Metal vs. Slate Roofing: A Basic Comparison


Discover the strengths, weaknesses, and key factors to consider when deciding between metal and slate for your roof

The roof is an essential home component and provides critical protection against nature’s wrath while adding to a property’s overall appeal. Selecting the right roofing material is crucial, as it can impact the longevity of the roof, the maintenance required, and the cost of installation and repairs. Metal and slate roofing are two of the most popular options available today, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits.

Ultimately, the choice between metal and slate roofing will depend on your individual needs, preferences, and budget. However, by exploring the various factors involved in selecting a roofing material, you can make an informed decision that provides you with a beautiful, functional, and long-lasting roof for your home or business.

This article will compare metal vs. slate roofing, covering everything from cost to durability to aesthetics.

The Basics of Metal and Slate Roofing

Metal roofing isn’t new, but over the past decade, it has become increasingly popular thanks to its energy efficiency, cost efficiency, and longevity. Plus, these come in a range of styles, colors, and finishes and can even mimic the appearance of traditional roofing materials like shingle or tile. They are also lightweight and easy to install, making them an attractive option for those who want to save on labor costs. However, if you plan to install one of these roofs, you’ll need to work with a professional metal roofing company to ensure the job gets done correctly.

On the other hand, slate roofing has been used for centuries and has a timeless, classic appeal. Made from natural stone, these offer a unique look that can add character and elegance to any building. Slate roofs are known for their durability and can last for several decades or even centuries with proper maintenance. Their long-lasting lifespan comes at a higher price but can be a worthwhile investment in the long run due to their longevity and low maintenance requirements.

Cost Comparison

Cost is one of the most significant factors influencing the decision between metal and slate roofing. Metal roofing is generally less expensive than slate roofing. However, several factors can affect the cost of both materials, such as the type of metal or slate used, the size of the roof, and the complexity of the installation.

While metal roofing may be more affordable initially, it’s essential to consider the long-term costs, such as maintenance and repairs. Meanwhile, slate roofing may have a higher upfront cost, but it has a longer lifespan and requires minimal maintenance over time. Therefore, it’s essential to weigh the costs and benefits of each option carefully before making a final decision.


Another crucial factor to consider when choosing a roofing material is its durability. A roof is a significant investment, and you want it to last as long as possible.

Slate roofing is known for its exceptional durability and longevity. Slate tiles can last anywhere from 75 to 200 years, depending on the quality of the slate and how well it’s maintained. Additionally, slate roofing is resistant to fire, wind, and water damage, making it an excellent choice for areas with extreme weather conditions.

Metal roofing, on the other hand, typically has a lifespan of 30 to 50 years, depending on the quality of the material and how well it’s maintained. However, metal roofs are also resistant to fire and wind damage, making them a great choice for areas prone to wildfires or hurricanes.

Maintenance and Repairs

Both metal and slate roofing require maintenance and repairs over time. However, the level of care and the frequency of repairs may differ between the two materials.

Slate roofing requires minimal maintenance, as it’s highly resistant to damage and weathering. However, if a tile becomes damaged or broken, replacing it without disturbing the surrounding tiles can be challenging. Additionally, slate roofs may require occasional cleaning to prevent the buildup of debris and moss.

Metal roofing may require more maintenance than slate roofing, as it’s prone to dents, scratches, and rust. However, metal roofs can last forty years or more if maintained correctly without significant repairs. Regular maintenance for these roofs typically involves cleaning, repainting, and checking for any signs of corrosion or damage.


The aesthetics of roofing materials are essential for many homeowners and property owners. Both metal and slate roofing can provide a beautiful, modern look for a property, but they differ in style and appearance.

Slate roofing has a classic, traditional look often associated with historic buildings and homes. However, it’s available in a range of colors and styles, and the natural variation in the slate tiles can create a unique and beautiful appearance.

Metal roofing has a more modern, sleek look that’s becoming increasingly popular in contemporary architecture. Metal roofing is available in a range of colors and styles, including shingles that mimic the look of traditional roofing materials like slate or cedar.

Environmental Impact

Lastly, it’s essential to consider the environmental impact of a roofing material. Both metal and slate roofing can be eco-friendly options, but some factors must be considered.

Slate roofing is a natural material that’s mined from quarries, which can have a negative impact on the environment. However, slate roofing is a long-lasting and sustainable material that can be recycled at the end of its lifespan. Additionally, slate roofing is energy-efficient, as it helps to regulate the temperature inside the building, reducing the need for heating and cooling.

Metal roofing is also a sustainable option, as it can be made from recycled materials and is fully recyclable at the end of its lifespan. Additionally, metal roofs can reflect solar radiation, reducing the amount of heat absorbed by the building and decreasing the energy required for cooling. However, some metal roofing materials may contain chemicals and coatings that can be harmful to the environment.

Which is Best for Your Roofing Needs?

Which is best? Both metal and slate roofing can be excellent choices for residential and commercial properties, depending on your individual needs and preferences. Ultimately, it boils down to several factors: cost, durability, maintenance, aesthetics, and environmental impact. Ultimately, your decision choice will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Slate roofing is an excellent option for those seeking a long-lasting, classic look that requires minimal maintenance. While it may be more expensive upfront, the durability and longevity of slate roofing can make it a cost-effective option in the long run. But installation will be challenging, and not all homes can bear the weight of these tiles.

Metal roofing is a more affordable option that provides a sleek, modern look. While it may require more maintenance and repairs over time, metal roofing is durable, resistant to extreme weather conditions, and energy-efficient. Plus, installation is typically a quick process with no special load-bearing requirements like slate. This could save you a bit on labor costs.


Source: DSCENE


Photography by ©Jack Hobhouse


Slate Definition | Roofing slate maintenance | SLATE natural benefits