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  1. #1
    beezo Guest

    Default slate look alike shingles

    I have a customer that is in need of a new roof. She now has a slate roof and likes the look but was put off by the price that it will cost to replace it. Although many in her neighborhood have gone to an fancy designer shingles as shee calls it she was asking me for opionions of some other options. I have seen, I think on some home show both a cement board type shingle and I think some type of recycled rubber or composition type shingle that resembles slate. I was looking for information on these types or something that looks more slate like than not. Any information especially if someone has used these products and has any history on them would be appreciated.


  2. #2
    Bill P Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles


    Tearing off a slate roof is a very sad. Slates last hundreds of years what went wrong? Would repair be possible, and would she consider it? Used slates are available.


  3. #3
    Dick Seibert Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    Bill is right.

  4. #4
    Norm Yeager Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    I've torn off dozens of slate roofs over the years,but never one that didn't need to be replaced.There are several different types of natural slate. The two types I'm most familiar with is Pennsylvania black slate & Vermont Slate which comes in a variety of colors-typically reds,green & shades of both.The Pa. slate was typically good for about 100 yrs. and in my experience it always deteriorated on the South slope of a gable roof much quicker than on the North side.If the gables were oriented East & West the roof sides wore more evenly.If the slate was in good condition but some were cracked or missing we would replace them carefully,using chicken ladders to get on the roof& blind nail them with no exposed fasteners.When a roof was beyond repair the slate would flake off in layers and often crumble in your hand when removed. Several times we replaced only one side of a roof when the other side was in good condition.My experience with the Vermont slate was different. I never saw a Vermont slate roof where the slate itself was actually the cause of the roof failure. Invariably it was the fasteners that failed.Whenever we did repairs we always used copper nails.Occasioally the lath under the slate was badly split & the nail worked loose over the years & the slate would slide out of place.As far as slate look alikes there are many replicas out there and some look good. The one caution I would advise is to use a product thats been around for awhile with a proven track record,strong guarantee and a sound company in back of the guarantee.A friend of mine put over 100 sqs. on a multi-million dollar house and within a year of installing it it started to discolor. The manufacturer tried to weasel out of what was definitely their responsibility and eventually declared bankruptcy because of this and other failures. My friend eventually got all his money and put the new roof on-but not after alot of aggravation and grief.Do your homework-your the expert.

  5. #5
    beezo Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    I agree that tearing off a slate roof is a bad thing to do but this roof seems to need it. She has had several different roofers look at it and each says about the same thing. It is going bad. They have had rapairs done in the past and it is now about 1/2 repairs and the rest old roof. I have noticed lots of chips and flakes on the ground and in the gutters so I think it must be time to take it off. House is 80+ years old and does show signs of water getting into the house in places. Roof color is gray/black/dark green so I do not know what kind of slate it is.

    Norm, do you have any recommendations on something to use? I have seen the ones made with recycled rubber and just found some concrete ones for her to look at but am really looking for some type of recommendation to give her. The concrete ones sounded interesting but I was wondering about them fading. Have they gotten all the bugs worked out of the concrete siding? My thinking is that these shingles have to be made of some similiar type of materials and I would hate to see a roof of the stuff with problems like you mentioned.


  6. #6
    Ken K Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    Though I agree with the others about not taking off the real slate, the product you are asking about is a slate look-alike made from recycled tires by Welsh Mountain Slate Inc. It comes in three shades of gray ($250/square, plus shipping) and one of green ($275/square). The product looks exactly like slate from the ground and even from pretty close up. It installs like slate (and is slippery as hell when your boots, or the product is wet, just like slate) only cuts and nails easier. For more info, the company's website is:

  7. #7
    Norm Yeager Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    Beezo, I haven't had any experience with the slate reproduction products but did see an ad in JLC for the product that Ken mentioned. It seems like it would be a great alternative. The fact that the material is probably consistent in color all the way through would eliminate discoloring and I've seen old tires laid outside for years with little signs of deterioration.I've put on quite a few EPDM & Hypalon roofs and they last a long time.The material doesn't fail-it's the seams,perimeters and penetrations that fail. Those details are easier to deal with a steeply pitched roof.Any shingle made of rubber thats as thick as a slate would have to be a durable product in my opinion. Having said that I'd still want to investigate thoroughly before signing my name to it.Let us know how you make out.If you need any slate questions answered a good friend of mine has done nothing but slate work for the last twenty years , he's very knowledgeable and willing to share what he's learned.

