Category: Construction Material

How to Install a Slate Roof – Part 1

As one of the oldest and the most popular choice for roofing, slates are certainly a durable and beautiful option for your home. However, they can be quite a project to install, especially for first-timers. We have compiled a comprehensive 2-part guide on slate roof installation. The first part includes all the information that you will require before you get started on a slate roof installation project.

Slate Roof
Slate Roof

Step 1 – Roof Construction

Before beginning any roof tiling project, it is necessary to check the readiness of the base roof. Specifically speaking, the roof should have at least a slope in the ratio of 4:12. In other words, 12 inches of run, for every 4 inches of rising. Also, steeper roofs tend to be more durable and last longer. Unlike an asphalt shingle roof, walking on a slate roof will usually damage it and break tiles. One easy way to limit the chances of this is to have a roof steep enough that you can’t walk on it. Of course, that works if you are designing and building a new house. But if you have an existing house, you obviously will just work with what you have unless you want to go to the expense of changing the roof on the house. That is not a choice that most people would make.

Other than this, it is a good idea to ensure that all the elements of a house and in particular, pertaining to the roof slating project are designed to last for at least 150 years since that is how long slates can last. Most importantly, steer clear of any glued or laminated roof decking products like plywood and OSB (Oriented Strand Board) since they will not be as durable. It should be ¾ inch to one inch thick boards and fasteners that will last that long.

Step 2 – Slate Selection

Once the roof base is ready as per step 1, it is time to head out and select the most appropriate slate. Slates come in different colors, thickness, size, quality, type, as well as cost. Above all else, you do not want to end up with a slate that requires frequent replacements.

The best criteria should be to select slates that are durable, easy to work with, and make your roof look elegant. You can always take a professional opinion while you are selecting slates. It is a good idea to see a few slate samples before you finalize one. It is essential to avoid buying slates without physically seeing them first so that you can be sure of their quality.

Step 3 – Preparation

The roof is ready, the slates have been delivered and you are all set to begin. However, before you begin, you must prepare yourself in the best way to complete the project. There is enough and more information available on the internet, not to mention some professional-grade tutorials to get you started. Read as much as you can, especially to gain clarity on do’s & don’ts. Find out what are the common mistakes in a roof slating project and make sure that you are equipped to avoid them. Once you are satisfied that you have gone through and understood every aspect of a roof slate installation you can proceed to the next step.

Step 4 – Tools

Gather all the relevant tools so that you are not faced with any unnecessary delays due to a lack of appropriate equipment. Some of the basic tools that you will need are slate ripper, slate cutter, as well as a slate installer. Go through ample video tutorials to gain a comfort level with all of these tools.

Stage one of the slate roof installation project is over. You can now refer to our guide for the 2nd and final stage for successful execution.

Commercial Roofing

A roof, as we all know, is the structure that covers and protects a building from the top. It forms an essential part of any building, be it residential, commercial or industrial. The term “Commercial Roofing” covers all aspects of roofing for a commercial building. This ranges from selection of a roofing system to its installation and maintenance.

How is Commercial Roofing different from Residential Roofing?

Despite a few basic similarities, commercial and residential roofing are actually two very different industries owing to the following factors:

  • Commercial and residential roofs are architecturally and design-wise dissimilar. For example, most commercial roofs are flat or near flat while residential roofs generally tend to be sloped.
  • Commercial structures are invariably much larger than residential ones.
  • Due to their larger size and more complex construction requirements, installation of commercial roofs is more expensive and time-consuming vis-à-vis residential roofs.
  • Since the variety of materials and roofing systems available for the commercial sector far exceed the corresponding options for residential roofing.
  • Commercial roofs require more frequent routine maintenance.

Important Considerations for a Commercial Roof

Selecting the most appropriate commercial roof is a significant decision in the overall planning of building construction. Below are some points that must be evaluated to arrive at the right roofing decision:

Weather and Locale: Weather and location specific conditions such as sunlight, wind speeds, rainfall and snowfall must be taken into account during designing of the roof and selecting the roofing material.

