Slate vs. Terra Cotta Roof

Slate and terra cotta roofs are obviously pricey, but if you’re researching them for your home, you show great taste. They are both very beautiful and worthy of consideration, and both also have many pros and cons to ponder. The final decision likely comes down to looks, including your neighborhood’s overall style and feel.


Slate roofs are durable roofing systems that use natural slate tiles to produce a solid and long-lasting roof option. Each slate tile is installed one at a time to create a series of interlocked tiles that remains very attractive. However, it does tend to make slate roofs slower to install, which is an essential factor to consider when installing one on your home.


Very Attractive

Slate roofs typically impress with their overall gorgeousness and beauty. Few other roof types are as immediately eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing. Even better, they usually come in a broad range of different colors, including popular gray and red tiles, and may even have various thicknesses and widths that allow you to produce the exact roof look and style that you want.


People often choose slate roofs because of their shockingly long lifespan. It isn’t unusual for slate roofs to last 75 to 100 years with minimal maintenance needs. That kind of protection not only makes this a suitable roof type for you but for your children who inherit your home as well. Slate roofs also resist fire, high winds, and even hail better than a standard asphalt roof.

Minimal Maintenance Needs

Slate roofs typically don’t need anywhere near as much maintenance as traditional asphalt roofs. This is because their durability minimizes the wear and tear that typically damages asphalt. In addition, their dense surface does not absorb water, like asphalt, and will not expand and contract or get mold or mildew. As a result, slate roofs will also increase your home value when properly installed.



There’s no way to get around it – slate roofing can be costly. You can expect to pay up to $20 per square foot on average, and potentially more depending on your geographical area. This higher price comes not just from the high-quality materials but from the installation as well. Slate requires a specialized process, and homeowners will need specially-trained installation experts.


While the density of slate roofs is a definite advantage in some ways, it may be harmful in others. For instance, 100 square feet of slate shingles will weigh about 800-1,000 pounds. That kind of wear and tear potential can damage weaker roofs or cause other complications if you aren’t careful. Be sure to get your roofing expert to inspect your roof before installing anything.

Too Long-Lasting

Some people may find slate too long-lasting for their home, particularly if they plan to own it only 20 years or so. Installing a roof that lasts longer than a person will be alive may seem excessive and unnecessary, especially considering the price of slate. However, those who plan on owning a home for 30-50 years will love never having to install a new roof again.


Terra cotta roofs use a clay-firing process to produce attractive tiles that come in either rounded or flat shapes. Round tiles work best in areas with a lot of rain or where that style is prevalent, such as in the southwestern portion of the nation. These tiles overlap to create a relatively dense and appealing look, one that provides many benefits for your South Carolina home.


Very Long-Lasting

Like slate roofs, terra cotta may last up to 100 years or more, mainly if you provide proper maintenance. They are also resistant to fire, impact, and wind, holding up well against wind gusts as high as 150 miles per hour. They also don’t rot when insects, wasps, or other animals make nests, and are a solid roof choice that works well in many areas.


Both slate and terra cotta are eco-friendly, but terra cotta is probably the most environmentally sound. Creating clay does not produce any damaging chemicals into the air, and old tiles can be easily recycled and reused for more materials. In this way, they’re an excellent option for those concerned about the environment and wanting to minimize their carbon footprint.

Very Efficient

Clay roofs also minimize heat loss and gain and create a powerful airflow and natural ventilation throughout your roof system. In addition, they create a heat barrier that should keep your home very comfortable, no matter the season, and can lower your energy costs by as much as 20% when properly installed. That benefit makes them an excellent option for those with high energy bills.



Though terra cotta tiles are strong and can resist a lot of damage, their heavy weight (up to 1,500 pounds per 100 square feet) makes them one of the heaviest types on the market. As a result, you may end up spending up to $10,000 or more reinforcing your roof to minimize the risk of severe damage problems.

Challenging Installation

Terra cotta tiles may be resistant to damage but are also brittle during installation and may break if you aren’t careful. Some tiles may also crack over time, requiring you to replace them. As a result, terra cotta will require a little more maintenance and upkeep than slate, which requires none.


Expect to pay at least $250 per 100 square foot of terra cotta tiles, costing upwards of $20,000 or more to install. You will also spend a few thousand dollars on things like pitch management and other steps, though the long-lasting and beautiful style may be an excellent compensation for this cost.


When deciding between slate and terra cotta roofs, we strongly suggest you investigate what’s popular throughout your neighborhood. In South Carolina, both types are popular in specific areas. For example, Wexford Plantation has many terra cotta roofs because it’s a common second home destination for Florida residents. However, while certain types of slate might not precisely fit this area’s overall design, you might still be able to find a slate choice that works because of the variety of choices for slate.

Likewise, Sea Pines Plantation, another popular area, has several homes with slate and tile. These factors are important because a home that stands out like a sore thumb in a community may decrease your property values and those of your neighbors. In this situation, blending in is typically a better idea, so make sure that you don’t go too wild when considering your roofing choices.

Similar Posts