What are the pros and cons of Synthetic Slate Roofs?

When picking a roofing material for your home or any other building, you will likely come across slate as one of your options. synthetic slate roofs are beautiful but can also be heavy and expensive.

There’s a solution for that, with modern technology, you can find synthetic slate roofing products that look identical to real stone and may even be more durable. This blog post will highlight some of the pros and cons of synthetic slate roofs.

What is a Synthetic Slate Roof, and What is it Made of?

Slate roofing has been used on homes, apartments, churches, and government buildings for centuries. It can be heavy and expensive, though. The good news is that synthetic slate roof tiles are now an option.

Synthetic has numerous advantages over authentic, from the ease of installation to its ability to be recycled. While synthetic may look real, it’s composed of various rubber and plastic materials, which helps reduce the overall price. Manufacturers of this material offer an extensive variety of styles that can fit nearly any home. And it has an incredible life expectancy, sometimes lasting up to 100 years!

Synthetic slate roofing has a variety of materials that it comes in, including polymers, plastics, clay, asphalt, rubber, fiber cement, and steel. The best synthetic slate roofing material is up to the homeowner and how the new roof will match the style of their house. Each of them has its characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, and costs.

Manufacturers of plastic and polymer composite mold tiles to look authentic. Recycled rubber and plastic can also sometimes be used to form the basis of rubber tiles. You won’t have to worry about recycled materials being cheap, either; they typically consist of high-quality post-industrial materials.

Difference Between a Slate Roof and a Synthetic Slate Roof

The difference between a slate roof and a synthetic slate roof lies in their composition and characteristics. Natural slate roofs are made from genuine stone, typically quarried from slate deposits. They offer unmatched authenticity, durability, and aesthetic appeal.

However, they are heavy, expensive, and require skilled installation. On the other hand, synthetic slate roofs are crafted from composite materials like plastic or rubber. While they may not possess the same level of authenticity as natural slate, they are lightweight, cost-effective, and easier to install.

Synthetic slate roofs also offer versatility in terms of color options and can mimic the appearance of natural slate to a great extent.

Benefits of Synthetic Slate Roof

Benefits of Synthetic Slate Roof

The benefits of using synthetic slate shingles are numerous, and there is a good reason that they have become a popular alternative to authentic slate shingles.


While synthetic slate shingles are not technically slate – they are made from rubber and plastic, generally speaking—they are designed and constructed to mirror the unique, beautiful, authentic slate, but without the major cost or the installation process that can leave you with a stress headache.


Synthetic slate shingles are designed to last longer. No more cracking, no more costly and difficult repairs. Just more durable, flexible, and reliable materials.

Green Building Alternative

Using synthetic slate shingles is considered a “green” building alternative, even those that use what is known as virgin materials. Just about any type of synthetic slate can end up being recycled.


Synthetic slate shingles tend to be much more durable than their authentic counterparts. The synthetic variations contain advanced ultraviolet inhibitors to reduce wear from constant sun exposure.


Synthetic slate generally has impact modifiers to help withstand storm damage, most of which are certified by Underwriters Laboratories as Class 4 impact resistance, the highest level for roofing materials.

Most synthetic slates also earn the highest fire-resistance Class A rating which means that they are effective at fighting exposure to external fires, are not readily flammable, and do not spread fires.


Synthetic slate shingles are far easier to transport and install than most other roofing materials. At 1.25 pounds per tile, these roofs are far lighter than asphalt shingles and about a quarter of the weight of a standard authentic slate shingle.

Their lightweight means that even a standard roof structure can support these synthetic slate shingles without requiring any special reinforcement. Synthetic slate roofs are practical for mainstream construction in residential areas.

Various Colors and Designs

Synthetic slate roofs come in a wide range of colors, allowing homeowners or builders to choose the option that best complements their architectural style and personal preferences. This versatility opens up more design possibilities.

Drawbacks of Synthetic Slate Roof

These types of roofs aren’t perfect, though. They also have their disadvantages. The drawbacks are:

Vulnerability to Impact Damage

Synthetic Slate May Be Prone to Cracking or Chipping: Synthetic materials used in the production of slate roofs can be more susceptible to impact damage compared to natural slate.

Hail, falling debris, or accidental foot traffic during maintenance can potentially cause cracks, chips, or other visible signs of damage.

Potential Limitations

While synthetic slate is lighter than natural slate, it may still have limitations in handling heavy loads or foot traffic. Care must be taken during installation and any subsequent maintenance to prevent damage to the roofing material.

Less Eco-Friendly

Synthetic slate roofs are typically made from non-biodegradable materials, such as plastic or rubber. These materials may have a higher carbon footprint and contribute to environmental concerns compared to the extraction and use of natural slate.

Disposal Challenges

When it comes time to replace a synthetic slate roof, disposal can be challenging. The non-recyclable nature of the materials used may lead to increased waste in landfills, adding to environmental issues associated with construction and demolition debris.

Frequently Asked Questions about Synthetic Slate Roofs

As a local roofing contractor in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, we get asked many questions about synthetic slate roofs. Here are a few of the ones people ask most frequently. If you have any other questions feel free to call us at (757) 799-4601.

Do synthetic slate roofs cost more than authentic slate?

No, synthetic roofs are usually less expensive because they are lighter and easier to install. They often look just like authentic slate and are designed to last longer, making them a cost-effective choice.

Which lasts longer: synthetic slate or authentic slate?

Synthetic roofs are designed to last longer. They are made with materials that have UV inhibitors to protect against sun damage, and many suppliers claim they can last up to 100 years, even in extreme weather conditions.

How fire-resistant are synthetic slate roofs?

Many types of synthetic slate have a Class A fire rating, which is the highest level. They are not flammable and won't produce embers or burning particles that could spread a fire.

Do synthetic slate roofs hold up well in storms?

Most synthetic roofs are certified for Class 4 impact resistance, which is the highest level. They are designed to withstand storms and increase the resilience of your home.

Are synthetic slate roofs environmentally sustainable?

Yes, they are often made from recycled materials like plastic, cellulose fibers, rubber, and mineral dust. This helps reduce waste in landfills and makes them an environmentally sustainable choice.

Do slate roofs last forever?

While no roof lasts forever, synthetic slate roofs are designed to last a very long time. Some manufacturers offer warranties for up to 50 years and claim a lifespan of up to 100 years. If you're interested in synthetic slate, contact us for a free consultation.

Final Thoughts

Making the switch to synthetic slate shingles makes for a sound long-term investment. They are meant to stand up to heavy weather conditions and enjoy an extended roofing lifespan. Make sure you have a warranty that will cover your roof in the event of any damage. After you have gone through the installation process, you can sit back and enjoy your beautiful and durable synthetic slate roof for a long, long time. 

Whether you get this type of roofing or not is entirely up to you! At Evoli Roofing, we’ll guide you throughout your decision with a free consultation for roofing installation or replacement.



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