A slate roof is a worthwhile investment, especially if you are going to live in your home for many years to come. Apart from its attractive appearance, a slate roof is long-lasting and durable.
In this guide, we give you the approximate costs of laying a new slate roof. We also tell you about repairs and roof renovation. You can learn what goes into laying a slate roof and the types of slate you can choose from.
You’ll also find out how to find a slate roofing installer and the question to ask when you talk about a quote. We compare slate to other roofing materials and answer some common frequently asked questions.
How Much Do Slate Roofs Cost?
The table below shows the estimated cost of a slate roof by roof size, including supply and labour costs, as well as how long the job usually takes:
|Roof Size||Estimated Supply Cost||Labour Costs||Time Required||Total Estimated Cost|
|2 bed terraced house (approximate roof size 55 sqm)||£3,500 to £6,000||£300 to £500 per day||3 to 4 days||£4,400 to £7,500|
|3 bed semi-detached or end terrace house (approximate roof size 70 sqm)||£4,800 to £7,000||£300 to £500 per day||4 to 5 days||£5,700 to £8,500|
|4 bed detached house (approximate roof size 100 sqm)||£6,000 to £10,600||£300 to £500 per day||5 to 7 days||£6,900 to £12,100|
Finding a slate roof specialist is easy if you use HouseholdQuotes. Fill in the online form. Tell us what you need. Then we’ll get local slate roof specialists to give you no-obligation quotes.
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What Impacts the Cost of a Slate Roof?
Roof Repair or Replacement
As you will have seen from the table above, a new roof will cost between £3,500 and £10,600, depending on roof size.
A slate roof repair on the other hand will cost a lot less. For example, replacing 6 damaged Welsh slate tiles will cost approximately £185.00.
You might need a roof restoration rather than a new roof or a roof repair. A roof restoration will involve inspecting the roof for signs of wear or damage, carrying out any necessary tile replacements or repairs and then cleaning the roof to improve its appearance
Roof Size and Shape
Smaller roofs cost less because there’s less labour and fewer tiles to lay.
The shape of your roof also affects the cost. For example, installing slate tiles on a traditional gable or hip roof is relatively straightforward. However, you’ll likely pay more if your roof has dormers or valleys. That’s because fitting slate tiles on these roofs requires more time and skill to ensure a neat finish.
Choice of Slate
Slate tiles come from several different places, including:
- Wales: Welsh slate is extremely popular because of its durability and water-resistant qualities. Welsh slate comes in a distinctive blue and grey colour and will last over 100 years.
- Canada: Canadian slate is a similar colour to Welsh slate, but it also has purple tones in its colouring. It is long-lasting and durable with an approximate lifespan of 75 years.
- Spain: Spanish slate contains quartz. It is strong and durable. But it is only available in black or grey and will last around 75 years.
- Brazil: Brazilian slate comes in blue, green, cyan and purple. It is robust, long-lasting and has a high resistance to damage.
Welsh and Canadian slate tiles are typically more expensive than Spanish or Brazilian slate.
As with most roof repairs, there may be other components that need replacing because they are damaged or worn.
New flashings will cost approximately £25.00 depending on the material you use. You may also need to factor in the costs of new gutters and downpipes. If you need to replace your old flashings with new, then you’ll be looking at between £30.00 and £55.00.
Breathable membranes and vapour barriers are sold per meter squared so the total cost will depend on the size of your roof. The square meter price for breathable membranes is £5.00 including fitting and vapour barriers are £4.00 per square metre.
Roof battens are also sold per meter squared. Again, the amount you buy depends on the size of your roof and whether or not you are carrying out a replacement or a repair. Expect to pay approximately £22 per square metre, supplied and fitted.
Finally, allow an extra £75.00 or so for basics like nails and fixings.
How easy it is to access your property will affect labour charges. If the roofing specialists can’t leave the roofing materials and his equipment close by, the job will take longer. If the roof requires more scaffolding than is normally required, this will cost more too.
You might find that the roofing contractors include scaffolding in your quotation. But if they don’t, it will be up to you to find a company and organise the scaffolding hire.
