What is slate?

How to select a new slate roof in the North East

Unfortunately, throughout our time, we have come across many examples of poorly-laid slate roofing. Many contractors simply lack the experience and knowledge to lay slate roofing to an adequate standard. This has led to slate roofing developing a very negative reputation; however, a properly installed slate roof will both look great and last a lifetime.

Below, we have provided a guide that can help you to benefit from a good quality slate roof.

Don't let price dictate your choice

While it is human instinct to be attracted to the cheapest price, this is not always a good idea. You shouldn’t find a huge difference between quotes for slate roofing work. However, if one company is offering a much lower price than the competition, then it is essential that, before settling on that quote, you consider the following factors:

  • Any difference in materials that will be used
  • Whether this company is paying for insurance
  • What this company is not doing that everyone else is

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Ultimately, the choice is only ever yours

Before you have contacted companies, you will have researched, at least to an extent, what you want. Therefore, don’t let a contractor dictate to you. Many smaller companies try to convince customers that “all slate is the same”, which is not true; there is actually a wide range of slate to choose from.

Imagine that you were shopping for a car. You would typically start your search by researching different models and such factors as engine size and insurance groups; you would never just buy the first car without knowing anything about it. Take the same approach when shopping for a new slate roof – as, once it has been installed using the correct materials and methods, it will last for over 100 years.

Before signing on the dotted line...

At Findley Roofing & Building, we strongly emphasise the importance of a contract. The contract must be signed by both parties and include all of the details about the agreement – from money exchanged to the job at hand. Include any promises made to you and never allow a third party to interfere with the contract.

What about headlap?

Headlap refers to the extent of overlap between roof files. It is another crucial factor to not only discuss but also look out for on some of the companies’ previous work.  This can help you to discern the most experienced companies. A lot of poor construction work results mainly from a lack of headlap as the firms lack the knowledge to install the tiles correctly.

Slate tiles lined up
Slate roofing tiles
Completed slate tiled roof

Flashings and a slate roof

A well-constructed roof will massively add value to your home and keep you safe from many adverse weather conditions. This is only possible when suitable methods, knowledge and experience are used in the installation of that roof.

This is due to flashings, which cover the ridge where a pent roof’s two sides meet. Flashings serve a very important purpose in helping you stay dry from the rain. It is vital to fit flashings correctly; however, when you research how to do so, it will come across as a simple task. This shouldn’t take away from the need for great care and an eye for detail during installation, which you simply can’t afford to rush; otherwise, you could too easily get it wrong and need a fix later.

Shopping around

Speak to as many companies as you deem adequate. This will help you better understand what is to be done and how. You will also hopefully be able to spot firms that are inexperienced and offer poor service, leaving them not best suited for you.

Slate roofs are not balconies

Slate roofs are indeed roofs, not balconies; therefore, they should never be walked on, even during installation. A well-built new slate roof would have been constructed through the use of either scaffolding or scaffolding ladders. Roofing companies’ staff will never walk along the tiles, as this will weaken them – causing damage to the roof and possibly resulting in tiles falling and damaging something in the garden. You should consider this when looking at prices offered by different companies, as those with the lowest prices could be saving costs by forgoing using the correct equipment.

What goes under a slate roof?

The inner layer beneath the slate roof is known as the roof deck and is a vital part of the project. When discussing materials, you must never consider plywood and lamented wood; they are by far the cheapest options and will be suitable for use, but will not last nearly as long as necessary. Keep in mind that a slate roof’s life expectancy exceeds 100 years.

When companies strongly emphasise the underlay, it shows that they lack confidence in their own ability and knowledge of slate roofing. A slate roof can withstand all elements but, if constructed poorly, will require a lot of underlay.

We hope that this advice helps you when you are selecting your new slate roof. We also hope that poor applications of slate roofing do not deter you from arranging for a company to, on your behalf, build a slate roof – as a well-contracted one will look stunning all year round, keep you safe and, most of all, last a very long time.

There remain many contractors that are fuelling the bad reputation of slate roofing. When looking for a slate roofing provider, remember to take your time and research as much as possible. Any contractor or roofing company will always be happy to answer any questions you have.

Need help? Call us today: 0191 417 3422

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Knowledge Base


Far from simply the leading installers and repairers of roofing across Newcastle upon Tyne and the wider region, we are also one of the UK’s most trusted authorities in roofing.

Turn to us for guidance in relation to such specialised aspects of roofing as:
• The type of roofing that best suits your needs
• The merits of various roofing materials
• How you can afford your new roof
• Why you should choose Findley Roofing & Building

Don’t try to tackle your domestic or commercial roofing needs alone! Get in touch with our experienced professionals who can give you the benefit of their hard-won industry knowledge.


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Absolutely brilliant

I received an absolutely brilliant service from this company. Reputation is everything and they certainly exceeded this. A brand new roof paid for on monthly terms – it was all new to me that you… “Absolutely brilliant”

Sandra Connor

Excellent service from start to finish

Just had my new flat roof, facias and guttering done. John and Craig were excellent workers and they never stopped, whilst keeping everything clean and tidy. I will definitely be using this company for my… “Excellent service from start to finish”

Allison Parker

Very professional

Main roof just completed and looks fantastic, roofers Alex and Chris worked non stop through some extremely challenging conditions in a very professional manner to ensure it came in on time with a minimum of… “Very professional”

Lawrence Guy
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