  8. #8
    Jay R Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles


    Here is a page to Authentic Roof. I have not used this product, and the last time I looked into using it was about the same price a square as Welsh Mountain.

    Authentic Roof

  9. #9
    Jamie Hill Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    Accel roofing products make an aluminum shingle in the common diamond pattern that slate roofs are done in. It might not have the look you are intrested but it is worth checking out. I haven't used any of their products yet just met with the salesrep last month.

    Accel Roofing Products 877-286-3320

    Jamie Hill

  10. #10
    Patty Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    I have a slate roof question for your friend. Client has asked us to repair her slate roof. Mostly the hips need to be re-slated, & I'm thinking about using the rubber type shingles on the hips. My question is about scaffolding to reach the hips. How do you put roof jacks on an existing slate roof??

  11. #11
    piffin Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    Sometimes you just have to remove slates to get a jack in and replace it as a patch later on the way backing down.

    I recieved some samples of recycled rubber slates a few years ago and wrote to ask the company some concerns I had about wind uplift, fading, curling, etc. They never wrote back. I never used the product.

    Now, i can go to two roofs in my town done in the past three or four years with this type of product and all have fading, peeling, curling, etc. If JLC had the capacity I would post photos of these misbegotten good ideas.

    I'll wait another ten years before I consider trying them on my customers.

  12. #12
    norm Yeager Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    Piffin is correct when he says that you sometimes have to remove a slate or two to properly & safely install roof jacks on a slate roof.My friend(Dave Leeland) is somewhwere in the Florida Keys or the Bahamas as I type this(the slate business has been very good to him)and I can't reach him on his cell phone but you & others may find his website interesting.It's got some good pictures of different slate installations and the heretical imitations.As far as your question on how to scaffold a slate roof I have a few thoughts until my suntanned buddy is available. A "chicken ladder" works well on a gable roof.We always made our own.(For the same reason you pack your own parachute) It consists of two flat 1x4's spaced appx.14" apart with 1x4 rungs double clinch nailed on top about 12" spacing.At the top you bolt an L angle through the 1x4's on each side and bolt a 2x6 to the other legs of the angle.The 1x4 ladder lays flat on the roof and the 2x6 lays over the ridge.The ladder disperses your weight and allows you to move vertically up &down the roof. It works good on a gable roof but not too well on a hip roof because when you hook it over the ridge the farther down the roof you go the farther you are from the hip.A couple of possibilities here.Rope & harness works, but efficient access to tools & materials is troublesome.You can install roof jacks by removing a slate at each spot & planking across two of them or use one jack & install the other one on the chicken ladder.When removing the slate you must be careful-it's best to use a slate ripper which is especially made to remove the blind nails under the slate.When reinstalling the slate, slide it in place,carefully& slightly spread the adjoining slates on the course above& nail down through the crack between them through the replaced slate.Slide a piece of flashing under the slate but over the nail and you have an invisible repair.

  13. #13
    piffin Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    I'd often rather work from a chicken ladder than regular staging. Especially for smaller repair stuff or steel roofs. %This hip is not a great candidate tho'

  14. #14
    jc Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    beezo, get yourself a copy of "The Slate Roof Bible" by Joseph Jenkins. The JLC bookstore carries it as does It might not change the outcome but at the the very least, it will help you identify what you do have and may help you retain the existing slate roof. It's a great reference.

  15. #15
    george Guest

    Default Re: slate look alike shingles

    royal building products produces a good looking product that is polyproplene even has great out Royal Building Product Website

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