||From wood shakes to real slate
and real tiles, the world of roofing is trying hard to replicate mother
nature's products. Problems with Mother Nature's materials include raw
natural materials now becoming in short supply, becoming prohibitively
expensive, getting hard to get, are reducing in quality and longevity, or
contain huge fire issues or weight issues, its no wonder that the trend
is to replicate the authentic products.
We love the look and
architectural style of the historical and authentic roofing products.
But fire resistance is far more important than than natural look of
cedar shingles and shakes. The ability of a structure to hold up heavy
weight slate, concrete, and clay roofing far outweighs the importance of
its natural appeal. And the ability to walk on many roofs will also
outweigh the advantages of using real slate, real concrete tiles , or
This being said, the largest growing residential roofing product
category in North America is the proliferation of new styles and
materials imitating the real wood and real slate roofing. Of these the
greatest number of new offerings are from the plastics, polymer
modified, synthetics, and rubber roofing producers.
With the advancements in plastics technology, and their industry's
new Ultra-Violet inhibiting ingredients, the plastic injection mold
industry is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. Although not as
inexpensive as real concrete tiles, they are lighter, usually more
walk-able, and look closer to the real slate than "Slate Tiles" can
To really mimic the Parisian and French Country slates which are
uniform and traditional looking, Symphony Slates does a superior job with
their new polymer slates. Symphony
Slate roofing slates are eco-friendly, using recycled
material in the production of their product while not sacrificing
durabilty. They are considered green roofing, and eventually will be
100% recyclable when the roof is finally in need in replacing again.
These authentic looking simulated slates are many designers dream
material for creating ultimate curb appeal on their proud architectural
creations with roofing that looks like the real deal, with none of the
headaches associated with real slate.
For other designers, the biggest hang-up with plastic slates has been the uniformity or
lack of thickness to date. But new manufacturers such as
DaVinci Roofscapes have invented wonderfully thick, well textured, natural
looking slates which contain both colour blends and a variety of sizes
of widths pre-packaged and ready for the roofer to install. You'll have
to look real close to realize that it may not be real slate.
ways it actually looks better with the random sizes, and thicker
texture. Most especially, it takes away the similarity in looks to
asphalt and composition shingles, that many plastic slates often appear
Why use real slate with its fragile nature, its heavy weight, its
expensive copper or stainless steel flashings and fasteners, and
especially its ridiculously expensive materials and installations, when
synthetic slates duplicate the elegance and real architectural value of
the real thing, with none of the usual problems.
DaVinci Slate, like all the synthetics and rubber solutions, are more expensive than cedar shakes and concrete roof
tiles, but with a 50 year warranty and low maintenance, they will pay
off in the long run. Plus the look of the roof will stay new for years
and years where concrete and wood shakes appear aged very quickly in our
west-coast climate. After ten years has passed the investment in Davinci
Slate is most noticeable, as the wood shakes or wood shingles would
already seem ready for replacement. Wood is considered fully depreciated
after only ten years on the roof, yet Davinci would have decades of
performance ahead still... with a warranty too.
Distinctions Composite Slate looks like natural thick slate, but is
very lightweight, and has none of the installation or weight challenges
or real slate. It is an advanced composite material that has a high end
appearance, long term performance, very lightweight at 2.4 pounds per
square foot (especially for its thickness), and it is very fast and easy
The use of recycled materials
makes Distinctions a sustainable roofing product and an environmentally
Distinctions uses 52%
recycled materials in its production, more than any other manufacturer
that we are currently aware of in the roofing industry. And in the
future this roofing material, when it eventually requires replacement,
it will be 100% re-cycleable.
This Composite Slate has been installed on roofs in North America for
more than 7 years now, so the real performance history of this material
has been proven. Distinctions also comes in a tile look format as well,
and both types carry a warranty of 50 years which is backed by the
strength of the parent company Diversi-Plast, a multi-billion sales
Another synthetic roofing material is Lamarite Slate and
Lamarite Shake. Made by Tamko Roofing, an Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer,
Lamarite is a composite slates and shakes
material. They come in 3 widths each of which is just over 1/4" thick x 18" long
and are installed at 8" maximum exposure.
Lamarite is not warranted in Canada or Alaska, by choice of Tamko Roofing. We
currently believe more due diligence is needed prior to selecting this product
for Northern US states or equivalent climates as a result. Tamko must
have some reason for concern for Lamarite roofing to not be used in
Although not as thick as DaVinci or Distinctions, and without the multiple widths and
colour blends of DaVinci, the Lamarite Shakes and Slates may appeal to
those looking for a wood like or thin slate appeal.
Come on by and see our showroom to view all the latest styles and
choices for roofing.