Unless you have existing roofing skills, you should hire someone to install your natural slate roof.

Today, slate roofs are primarily chosen for their aesthetics, but they were once one of the most durable options for finishing a home. You may find that your home is more attractive to buyers and to your neighbors after you install a natural slate roof.

Natural slate materials come with higher roofing prices, so you should be informed about the installation process before you hire a team of contractors to handle the job.


There are certain characteristics of natural stone that make it tricky to install as residential roofing. The roof deck must be properly prepared before any of the workers can install slate tiles. The structure must slope by at least four inches for each foot of run. A pitch of at least six inches of rise over each foot of run is a better option to protect the roof deck.

Thick and durable decking materials should be used. If the workers install slate roofing properly, the entire roof could last over one hundred years with only the occasional roof repair project.

Underlayment is not required when slate is properly installed. If you are trying to cut your roofing cost, you may be able to go without it if your roof has enough of a slope. However, some companies will not offer a long roofing warranty for slate tiles that are installed without their recommended underlayment. Check with the manufacturer to find out the specific details for each product.

Each slate piece must overlap other tiles by a certain amount on the top as well as on both sides. Failing to overlap the tiles enough will allow water to penetrate the space between them, leading to rot and expensive roof repair. The amount of overlap depends on the size and shape of the shingle. Manufacturers provide clear instructions to installers on how many inches of coverage are required.

Workers must be careful when walking on the roof and handling the tiles because they are relatively easy to break.

slate roffing

Nailing issues can also cause slate roofs to fail earlier than they would otherwise. Each nail must be set so that the slate is suspended on its own. If the nail is hammered down until the head is flush with the surface, cracks and chips appear in the stone. Nails that are left too high interfere with the next row of tiles. Careful nailing prevents waste and ensures that the shingles remain intact and are able to shed water.

Flashing is the final touch on any slate roof. Proper attention to detail during this part of the installation process will ensure that the edges where slate tiles meet don't turn into serious roof leaks. Metal flashing is most commonly used, with lead, copper and steel being the ideal materials.

If you are ready to hire a team to install natural slate roof materials, start your search with QualitySmith. We can help you request a custom roofing estimate from any of the experienced roofing contractors in your area.