Purpose of the Building: The intended commercial use of the building may go a long way in deciding what top qualities to look for in the roofing system e.g. seepage-free material, strong insulation, acoustical strength, aesthetic value, ease of access, etc.

Durability: While factors like weather conditions, proper installation and efficient maintenance play a role in how long a roofing system lasts, the natural age of different roofing materials can vary between 10 and 50 years. Some materials are more maintenance-heavy than others. Consider carefully as to what suits your needs in an optimal way.

Budget: Nobody wants to over-spend but a roofing budget needs to be long-term and practical. Its better to invest more upfront for a durable roof with low ongoing maintenance costs.

Some Popular Commercial Roofing Systems

As mentioned before, there are a large variety of commercial roofing systems available on the market. Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular:

EPDM Roofs: Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer is a lightweight and durable rubber membrane-based roofing solution. Its known to be easy to install and maintain.

TPO Roofs: One of the most in-demand commercial roofing systems, Thermoplastic Polyolefins roofs can withstand extreme temperature fluctuation. It is also amongst the best fire-resistant products available on the market.

BUR: One of the oldest and most preferred systems for flat roofs, Built-Up Roofing uses layers of insulating and strengthening materials topped with gravel or stone. BUR is fire-resistant and generally low maintenance.


Careful and meticulous planning is paramount for successful installation of a commercial roof. Last but not the least, choosing an experienced and reputed roofing company with skilled manpower is also of significant importance.

Pros and Cons of Roofing Tiles

Roofing tiles have been used for hundreds of years across the world. The traditional tiles are made of fired clay or slate. A more recent innovation is to make the tiles from concrete. You can now buy tiles made with either concrete or clay. These tiles are known for their durability. They can last up to 100 years. The tiles come in several shapes and designs, including interlocking, flat, curved and fluted. These tiles are popular, especially in certain parts of the country like the Southwest. Before choosing to use them it’s important to understand their advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros of Tile Roofing

Regardless of whether you choose clay or concrete tiles, there are numerous benefits you can get from the roofing tiles.


Roofing tiles will last for over 100 years on your roof. Natural disasters can affect that of course, such as a tree falling on the house or tearing down the house or an earthquake or tornado. Concrete and clay withstand high winds, hail and even fire. The moment you install the roofing tile you will never change your roofing again in your lifetime.

Wide Variety 

You can choose clay, slate or concrete tiles. All of them offer the same performance. Every category of tiles also comes in different colors.

Resistant to Insect Damage and Rot

Concrete, clay, and slate do not rot or rust. They also do not corrode. In addition, no insect or pest can destroy these tiles.


You can recycle the tiles easily because the tiles are made of a natural material. They also have no effect on the environment when discarded.

Heat Resistant

These tiles do not allow heat or cold in or out of the house. They are resistant to any level of temperatures.

Cons of Tile Roofing

High cost. 

Roofing tiles cost up to three times the cost of asphalt. The cost of other roofing materials used together with the tiles is also very high. The cost of repair in case of any damage is also very high.

Difficult installation. 

You need professionals with extensive experience to help in the roofing of your house. They will install the interlocking portions carefully to ensure they don’t come out. When done in a wrong way there is a great risk of the whole building coming down.

Heavy weight. 

The overall weight of the tile roof is too high. This, therefore, requires a very strong house with strong pillars to support the roof weight. The heavyweight requires more roofing timbers or metals which in turn increases the cost of the tiles.


These tiles can break easily when they suffer a strong impact such as falling objects on your roof. Walking on the roof it’s also risky. You can break the tiles. This increases the cost of repair and maintenance of your roof. 

When building your house have a budget that is inclusive of the roofing. Have a budget that you can finance or source finances easily. It’s not wise to start finish construction and you cannot manage to fix the best roof for your house. Consult widely when you are coming up with your building budget.

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