2023 Synthetic Slate Roofing Costs And Installation

Typical Price Range To Install a new Roof
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When you want to install a new roof, slate roofing is an alluring option. The big question to ask yourself is, why use natural slate when synthetic slate roofing alternative has so many advantages?

For a midrange roofing option, synthetic slate roofing cost gives it a great ROI.

To get started on your roof replacement, contact your local roofing pros for FREE ESTIMATES!

What Is A Synthetic Slate Roof?

When it comes to appearance and style, synthetic slate roofing looks almost identical to traditional slate roofing. Manufacturers do a good job of offering enough variety for homeowners to use synthetic slate on any home design, be it modern, contemporary, French Colonial, etc.

The big difference between synthetic slate roofing and authentic slate roofing is the materials used. Synthetic alternatives are often made of rubber and plastic composites.

Each synthetic slate roofing tile is individually molded with ridges to resemble authentic slate. Of course, other materials can also be used, like steel and asphalt. However, these are expensive options, and won’t always look close enough to the real thing.

Top Features Of Synthetic Slate

There are a couple key aspects of synthetic slate roofing that makes perfect sense when using it for new construction and remodeling roofing projects.

Affordable Installation and Material Costs

It’s worth pointing out that any type of slate roofing costs more than other popular alternatives. While highly desirable by many homeowners, most aren’t likely to make this investment.

With that in mind, synthetic slate roofing costs less than all the other slating roof systems. Synthetic slate roofing installation costs can start as low as $9.50 per square foot, but may go well over $18 per square foot based on a number of considerations.

Average Roof Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $4,190 - $5,740 (For a 1600 sq. ft. Roof)
Low End
High End

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Lightweight Slate

A roof designed for slate tiles can generally handle a lot of weight. But that doesn’t mean you should risk overloading it or getting close to the limit.

Synthetic slate roofing pretty much eliminates the risk of a cave-in due to its lighter weight compared to many other roof types.

In addition, going the synthetic route tends to ensure you won’t need to retrofit your roof and reinforce it to support heavy weight.

This is one reason why synthetic slate roofing can reduce the overall remodeling costs considerably.

Warranty Options

Synthetic slates are manufactured. Therefore, they typically come with two warranties. One will be for the materials used, and the other is an installation or workmanship warranty.

While the synthetic slate lengths can vary between manufacturers and roofing installers, you can get coverage that lasts years or even for the lifetime of the synthetic slate materials.


A synthetic slate roof’s durability and longevity will differ based on various factors. The materials directly influence performance, quality, and lifespan.

But the installation, roof system complexity, environmental conditions, and other factors will either add or subtract years to the expected service life of synthetic slate roofing.

In general, most synthetic slate roofs can last up to 50 years, even when made from plastic polymers, rubber, and other recycled materials.

The synthetic slate installation is a vital variable. You want the best synthetic slate roofing installers to do the job and ensure maximum longevity. Any inconsistencies with the synthetic slate tiles’ spacing, angles, and mounting can affect the roof’s weather resistance and accelerate the wear rate.

Great Availability

Although synthetic slate roofing has only been around for two or three decades, synthetic tiles are widely available all over the world. You can also find them ready-made for specific environments and weather conditions.

Did you know? Slate is one of the oldest forms of roofing in the world still in use today. Although it’s not as sought-after by most homeowners, it’s been making a strong comeback since the introduction of this material.

Synthetic slate roofing tiles similar to what you can find today were sold as early as 1996 in the US, though it took a while before synthetic slate roofing was seen as a good alternative.

Environmentally Friendly Roofing

The majority of synthetic slate roofing tiles are manufactured from recycled plastic, cellulose fibers, rubber, and mineral dust. Most companies that synthetic slate opt to use post-industrial waste.

This can have several environmental benefits, such as reducing landfills, transportation carbon footprints, and increasing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications.

Furthermore, synthetic slate roofing tiles are recyclable themselves. Therefore, the synthetic slate tiles can be reused for other roofing applications with minimal material waste.

Problems With Synthetic Slate Roofs

The main disadvantages of using synthetic slate roofing tiles are due to its price, inconsistent fire ratings, and manufacturers using unknown materials.

More Expensive Than Other Roofing Options

Slate roofing can offer amazing curb appeal and complement almost any architectural style if the roofing framework can support it. Synthetic slate materials are cheaper than the real McCoy, but slate roofing remains one of the more expensive roofing styles.

Typical Price Range To Install A New Roof Average: $4,190 - $6,740
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Inconsistent Fire Ratings

Many synthetic roofing manufacturers will boast about having a Class A fire rating for their synthetic titles. However, not all the synthetic tiles are fire-resistant. You can find plenty of synthetic slate roofing tiles with Class B and Class C fire ratings because there’s nothing inherently fireproof about them.

