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What are Synthetic Roof Tiles?

Aug 9, 2021 | Roofing

The roof of your house is one of the most important parts of the structure, so you want to pick the best possible material for it. A roof is an investment that should keep your house safe and protected while adding aesthetic value to your property.

Synthetic roof tiles achieve all of these goals. They have the beauty of slate while solving some of the disadvantages of natural materials. Keep reading to find out what makes this material stand out above the rest.

 

What Are Synthetic Slate Shingles?

So what are synthetic roof tiles? Synthetic slate roof tiles are shingles made to mimic the look and style of slate, but they aren’t rock. They’re made of man-made materials like polypropylene. Most synthetic tiles are a mixture of rubbers and plastics.

There are synthetic tiles that mimic other styles of stone or tile shingles, but slate is the most common. The synthetic materials are pressed into the right shape with molds made from real slate shingles.

Some synthetic roof tiles contain recycled material. The tiles themselves are recyclable. At the end of a tile’s lifespan, manufacturers can reclaim the material and break it down to make new tiles.

There are multiple synthetic slate tile mixtures, so you should always check the content of your tiles when you purchase them. That way, you know what to look for if you ever need to replace or repair them.

 

Cons of Traditional Slate Shingle Roofs

Slate roofs are well-known for being beautiful, durable, and fireproof, but there are significant drawbacks to them. That’s why synthetic slate tiles are available.

Slate is a rock that has to be mined and cut down to the right size and shape. It’s expensive to mine it and to transport it from the mines to retailers and building sites. One of the reasons it’s so pricey is due to the weight and risk of breakage.

Once the slate is on your roof, it’s incredibly durable. However, moving it and installing it both carry a high risk of breakage. Slate rock has a high cleavage rate, meaning it breaks easily along flat planes. This makes it easy to turn the rock into tiles but also puts them at risk for damage.

If you get your slate tiles installed with minimal breakage, you can still have problems down the line that will cost you. Maintenance for slate roofs is expensive for the same reasons original installation is: cost of materials and risk of breakage.

 

The Advantages of Synthetic Roof Tiles

Using synthetic tiles instead of slate solves the problems natural stone introduces. One of the best synthetic roof tile benefits is the eco-friendly nature of the material.

Synthetic slate doesn’t have to be mined. The rubber and plastic that make it does have a small environmental impact, but that material is indefinitely recyclable. A synthetic slate roof can last for up to 50 years, and then you can recycle it into brand new tiles that will last another 50 years. An average roof lasts 15 to 30 years, so 50 years is a huge improvement.

Another eco-advantage is that these tiles also reflect light back up, rather than absorbing it into your attic. This helps keep your home cooler, so you don’t need to use as much energy on air conditioning in the warmer months.

These tiles also have a special UV coating that keeps them durable despite constant sun exposure. They can withstand all types of weather, so they’re a good fit for any climate.

Installation is also easier than slate tiles. The tiles are significantly lighter than slate, so they are easier to transport and install. Additionally, they aren’t as breakable. You can cut them to size on-site, and you won’t risk damaging them in the process.

Regular roofing nails and tools work well with synthetic slate shingles, so your roofers won’t need specialized, expensive equipment. These factors help keep synthetic roof tile costs down. While they aren’t the cheapest upfront investment, synthetic tiles are significantly cheaper than natural slate.

 

The Drawbacks of Synthetic Slate Shingles

There are few synthetic roof tile cons. The largest is budgetary, as they are more expensive than asphalt shingles or architectural shingles. However, they last much longer than other shingles, so over time you’ll save on maintenance and roof replacement costs.

The other drawback is the fire rating. Depending on how the shingle is made, it can have a lower fireproof rating than recommended. The best synthetic roof tiles will have Class A fire resistance ratings. Lower-quality tiles could have ratings as low as Class C.

The look, function, and quality of a synthetic tile depend on what it’s made from. The better the shingle, the more likely it will have a higher upfront price tag. When you’re choosing a synthetic tile, it’s important to consider more than just the price, so you make sure you have an adequate fire-resistance rating for your area.

The final drawback to consider is that, due to the high rubber content, synthetic tiles can have a powerful odor after installation. This isn’t a permanent feature, but you should expect a faint rubbery smell near your roof for a few months after installation.

 

Get a Synthetic Tile Estimate Today

If you’re building a new home or re-roofing your current home, synthetic roof tiles could be the right choice for you. Synthetic slate is a worthwhile investment in your home and your future. It can give you a roof that will last a lifetime.

Contact Signature Roofing today for a free estimate on synthetic slate tiles for your home. We’d love to help you build the roof of your dreams with our top-notch team of licensed professionals.