If you’re in the market for a new roof, you are looking for something beautiful, durable, and worth your investment. Slate roofing can provide superior durability and add a distinctive touch of timeless beauty to your home. Synthetic slate, however, provides many of the same benefits at a more budget-friendly price point.

If you’re considering a slate or synthetic slate roof, you are in the right place. Abrams Roofing & Sheet Metal in Louisville, KY is here to teach you all about those options and how to choose the right type of slate roofing for your home.

Understanding the Advantages and Disadvantages of Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is nothing new. It has been a popular choice in the roofing industry for a very long time. Slate has been highly acclaimed in Louisville, KY for its remarkable longevity, unmatched by other materials.

However, only recently has slate roofing been recapturing the attention of homeowners in Louisville, KY with its beauty. With any type of roofing materials, there are pros and cons to aesthetics, longevity, durability, maintenance, etc. Today, we’ll break down both sides and explore both the advantages and disadvantages.

There are numerous benefits to installing a real slate roof on your Louisville, KY home.

Advantages of Slate Roofing

Aesthetic Appeal

No question, slate roofs are beautiful. Slate complements any type of architectural style, in a variety of natural slate colors and textures. Slate also gives a beautiful look because it is often shaped by hand and so it has a uniquely custom look.


There is no other roofing material in Louisville, KY that will ever last as long as a slate roof. With a lifetime of over 100 years, you never have to worry about replacing your roof…probably ever. Not only does it remain durable, but it maintains its appearance over time so you don’t have to worry about it looking old and worn.


Natural stone will always be more durable than any man-made material. Slate is naturally waterproof, non-combustible, resistant to any temperature fluctuations and impenetrable by fungus or mold.

Low Maintenance

Once your slate roof is installed, you don’t have to worry about it again. The natural durability of slate makes it essentially maintenance free. Once installed, all you need is peace of mind.

High Resale Home Value

Because slate holds such an incredible lifetime value, it can add significantly to the value of your home. Homes in Louisville, KY with slate roofs tend to sell quickly because homeowners want the reliability of never having to make roofing repairs or replace the roof in a few years.

Environmentally – Friendly

Roofing waste contributes to 5 percent of all construction waste that fills up the landfill. By choosing slate, you eliminate the need for a roof replacement every 10-20 years, which completely eliminates roofing waste.

Disadvantages of Slate Roofing


High cost is one of the factors that deters many homeowners from slate roofing. Generally, you will pay between $10-$25 per square foot for slate roof materials and installation in Louisville, KY. This depends on the location, materials, and difficulty of the roof angle. Synthetic slate is significantly less expensive, making it a popular choice for those looking for a slate roof but concerned about the price.

Fragility and Replacement Issues

While slate is a very durable and heavy material on the roof, it can be broken if it’s stepped on. This is important when installing slate, because you can’t step on it once it’s installed. If you get a broken tile somehow, it can be a complicated process to replace it because it is nearly impossible to find replacement tiles that are a perfect match.

When stepped on, real slate roof tiles can crack and break.

Complex Installation

Not all roofing companies have the expertise required to install a slate roof. Installing a slate roof is a specialized system and requires proper training. Installation requires precision cutting and nailing of each individual shingle that chip and crack easily. This is part of what contributes to the high cost of slate roofs. If a slate roof is not properly installed, it could easily become the cause of some major roof problems. Only hire an experienced roofing contractor in Louisville, KY who specializes in slate roofing.

Heavy Weight

Because slate is a natural stone, it is naturally very heavy. The average slate roof weighs in between 800 – 1,500 pounds per square (100 square feet). In order to install a slate roof, your home must have the structural support necessary, which sometimes requires additional reinforcement.  However, if the heavy weight of slate roofing is something that raises concern, but you’re still set on this type of roofing material, then synthetic slate roofing may be the best option.

Exploring the Benefits of Synthetic Slate Roofing

Synthetic slate roofing is a great alternative to traditional slate roofing. This material is a modern improvement on a construction classic.

Made from combinations of plastic and rubber, synthetic slate is designed to mirror the beauty and uniqueness of authentic slate without the expense or installation headaches. And synthetic slate shingles last longer.

Synthetic slate also weighs a fraction of what a real slate roof weighs, and for this reason alone, many homeowners choose synthetic slate over the real deal.

Other than the weight of the material, synthetic slate offers many other benefits as well.

Synthetic slate tiles are much cheaper than real slate roof tiles.

The benefits of synthetic slate roofing include:


Synthetic slate is considered a “green” building alternative. This is because all synthetic slate and installation materials can be recycled.


Sometimes synthetic slate shingles may be even more durable than authentic slate, because they have been treated with advanced ultraviolet inhibitors to reduce wear from the sun.


Most synthetic slate roofs are certified for the highest level of impact resistance and fire resistance for roofing materials. This means they’re effective against severe exposure to external fires, are not readily flammable and do not spread fire.


While traditional slate is the heaviest roofing material, synthetic slate is one of the lightest. In fact, synthetic slate shingles are lighter than all asphalt shingles and are only a quarter the weight of authentic slate shingles. This means there is no need for additional structural support, which is good news for most residential roof construction.

Easier Installation

Compared to traditional roofing, synthetic slate is easier and less expensive to install than other roofing materials. During installation, synthetic slate shingles use more traditional tools and don’t require the specialized training necessary for authentic slate installation,

Saves Money

Synthetic slate is a fraction of the cost of traditional slate roofing, creating significant savings on your project budget.

Now, it wouldn’t be fair of us to not give you both sides of the story. There are still drawbacks to synthetic slate, and it’s our job to inform you of these, too.

Disadvantages of Synthetic Slate

It’s New

One of biggest disadvantages of artificial slate products is that they are all fairly new. Anytime you’re using new technology, it’s unsure how it will last over time. Synthetic slate has undergone extensive testing and uses cutting-edge technology in the manufacturing process, but there is no long-term real life data to pull from.

Manufacturer’s Vary

It’s important to consider the manufacturer of the materials. Each manufacturer uses their own formulation of materials so different brand products will have distinct features, longevity, durability, fire ratings, etc. Some of the top brands in synthetic slate include CertainTeed, TAMKO steel, and Davinci Roofscapes.

Durability Questions

Synthetic slate is made from rubber and plastic. Some have concerns about curling, cracking and disintegrating, especially in harsher climates. The flexibility of rubber and plastic means curling and cracking could occur.

Synthetic roof tiles are made of plastic and rubber which may curl or bend in hot Louisville, KY weather.

How to Choose The Right Material for Your Home

So, synthetic slate or real slate? Both share some similarities yet have differences that define them as unique construction materials. We’ve given you the pros and cons of each, and ultimately the decision is yours, but here are some final takeaways from the experts at Abrams Roofing.

  • Consider your needs, and how long you intend to keep your house.
  • Think about your style preferences.
  • What is your budget?
  • What type of care and maintenance are you willing to give your roof?

In short, no material is truly superior, they can both provide a valuable roofing product that fits your project budget.

Working with a Local Roofing Expert

Abrams Roofing & Sheet Metal has been serving customers in and around the Louisville, KY area since 1959. With over 60 years of experience and expertise in our tool belts, it’s safe to say there’s no roof we can’t install. If you’re still debating on synthetic slate roofing and traditional slate roofing, give us a call today for more information. We’d be happy to provide you with a free estimate as well. Just get in touch with our team to get started.