It’s up to the manufacturer to use a fire retardant formula or add materials to raise the fire rating of their synthetic slate roofing tiles. Of course, if you want an inflammable roof, it will cost extra. In comparison, asphalt roofing and steel roofing may not look as pretty, but are almost always fireproof by default.

What Are Synthetic Slate Roof Tiles Made Of?

Despite many synthetic slate roofing tiles being marketed as environmentally friendly and made from recyclable materials, some manufacturers do not disclose the slate’s composition. Many synthetic slate roofing tiles are manufactured using proprietary formulas and processes.

While this is a minor concern, it may rub some homeowners or contractors the wrong way if they don’t know exactly what the synthetic slate roofing tiles are made of.

Homeowner Reviews

Customers that opted to install synthetic slate roofing are generally pleased with two aspects. The style variety and visual similarity to the genuine article is most welcome. Additionally, the synthetic slate roofing cost is more affordable in both materials and installation fees.

However, remember that synthetic slate roofing has been around for a relatively short time. In fact, most synthetic roofing have not yet been installed for the full advertised 40- to 50-year lifespan.

Some homeowners say that synthetic slate roofing tiles look a bit worn out after about 10 years, with discoloration and fading being real concerns. People even mention that curling and cracking are common. This could be due to improper installation techniques or lower product quality.

But like any other newer roofing type, it’s normal to have split reviews and feedback when there hasn’t been enough long-term testing or sufficient innovation.

Synthetic Slate vs. Natural Slate Roofing

How does synthetic slate roofing compare with natural slate? It’s a definite winner in some respects, and falls behind considerably in others.

Pricing Comparison

A synthetic slate roofing installation can cost you between $9.50 and $18 per square foot. While that’s more costly compared to other roof types, it’s way cheaper than natural slate roofing.

Average Roof Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $4,190 - $5,740 (For a 1600 sq. ft. Roof)
Low End
High End

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Synthetic slate roof installers tend to charge at least $20 per square foot and can often exceed the $40 mark. This makes synthetic slate roofing arguably midrange-priced, whereas authentic slate has a premium price tag.

Slate Type Installation Cost per Square Foot Installation Cost per 100 Square Feet
Synthetic Slate $9.50-$18 $950-$1,800
Natural Slate $20-$40+ $2,000-$4,000

But the synthetic slate roofing installation costs aren’t the only difference. The materials are also cheaper for synthetic slate. Recycled materials tend to be less expensive in many industries, with roofing making no exception. Natural slate roofing is pricier because it incurs higher processing and manufacturing costs.

Did you know? Slate is a type of rock with many applications, including roofing. Slate roof tiles are either sawn or split from larger pieces mined in quarries. Slate tile manufacturers make tiles of even thickness and various sizes and finishes.

But to give them their well-known textured finish, the tiles are torched and submerged in freezing water. This removes many irregularities and saw marks.

Durability Comparison

Synthetic slate roofing tiles can be quite strong, even if they’re made of plastic polymers. It all comes down to the manufacturing process. But that doesn’t mean it’s close to matching natural slate roofing in terms of strength, weather resistance, and longevity.

Authentic slate roofing lasts at least 50 years and with good maintenance, may last up to 100 years. There isn’t enough research or evidence to support synthetic slate roofing exceeding the five-decade mark.

In addition, natural slate roofing doesn’t chip as easily. It’s also less likely to curl and bend compared to plastic and rubber composite alternatives.

Installation Comparison

Learning that the installation costs for synthetic slate roofing tiles are lower might be a big incentive for some homeowners. But why is synthetic slate roofing cheaper to install? It comes down to expertise and difficulty.

Authentic slate roofing installers are dedicated professionals with years of experience working with authentic slate roofing tiles. They can charge extra for their expertise because it’s mandatory for authentic slate tile installation.

Synthetic slate roofing doesn’t require the same level of expertise, hence the cheaper costs. Additionally, working with synthetic slate materials is easier thanks to the lower weight.

Using authentic slate roofing can incur additional installation and renovation costs. Its heavy weight might be unsuitable for some roof structure.

To support the weight, homeowners may have to sign off on additional structural reinforcement work. This can add up to thousands of dollars, especially if the roof wasn’t initially designed for slate roofing tiles.

Typical Price Range To Install A New Roof Average: $4,190 - $6,740
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Warranty Comparison

This is another aspect where real and synthetic slate roofing differ a lot. Authentic slate roofing tiles don’t carry manufacturer warranties. They’re mostly natural, and only come with workmanship warranties.

As you might expect, this doesn’t do a lot to bring peace of mind to homeowners because they have to trust that the tiles are in good condition. Unless you’re a contractor, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to tell the difference between brand-new and old, used slate tiles.

Synthetic slate roofing tiles are a different story. Many of them come with limited lifetime material warranties issued by the manufacturer based on the various materials used to make the tiles.

They can be accompanied by workmanship warranties too, even though that’s not a guarantee. It depends on the installer you find and whether they want to offer a warranty or not.

