natural slate (natural slate weighs approximately eight pounds per square foot, while synthetic slate weighs approximately two pounds per square foot).
Safety: The Midwest doesn’t have to worry about fast-spreading forest fires or hurricanes with sustained winds of 110 mph, but we do have our share of weather extremes, particularly the freeze-thaw cycle, and harsh winters and summers. Synthetic slate roofing protects your home from all of these extremes, and they also contain advanced ultraviolet inhibitors to reduce wear from the sun.
Sustainability. At the end of its long life cycle, synthetic slate can be recycled. In addition, as I mentioned above, some composite slate shingles are made from post-consumer recycled materials.
To read more about how synthetic slate tiles are manufactured, please read these two informative articles:
What is the most common concern of people deciding if they want synthetic slate roofing for Wayne IL homes and beyond?
While I’ve outlined 12 great benefits in this blog post, the biggest concern homeowners have about composite slate roof tiles is its history. It has a short history in comparison to natural slate! That’s true. Some composite products have been on the marketplace for 20 years, while others are still newer yet, coming out in the last decade. The science, research and testing that went into these products are quite extensive, with the end goal being longevity. The fact remains, though, that composite slate roofing is a relatively recent development when it comes to home building, especially when compared to its natural counterpart.
Before you make any moves regarding your roof, remodeling project or new construction, speak about this topic and the quality control process of the design/build firm you are considering to hire for your project. It’s really critical that the contractor you hire is not only capable and experienced, but one who prides himself on always learning about the cutting-edge products available today! Call me if you want a roofing estimate to get the ball rolling on your project.