Chinese Roofing Slates

Dear all

We are currently self building a 4 bedroom dwelling in South Yorkshire and are considering a 16 x 10 blue/black slate roof. We are looking at the different types of slates on the market and notice Chinese slate has a very bad reputation however this is usually from people with no direct experience of working with it.

We would like to know other peoples thoughts/experiences on the viability, quality, and ease of installtion of Chinese slate compared to it’s slightly more expensive alternatives such as Spanish or Brazilian.


not sure about Chinese slate but have you considered Welsh slate? Not positive but I believe they have similar colors to what you are looking for and I’m guessing you would save a huge amount on shipping costs

Whats wrong with you ?! there is plenty of good roofing slate from your own country but if you must have imported slate get somthing proven like Vermont or Canadian slate.

I have installed Slate for 30 years.
vermont, canadian Welsh Scotch,Chinese and more.

The Importers of Chinese Slate all have different names for the Slates, However the only Chinese Black slate I have saw has a lot of iron content and will bleed rust all over the roof. it will also discolor to a buff almost white color. nasty.

Some of the Chinese Slates hold up here in California with the climate we have here.

However if you are looking for Quality roofing Slates the other Slate I mentioned are far superior to the Chinese.

Listen to the earlier post, Buy vermont, canadian or Welsh. You will have a beautiful roof that will last for many tears to come

I hope this helps?

Sorry last post should have said many years to come,

However if you use the Black chinese slate it may be many tears to come.


Agree with the above.

The Spanish slate I’ve had to work with was not square on any side. One customer ordered a boatload of Chinese slate, got a close look and dumped it behind a barn on the property. Then ordered and installed Vermont slate.

Call New England Slate Company in Pittsford, VT and ask for Chris Smid.888-637-5283 or and look at the North Country Black slate. Awesome stuff and great price will achieve the ‘blue/black’ look you are going for. I have not personally installed any Chinese slate, but the stuff is garbage… Like the late Chris Farley once said “You can get a good look at a T-bone steak if you stick you head up a bull’s ass, but I’ld rather take the butcher’s word for it”

Hi guys thanks for your responses, the reason we are looking at imported slate is because it appears to be much more cost effective than slate from quarries here in the UK. Welsh slate is £1.50 - £3.00 per tile, spanish is around £0.70 - £1.20 per tile and Chinese/Brazilian can be as low as £0.46 - £0.69 per tile. We do have a budget to keep to and the tiles could end up being a large expense.

There appears to be alot criticism against Chinese/Brazilian slate however most of it appears to be from people who have never used it, had it installed or sometimes even seen it. It is a new import over here and any competition naturally is met with resistance we are just trying to understand whether there is any substance behind the resistance.

I had typed a good answer yesterday but lost internet when I went to post. Gone now.

Those prices are about right. Divide that by 100 to 300, or even 600 years and see what it comes out to.

I’ve seen failed 3 year chinese slate. I haven’t seen any 200 year old chinese slate roofs.

How old are the buildings and roofs in the UK?

What the Hell makes you assume I havent used it ??
have fun with your ten year roof.

Go salvaged,the Uk has tons of it, check out Salvo web, salvage yards,ect…or your local papers,craigslist,There is some great slate and tile waiting to be installed with lots of life left at good prices.

Hi Guys

Thanks again for your replies, RooferJ… apologies if you took that last post personally it certainly was not aimed at anyone in particular, most of the criticism we have come across regarding Chinese slate has come from people who have never used it, that is the point we were trying to get across and why we decided to request advice from a forum dedicated to roofing.

We have researched salvage and have come across a yard in Wales which has enough reclaimed 16 x 10 Welsh purple/blue slate for our needs @ 0.68 pence which is 100 years old.

One further question we would like help on is how much longer than 100 years would Welsh reclaimed slate be likely to last.



It will only last a few more hundred years, maybe more.

Welsh slate “penryn purple” it used to be called, can last hundreds of years. be sure to use copper slaters nails and heavy gauge flashings to go with it. There are roofs in Massachusetts with that stuff that was installed in the 1700’s and still on.

Agree with posts above,

Quality slate that will last a long long time.

Good luck with the project, be sure to post some pics when complete.