Synthetic Slate Roofing: Everything You Need to Know

Sep 17, 2023


Viking Contractors




September 17, 2023


May 10, 2024

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Once upon a time, only natural slate roofing materials were available—and they were quite expensive, heavy, and tedious to work with. 

But not anymore. With the advent of synthetic slate roof tiles, roofing has become even better and easier. Plus, they’re less expensive!

Here at Viking Contractors, over the years of working on commercial projects, we have personally seen the wonders of these new roofing materials. If a roofing project is on your horizon, this article is for you! Read on to discover more about the pros and cons of using synthetic slate roofing. 


What is Synthetic Slate Roofing?

A good alternative to natural or authentic slate roofs, synthetic slates are designed to look like natural slate tiles at a more affordable price tag. 

These slate shingles can be made of different materials, including plastics, rubber, asphalt, steel, etc. Many manufacturers also use recycled materials to produce these slate roofs. These materials tend to be more durable and long-lasting. They are even available in various styles and designs that are suitable for almost every home.


Synthetic Slate Roofing Vs. Natural Slate Roofing

Synthetic Slate Roofing Vs. Natural Slate Roofing

Now, while natural and synthetic slate shingles may look the same, they have significant differences that distinguish one from the other. Here are some of the differences between both roofing types:


First, a traditional slate weighs more than a synthetic one, so homeowners who want to use a natural slate roof must ensure their homes are framed or built to withstand the roof’s weight. This isn’t the case with synthetic slates, which don’t weigh so much.


Next, it’s important to know that installing slate roofs is generally expensive, but buying and installing synthetic shingles may cost you less than natural shingles. For example, while a real slate might cost about $22-$43 per square foot for materials and labor, you may only spend about $9-$12 for synthetic slate roofs.


Overall, slate roofs are long-lasting, but as to which type is more durable is still up for debate. Some people believe synthetic slates last longer, as they are expected to last up to 100 years. On the other hand, some believe natural shingles last longer.

While waiting for a consensus, it is safe to assume that a properly installed roof will last you a very long time. 


In terms of roof warranty, you’re entitled to two kinds—one from the roofing material manufacturer and the other from the roofing contractor. Typically, you get a lifetime limited material warranty on a synthetic slate roof, although the manufacturer will determine the time frame.

On the other hand, you only get one warranty on natural slate tiles from the contractor because the material is naturally made.


Pros of Synthetic Slate Roofing

Craftsmen are installing a slate roof home.Professional roof workers repairing roof t.Working on rooftop.

When it comes to advantages, synthetic slate roofs are great for the following reasons:

  • Durable: For starters, synthetic slate roofs are highly durable. Unlike natural slate roofs, these roofing materials are designed to resist the heat of the sun and other harsh weather conditions. This protects the roof from early wear and tear and increases its lifespan.
  • Affordable: Next, synthetic roofing materials are easier to install and less heavy than their natural counterparts. This makes them less expensive and easily accessible.
  • Highly-Resistant: Also, the modern technology of synthetic slate tiles makes them highly resistant to impact, fire, and storm damage.
  • Easy installation process: Synthetic slate roofs are also less technical to install, which is why more roofing companies are specializing in synthetic slate roof installation. As a homeowner, this is great news for you!
  • Eco-Friendly: Finally, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, synthetic shingles are an environmentally friendly alternative to natural slate roofs, as they are usually made of recycled material. Keep this in mind if you want to reduce your environmental impact and make more sustainable choices.


Cons of Synthetic Slate Roofing

However, as great as synthetic slate shingles are, they are not perfect. Here are some of their disadvantages:

  • Easily prone to damage: First, you need to know that synthetic materials, such as plastics and rubbers, can crack and curl over time, allowing water to seep into attics and cause roof damage
  • No general material or appearance: In addition, because synthetic slate roofs come in a variety of designs and styles, you need to be careful in choosing the right materials for your home. The quality of these materials—as well as the reputation of your contractor—will make a huge difference in how your new roof will look.



What’s the Cost of a Synthetic Slate Roof?

The cost of a synthetic slate roof depends on two main factors: the materials and the installation. 

There is no specific cost for materials, as it would vary depending on the brand, style, and thickness of the shingles you choose. Aside from materials, also consider the cost of installation, which would depend on the cost of labor in your area as well as the size and complexity of the roof job.

In general, though, you can expect to pay $9-$12 per square foot for synthetic roofing shingles and $22-$43 for natural ones. 

Can I Install Synthetic Slate Roofs?

While synthetic slate shingles are easy to install, we do not advise turning your roof installation into a DIY project. Instead, it’s better to leave the job for roofing contractors as they have the experience and expertise to ensure a proper installation.



In conclusion, synthetic slate shingles are here to stay—and for good reason. They are durable, affordable, and look great on any home! Whether you’re looking to get a new roof or replace your current one, please contact us. We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you choose the right roofing for your home.

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