If you hire scaffolding on a weekly basis, it will cost approximately £675.00 to £900.00 a week. You’ll pay more if you live in London and less if you are in the North of England.
You don’t need a licence to put up scaffolding within your property boundaries. But if any part of the scaffolding is on a public pavement, like the road outside your property, then you must apply for a licence from your local authority.
If rubbish removal isn’t included in your quote, then it might be worth hiring a skip to make life easier. Depending on your location and the size of skip you need, it costs anywhere from £90 to £340 a week to hire a skip in most of the UK, and between £130 to £390 per week in London (not including permits).
What Are the Different Types of Slate Roof Tiles?
The types of slate roof available in the UK are:
Natural slate – Natural slate tiles are distinctive, durable and long-lasting. They don’t fade and they don’t need a lot of maintenance. You can expect a natural slate roof to last for more than 100 years.
The biggest advantage of a natural slate roof is it has extremely low water absorption and therefore it is perfect for homes in the British Isles which has a high annual rainfall.
Man-made slate – Man-made slate is made from synthetic resin and ground down slate. They will be less durable than natural slate, but they are available in a greater variety of colours.
Because the colour isn’t natural though, it will fade over time and you will need to have the roof re-coated. The cost of repainting a roof depends on the size, but a semi-detached property will cost approximately £1,500. Expect to pay more if you live in London.
They are larger than natural slates and therefore take less time to install. They should last 30 years or more.
Fibre cement slate – Fibre cement slates are made from a mixture of fibres and cement. Old tiles made before the year 2000 could contain asbestos, but now, all new tiles comply with current laws and they are asbestos-free.
They are lighter than man-made or natural slate roofs which makes them easier to install. Cement fibre tiles are delivered with a coloured coating. And you can choose a smooth or textured design.
Fibre cement slate has a manufacturer’s guarantee of 30 years, but they can last for double this amount, 60 years or more.
How Can I Save Money on a Slate Roof?
Choose man-made or fibre-cement slate tiles instead of natural slate if you want to save money. Both fibre cement and man-made tiles will last over 30 years (longer if they are well maintained) and are an affordable alternative to natural slate tiles.
When you need a roofing contractor, fill in the form on the HouseholdQuotes website. We’ll have a look at what you need and arrange for specialist roofers to give you no-obligation quotes for a slate roof.
Is Slate the Best Choice for a Roof?
Slate is just one of many different materials that can be used for roofing. The table below lists some of the advantages and disadvantages of slate compared to other roofing materials:
|Slate||· Unique appearance and colour|
· Extremely durable should last for 100 years
|· An expensive option
· Might be too heavy for your roof structure
· Fragile – expect breakages when installing and if something falls on your roof
· Easily replaced
· Fire resistant
· Plenty of choice in styles and colours
|· Heavy so they are hard to install
· Loose colour over time
· Weather may cause cracks and stains
· Lichen and moss growth
· Will break if something falls on to your roof
|Clay||· Long-lasting- 100 years|
· Fire resistant
· Environmentally friendly
· Easy to repair
· Good variety of styles and colours
|· Heavy so difficult to install
· Can move in strong winds
· Fragile – Will break if something falls on your roof
· Easy to install quickly
· Repairs easily
|· 10-15 years duration
· Can become soft in the sun and brittle in the cold
· Must maintain it to keep it looking attractive
|Thatched||· Good insulation|
· Durable – 60 years
· Environmentally friendly
· Gives property character
|· Not fire-resistant or fireproof
· You must maintain the roof and the surrounding area (overhanging trees) to prevent the roof from drying out
· You must clean your chimney regularly
· Your building insurance will be higher than someone with a standard roof
|Zinc||· Long-lasting – Could be centuries|
· Lightweight so easy to install
· Malleable so it can shape around objects
· Virtually maintenance-free
· May lack texture
As you can see, there are differences in the durability of each slate type, as well as their strength and weatherproofing. If you are planning to move home in the future, it might be worth considering a cheaper roofing material.
What’s Involved in Installing a Slate Roof?
Installing a slate roof usually involves the following steps:
- Check the angle or the pitch of the roof to find the size of the overlap.
