Natural slate is a fine grained metamorphic rock and the worlds oldest continuously used roofing material. Each individual slate has been skilfully carved from the earth and split by hand into thin sheets which can be shaped as desired. Natural slate offers unique natural beauty, durability, versatility, longevity with its ability to withstand extreme environmental and weather conditions making it an ideal material for roofing.
Historically slate would have been sourced locally but now it is commonly imported globally. Slate is a natural product formed by natural elements specific to the geographical area, the geology of slate is important as it affects the appearance and life expectancy, this leads to constant variants of colour and textures.
Natural slate offers a unique and attractive roof covering which can transform a building; giving aesthetically pleasing, striking, stylish results. Whist used greatly for traditional builds, slate is suitable for modern architectures and can be cut and shaped on site for detailed designs adding endless possibilities to enhance the overall visual effect as well as providing a sustainable waterproof covering.
Slate roofs are formed from individual slates, applied in courses/layers and designed to shed rain and prevent water ingress. There are several slating methods, most commonly used is identical sized slates laid in a broken bond pattern and overlapped, other popular methods are random width and random diminishing. The lap is determined by the degree of pitch, wind uplift, and site exposure. Generally the lower the pitch of roof the greater the lap should be, double or even triple lap is required, increasing the slates required per m2. Slate can be cut, holed and trimmed using hand tools, making for fast and safe work when completing the roof. Slates are then either nailed or hook fixed, and both come with advantages and disadvantages.
Slate roofs require little maintenance other than replacement of individual slates that become damaged.
Slate is imported from all over the world, Western Counties Roofing only use leading manufacturers and suppliers.