Slate is considered one of the most appealing and long-lasting premium roofing materials, and many homeowners, especially those who own older homes, have benefited from the qualities of slate for many decades.

However, when re-roofing your home, other alternatives come into play. Slate roofing is getting steep competition from metal roofing, and for good reason. Here is a handy comparison between metal and slate roofing to help you make a decision.


One of the selling points for slate roofing is that it looks old and rustic, which makes for a great classic look that some homeowners admire. Unfortunately, this rustic look usually results from moss taking hold in the cracks in the slates. This moss will eventually cause the roof to fade and crack, requiring costly repairs.

Other problems associated with slate roofing include nail damage, delaminating and cracking from foot damage, all of which make maintaining a slate roof a costly affair. Repairs are often expensive, difficult, and hard to conceal.

On the contrary, metal roofing - be it made of copper, zinc, or porcelain - will hardly fade, and does not get infested by mold. The roof thus requires no maintenance other than the occasional repainting, and any repairs would be cheap and easy since metal roofing is light, rigid and does not crack when nailed.

Energy efficiency

When considering the type of roofing you want, energy efficiency is likely to be one of your main concerns. Slate roofing is made of rock, so it heats up pretty quickly and transfers heat to your attic, making your roof deck hot and thus increasing the demand on your AC system. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that slate roofing usually comes in dark colors that absorb solar rays instead of reflecting them off the roof.

Metal roofing is a very efficient roofing system, as metal is light and thus cools off faster than rigid slate shingles. The metal shingles also reflect more heat off the roof when struck by sun rays, keeping the house cool. In fact, metal roofing is able to achieve energy efficiency even when painted dark colors.


The hefty nature of slate shingles is a serious cause for concern in a re-roofing project, as costly roof reinforcements may be required to hold the heavy roofing material in place. Additionally, slate could be dangerous in seismic areas due to the sheer weight of the roof overhead. Metal shingles are light, and often interlocked to create a solid layer that holds the roofing structure together even during seismic movements.  

Slate shingles have offered great roof coverings for centuries, but metal roofing could be a more feasible and safe alternative if you are reconsidering re-roofing your home. Speak to a roofer like B & J Roofing to learn more.