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Editorial

Lets talk Slates

We're currently living in a culture of making savings and cutting costs at any opportunity, whilst showing little consideration of the risks that may unfold through these decisions. An area in recent times where this has become evident is within the roofing industry and in particularly with peoples choices with natural slate.

There is a popular saying when purchasing any goods or services; "if it sounds to good to be true then it probably is." This saying should be considered when deciding on which natural slate product should go on your roof.

The issues with purchasing inferior slate can be endless with the possibility of having a number of inconsistencies and imperfections that will result in high wastage and ultimately can translate into greater labour costs.

Guarantees

If you do discover issues with your slates, traceability can become an issue. 

Do you really believe you will be able to take these Chinese / Spanish companies to court?

Will these guarantess even be enforceable under UK law?

The worlds leading natural slate providers offer reputable guarantees and valid warranties; staying with these providers will prove substantially more beneficial for the long term condition of a roof.

Qualities of Slate

Slate has been used to clad our roofs since Roman times and is a durable, hardwearing and watertight product

In 2004 the introduction of BS EN 123261 guarantees that newly quarried slate is frost and fire proof

Often period properties will need to be renovated and extended - installing a natural slate roof is a highly skilled job and a reputable roofer will salvage as many of the original slates as possible and then ensure they obtain a suitable match to ensure that the character of the roof is maintained.  This will not be a cheap process but will definately be worth the investment in the longterm

  • Welsh Slate - Grey-blue colour and generally recognised as the best quality product
  • Cornish Delabole Slate - Dark Grey
  • Other UK slates available from the Lake District and Scotland in a range of colours
  • Canadian Slate - this is often considered a good quality alternative to Welsh Slate
  • Spanish Slate - provides approx 75% of slate throughout the world
  • Chinese Slate - this tends to be the cheapest natural slate available

If choosing an imported product you should check it has  been tested to BS EN123261 and make sure you obtain a sample

A good quality slate should produce a clear ring if you tap them - a poor quality product with sound more like a dull thud and would not be recommended

Manmade Alternatives

There are a number of alternatives such as Concrete Slates, Fibre cement Slates and Slates produced reconstitutes materials  but none of them offer the durability and character of Natural Slate

These alternatives tend to offer a more uniform appearance and are often interlocking which will mean there will be savings on labour as they will be quicker to lay

For more information please contact us