The introduction of Fake or Synthetic Slate over the past few years in the United States, has both helped and hurt the Natural Slate industry. On one hand it has brought a renewed awareness to Natural Slate that over the years had been slipping from the general public. But on the other hand, in the effort to sell Synthetic Slate, this new industry has made several statements that are misleading. An of example of this would be the statement that the cost of Synthetic Slate is “for a fraction of the cost” of Natural Slate. What is not being conveyed to the roofing contractor or the owner(s) that the cost is a very large fraction. I have recently verified that the cost difference was minimal. The current price for the “Fake” slate is approximately $350.00 for the material plus the trim and accessory pieces plus the cost of shipping which reflects an estimated cost of $400.00 per square.
Natural Slate runs from about $350.00 to $500.00 per square delivered to the job site. The price of Natural Slate is normally determined by whether the slate chosen is an unfading or “weathering” slate, the size of the slate, current inventory of production levels of the particular size chosen, the quantity of slate requested and what the shipping requirements are. Currently the cost of real slate is clearly in the same range as the “cheaper” alternative and ultimately a much better choice. It is also in the interest of the Contractor and Owner to review the difference in the Warranty. The Natural Slate roof product warranty for an S-1 slate is for an excess 75 years compared to the warranty for “Fake” material which is often dubious at best. The negative issues that face the new “fake” slate material have been numerous. With the true difference in cost between Natural versus Fake Slate products installed between 10% to 20% more, is the small savings really worth the risk ?