Slate roofs are beautiful, last for generations, shed ice and snow, and show up on more upscale homes. Although slate is an expensive choice, it offers a very natural look and can be laid out in a variety of patterns. The benefits of slate are identical to those of tile: a very long lifespan, good fire protection, low maintenance, and an invulnerable to rot and insects. Slate roofing comes in a good selection of sizes and colors, although colors are limited to those found in nature. Because of its cost and weight, slate requires a beefed-up roof structure for support.
There are slate look-alike roofing materials fabricated from recycled rubber and plastic. At only about one-third the weight and cost of slate, these shingles can be installed using standard tools and techniques. From the street, the discerning eye might be able to tell the difference between engineered and the real McCoy, but most of us would be very house-proud with one of these roofs on our homes. Plus, these shingles are guaranteed to last for as long as 50 years.