Synthetic Slate Tiles for repairing Slate roof?

I own a house built in 1910 with a slate roof. I had a number of loose and missing tiles on the roof and hired a roofing contractor that specialized in slate roofing to do repairs and maintenance.

When the workers came out to do the work, I discovered that they use synthetic slate shingles to replace missing shingles (or is it tiles?). They told me you can’t even get new slate which seemed questionable. They never mentioned using synthetic slate tiles when they came out to give me a quote nor when I received that quote in writing.

Anyway, I was in a rush and was surprised with the materials when they showed up to do the work so I let them proceed. However, after reading about synthetic slate online, I’m not sure that I should’ve done that.

A couple facts:

  • My home inspection report states that I have a “Vermont slate finish…A few had been replaced with West Virginian slates.”
  • No scaffold or tower was required for the repairs. They just used ladders.

My questions:

  • How much should the installation of 15-20 synthetic slates cost? Most of the slates are easily accessible. I’ve yet to pay for the repair and I want to make sure I’m not being ripped off.
  • Should I have the synthetic slate replaced with actual slate?


A roofer who “specializes” in slate should have no issue obtaining new or used slates. If they can’t they have no buisness being in the slate repair buisness. Post some pics of your repairs. If the old slate are shot (starting to crumble to dust), then i’ll let it slide but if your existing slates are fine (most likely) then you got ripped off.


My slate roof is not crumbling to dust. I didn’t get ripped off because I haven’t paid them yet.

How much would it costs to have 15-20 slate tiles repaired with slate?

I can’t answer that question without being on the job. The act of changing a slate is actually quite simple. What isn’t simple is getting access to each individual slate. So obviously a slate I can reach easily from the ladder isn’t gonna be the same as slate at the highest point of some crazy steep roof that I need to spend 2 hrs setting up roof jacks and planks to be able to get access to.

P.s. walking on roof slates is a big no no.

Here is the bad news. Since you let them proceed I assume legally (and ethically imo) you still owe them for their work.

1 Like

It’s not ethically problematic for them to have lied to me leading me to ok that they proceed? There’s zero mention of using synthetic tiles in the quote I agreed to.

Frankly, regardless of legal and ethical concerns, what I agreed to pay for (and the amount I agreed to pay) and what they did are potentially 2 different things. So, it’s possible that I could contest the charges if there was a need to do so. It’s not something I’m looking to do.

I’m not a roofer, so I’m trying to educate myself to determine if what they’re charging me for and the service and product they delivered are equitable. So I ask again (assuming that 95% of the tiles are easily accessible which they are):

  • Approximately how much would it cost to replace 15-20 tiles with slate tiles?
  • Approximately how much would it cost to replace 15-20 tiles with synthetic slate tiles?

I understand you can’t give me an exact quote and I’m not asking for that. I’m just asking for a general number.

They were onsite for like 2 hours. There were 3 guys. 1 of them went up the ladders. 1 held the ladders. 1 just stood and watched.


I would charge the exact same amount for the repair weather they are real slate or synthetic slate (even though I would never use synthetic for that purpose). Labor is the same and material cost is similar.

If they are truly easy to access slates then I could probably in the $700 range. I know I’m far cheaper than all the other guys who do slate repairs in my area though. I just worry if no one repairs slate at an affordable rate then homeowners will tear off the whole roof for minor issues and replace with asphalt (such a shame when it happens).

I suspect you hired someone who specialized in synthetic slate and not real slate (even if they had the word slate in their company name). The line “you can’t even get new slate” is a dead giveaway.


You are a good roofer IslandRoofing!
I do think you are giving your work away
In this instance
At that price, for that much work.

I dont believe that he lied.

IslandRoofing, thanks for your responses. Why would you charge the same? Isn’t it a different process to install the different materials? Is the material cost not different?

Interesting that you don’t believe he lied roof_lover. The owner who came out to give me the estimate was not there for the job and when I questioned the use of synthetic slate and how it wasn’t mentioned in either the onsite estimate or the written version I received after that, his workers’ response was “Oh, I’ve been working for him for 20 years and he hasn’t actually been on a job in years and has no idea how we do things now.” I should’ve shut it down right there but this was a recommendation from a neighbor and I felt that carried weight. The workers were the ones who also went on to tell me that they “couldn’t get real slate anymore” which I think we can agree is false, no?

Also, one of the installed synthetic slates has fallen out already which has me concerned.

Also, when they were “finished” I came out to discover that they had missed a bunch of missing and loose tiles and had to go around and point them out for them. Granted, there are spots where it’s hard to see from certain vantage points, but they weren’t impossible to see and it is their profession.

No, i cant get it either
And i dare say i live in the biggest supplier of roofing material in the united states.
Dozens of professional roofing suppliers all giving professional Roof top deliveries.
Almost None of them would have it in their inventory if i asked.

And no, i dont believe he lied.
You say him not mentioning that it is “synthetic” makes it a lie.
You are stretching.

Oh hell, if you think there were only 15-20 spots, you got another thing coming…

When i replace someones roof, they think they only had One or two spots leaking,
When in reality it was more like Ten times that amount, it just hadnt showed itself on the ceiling yet.

There is no way in hell i would just randomly give a general proposal to fix “all the broken tiles that the homeowner could point out”
Is it 15 or is it 20?
It is now 30 you think?
See where we are going here?
If i told you how much i would charge you after searching far and wide from some far away state locating your slate tile… it would hurt your feelings.

Slate is natural rock he can still get it.

Your slates should be replaced with actual real slate.

How much this should cost none of us know because pricing varies widely within any given market much less region.

1 Like

roof_lover, you’re jumping around all over the place and restating things I didn’t say.

  1. I didn’t say he lied because he didn’t tell me they use synthetic slates. I said his guys lied when they said you can’t get natural slate so that I would let them start working.
  2. It seems you agree that the way I was quoted makes no sense considering they gave me a range of 15-20 slates to repair
  3. I live in an area with a ton of old houses and slate roofs. There’s roofing supply places that specialize in slate tiles. I’m not a roofer. I don’t know what the latest methods for repairing slate roofs are. Only after the fact, when I looked it up do I see that it’s potentially not a good product and can curl and other things and that in fact natural slate is available.
  4. The way they installed the synthetic slates seems to be nothing like the way you install natural slate. They cleaned out the broken slate tile or cleared pieces of missing tiles, then cut the synthetic to size, shoved it in and used clear caulk on the lower edge to keep it in place. Upon further educating myself, it seems this might not be the best method.

Do you often respond to people’s posts blowing them up instead of trying to better understand and help?

Axiom, thanks for your response. I live in SE Pennsylvania if that’s helpful at all.

I ask about pricing because it seems to vary wildly from contractor to contractor.

I’m pretty sure there are still active slate quarries in your state. In my area (SW Virginia) slate runs around $12 per piece. That’s from an aechitectural salvage place. The 3 local roofing supply houses can order it for me, but it’s a 1 sqr (100 sq ft) minimum order at around $600 or so.

I just dont think any roofer lied.
The salesman or the laborer.
If ya wanna call that “blowing up”
Have at it.

Pay the man! That’s my opinion.

Mr Bloom is under the assumption by the responses here that his roofer could have gone to his corner roofing supplier and picked up the slate tile to do his repair.