Aesthetic Appeal

When people think about authentic slate roofing, they think about a natural look. The roof has a textured and often uneven style but can handle UV rays and harsh weather exceptionally well, especially when maintained correctly.

But what about synthetic slate roofing? Can it compare and provide more curb appeal, offer protection, and increase the value of a home? The answer is a resounding yes.

One of the best things about synthetic slate roofing is how closely it can resemble authentic slate. At least from a distance, it’s hard to tell the difference between genuine and faux slate roofing tiles. This is for the same reason that some composite roofing styles can mimic wood so well. The aesthetics depend on the manufacturer’s skill and desire to make something with an authentic vibe.

Even better, synthetic slate roofing isn’t limited to natural colors, textures, and finishes. Synthetic slate roofing tiles can be made from a wide range of materials.

Therefore, there are no real limitations regarding styles and designs. You can use synthetic slate roofing with any architectural style, as long as the roof supports slate tiling.

Did you know? Some synthetic slate manufacturers argue that synthetic roofing tiles and shingles are more durable than their natural counterparts.

This is because synthetic roofing tiles can be made with extra ultraviolet inhibitors. This should minimize and slow down wear and fading. However, it may take a few more decades of actual use and testing to determine the accuracy of these statements.

Synthetic vs. Natural Slate Roofing – Who Wins?

Although synthetic slate roofing has only been around for 20 to 30 years, it’s gaining massive popularity among homeowners and contractors. The aesthetics are highly desirable, and the roofing style is ideal for areas with heavy rain and snow.

Average Roof Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $4,190 - $5,740 (For a 1600 sq. ft. Roof)
Low End
High End

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

But each type of slate is the king of its own niche. For example, authentic slate roofing is the absolute winner when it comes to long-lasting, fireproof, all-weather roofing systems.

With a century or more of service life, natural fireproofing, and exceptional durability, very few roofing systems come close to authentic, natural slate roofing.

Synthetic slate roofing, however, definitely wins the pricing and variety debates. If you want slate, synthetic roofing tiles can be three times cheaper to install on your home.

They’re made from many different materials, which allows for design variety and multiple color choices. In addition, the lower weight can eliminate the need to reinforce or modify the roof to support slate tiles.

What Is The Best Slate Roofing?

Although Italy produces some of the most popular roofing slate tiles, Welsh slate is often referred to as the best natural roofing slate. It easily lasts over 100 years and has very interesting blue-gray and purple colors.

Will Fiber Cement Slate Last Long?

If you’re opting for synthetic or faux slate roofing, fiber cement is a reliable option.

It’s cheaper than natural slate roofing, and arguably more durable than plastic polymers. It can also last up to 60 years, although you may not get such an extended warranty.

Can You Walk On Synthetic Slate Roof?

While you theoretically can walk on a synthetic slate roof, most manufacturers and installers advise against it. It’s easier to slip, and synthetic slate roofing made from plastic and rubber is softer than authentic slate. Thus, your body weight can damage the synthetic slate roofing tiles.

Where Can You Find Synthetic Slate Roofing?

Many companies offer polymer, rubber, fiber cement, and even metal slate roofing. Notable names in the industry include Brava Roof Tile, Authentic Roof, Polysand, DaVinci Roofscapes, Euroshield, and Ecostar.

Is Slate Cheaper Than Shingles?

No. Whether you’re talking about real or synthetic slate roofing, slate roofing tiles are almost always more expensive than shingle roofing alternatives in both installation and material costs.

Asphalt shingles can be as cheap as $1 compared to a top end of $15 for natural slate for one square foot.

Did you know? The earliest iterations of synthetic slate roofing can be traced back to the turn of the 20th century in the US. Those early tiles were excellent for roofing because they were fireproof and were barely affected by moisture and heat.

However, they were usually made from a combination of 75% cement and 25% asbestos. During the 1970s and 1980s, synthetic slate roofing manufacturers had to look for different options when people discovered the negative effects of asbestos.

Synthetic Slate Is Great Choice If It Suits Your Budget

Despite not having nearly as much longevity as natural slate, synthetic slate roofing is a very good alternative to other roofing types, especially given its midrange pricing. Synthetic slate can give your roof that unique slate appeal without needing reinforcement to support the heavier weight.

As synthetic materials get better, so will synthetic slate roofing tiles. Just remember that you can’t walk on it, and the quality and energy efficiency of the roof will depend in large part on your installers and manufacturers.

If you’re going for more curb appeal and variety while trying to balance your budget, synthetic slate roofing can be an excellent choice for a single-family home or a larger dwelling.

Average Roof Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $4,190 - $5,740 (For a 1600 sq. ft. Roof)
Low End
High End

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

Author: Leo B
For over 20 years Leo has run a successful roofing business in New England, specializing in metal roofing, as well as cool flat roofing technologies. Having replaced and installed hundreds of roofs in New England, Leo has first hand experience with pretty much every residential roofing material and roofing manufacturer available in the US.
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