- When you know the size of your pitch, check the tile manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you have the right size slates.
- If you have above-average wind or rain where you live, you will probably need a bigger overlap.
- If the roof is new or it has been stripped make sure the rafters don’t have any nails or other pieces sticking out of the wood. This is so the breathable membrane won’t get damaged.
- Roll out the breathable membrane, pull taught and secure with nails.
- Next put the first batten and tile in place to calculate the number of battens you’ll need by the gauge and the rows.
- Place the battens from the top to the bottom of the roof with the correct amount of space in between.
- Lay the first row of tiles creating the overlap.
- Next start to lay the slates. Roofers sometimes place the first row of tiles vertically from the bottom of the roof to the top. They then work horizontally across the roof to avoid walking on the newly-laid tiles.
- The tiles are secured in place with nails or fasteners. These can be made from aluminium, stainless steel, copper, or galvanised steel.
How Do I Find and Hire a Roofer?
When you need a new roof firstly ask friends and family or even work colleagues. Have a look around the area where you live. Is someone having a roof renewed? If they are, you can ask the owner whether they recommend the company.
If you don’t find any personal recommendations, HouseholdQuotes can help you. Simply fill in the online form and we’ll find local roofing contractors to give you no-obligation quotes.
Our recommendations may be members of the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA) or the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC). These are both well-established trade associations. Their members all meet the criteria set out by each association, and they expect high standards.
What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring a Roofer?
Always write down the questions you want to ask a roofing contractor. That way you won’t forget anything important that you want to be included in your quote. Common questions to ask a contractor are:
- What experience do you have installing slate roofing?
- Do you have a website where I can look at your past projects?
- If you don’t have a website, do you have a portfolio with photographs of work you’ve completed in the past?
- Do you have references or testimonials from your previous customers?
- Are you a member of SPRA or NFRC?
- Do you organise the scaffolding and is the cost included in my quotation?
- Do you organise any rubbish removal?
- Have you got public liability insurance? (This is important because if someone has an accident on your land because of the roof repair, they could take you to court. The roofer’s insurance will cover you against these claims.
Finally, make sure you get a written quote and that it includes everything you want the contractor to do.
- Decide if you need a repair or restoration or a new roof
- Choose your tiling type if you are having a new roof.
- Get your quotations – don’t forget HouseholdQuotes can help you find a roofing specialist.
- Pick your roofing contractor and arrange a start date
- Organise the scaffolding if necessary.
- Organise rubbish disposal or skip hire.
A slate roof is a worthwhile investment, especially if you intend to stay in your home for many years. It’s a durable, long-lasting and attractive material that will improve the appearance of your property.
Don’t forget HouseholdQuotes will help you find roofing contractors in your area to give you no-obligation quotes. All you need to do is fill out the online form, tell us what you need.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need Planning Permission for a Slate Roof?
The regulations state your roof needs:
- To be strong enough to support the weight of a new roof
- To be structurally sound
- The draining and ventilation must comply with building regulation standards
- The roof must be fire-resistant
- Have sufficient weatherproofing
- Have adequate insulation – If your old insulation doesn’t comply with current regulations then you will have to bring the insulation up to date
The current regulations for roof insulation state that there must be a minimum of 270mm of insulation material.
How Long Should a Slate Roof Last?
The longevity of your slate roof could be affected by different factors such as:
- The roof’s slope – The higher the pitch, the longer the life expectancy
- The colour – Darker colours absorb sunlight which affect sthe roof’s lifespan
- The orientation – If you have a south-facing roof it will get more sunlight which can lessen the roof’s lifespan
- The installation – If the roof wasn’t installed correctly, it will to problems like roof leaks and cracked tiles
- Ventilation – Poor ventilation will damage tiles and lead to damp in your home
How Do I Maintain a Slate Roof?
When all the moss has been removed the roofing contractor will apply disinfectant to kill any remaining mould spores.
If you don’t have natural slate, you can coat your tiles with a transparent coating to protect the tiles from moss growth. If the colour has faded, you can use a coloured coating instead.
Roof cleaning will cost between £25.00 and £45.00 per square metre.
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