Slate Vs Tile Roof: What’s the Difference for Residential Solar Users?

Are you planning to go solar? Your roof might get in your way.

For homeowners interested in switching to solar energy, understanding if your roof can handle a solar array is critical. Asphalt shingles may be a crowd favorite (90% of homes have them), but roof tiles and slates can better accommodate solar arrangements.

It’s important to know the difference between a tile and a slate roof before installing solar panels.

Understanding the Difference Between Tile and Slate Roofs

The slate vs tile roof debate has been a long-standing dilemma for homeowners planning roof revamps or replacements.

Slate or tile roof closely resemble each other and are even laid in similar ways. Unless you’re an architect or builder, differentiating between the two based on appearance can be a challenge.

If you have ever used a roofing cost calculator, you’d know that slates are far more expensive and luxurious than tiles. Slate roofs cost between $10 and $30 per square foot of installation, whereas tiles cost only $8 to $25.


What is a slate roof, and why is it so expensive? Slate is made from naturally occurring metamorphic rocks. Artificial ones have become common in recent years, but both are expensive.

Slate is stacked in layers and held together with nails. It requires specialized roofing experts for installation.

These are a few reasons why, between roof tiles and slates, the latter is more expensive.

the Difference Between Tile and Slate Roofs


Tiles, usually made from clay or concrete, come in a variety of materials, shapes, colors, and sizes—they are far more versatile than slate.

Generally bigger in size than slate, tiles can also be interlocked with each other, making them easier to install.

Compare and Contrast

Both are heavy roofing materials, and you may need considerable reinforcements when going for either slate or tile roof. But the good news is that whether you choose a slate or tile roof, either option will last long without requiring heavy-duty maintenance.

The average life of such a roof is 50 years and longer under ideal conditions.

Roof tiles and slates each have their pros and cons. As for solar compatibility, slate or tile roof—what is the better choice?

Choosing between types of roofing materials can be tricky.

Choosing Between Slate and Tile Roofing

Consider the following factors before starting the roof installation process. This will help you decide between a slate or tile roof.


Slates are natural insulators, in addition to being waterproof, wind resistant, and inflammable. Even artificial slates have these qualities. Therefore, various types of roof slates can reduce overall energy consumption. These are also far more environmentally-friendly than asphalt shingles.

Once installed, slate provides excellent grip to solar panels—the mounting remains steadfast. Slate roofs with solar panels are the best combination for areas that experience snow.

Tiles share these qualities with slates. There are many different types of roof tiles available in the market, and all are durable and provide good insulation.

So in the slate vs tile roof debate, both fare well in optimizing energy consumption.

These are highly sturdy roofing materials. After your solar panels are installed, they will not need extensive maintenance.

Ease of Installation

Tiles have a significant advantage over slates in terms of installation. Slates are highly susceptible to damage from direct impact. Each one must be carefully removed before mounting the brackets for the solar panels.

Installing solar panels on a tiled roof is similar, but not nearly as complex. While you can install solar panels on tiles, you need a trained roofing expert for slates.

Pitch & Orientation

Slated roofs are often very steep, while tiles can be laid at a low angle of inclination. Given that solar panels perform well at an inclination that matches the latitude of your location, you will get better results with tiled roofs.

Solar systems perform best when laid perpendicular to the sun’s rays. Between roof tiles and slates, tiles let you get as close to the ideal position as possible.

Slate roofs can be quite steep. Unless you redo it completely, you will have to make peace with a marginal loss in the efficiency of your solar system. Between roof tiles and slates, tiles fare better in this respect.

However, as long as you can orient your panels towards the south (for the northern hemisphere) and north (for the southern hemisphere), your solar panels will perform very well.


Tiles have a definitive cost advantage over slates in the slate vs tile roof debate.

Slated roofs are expensive. If you are considering reroofing or repairing before installing solar panels, you will spend more if you have slates. Labor costs may be higher because slated roofs require highly trained experts. Only solar roofing companies specializing in it can do the work.

Your budget should be one of the biggest deciding factors between roof tiles and slates. Going solar is already cost-intensive, so having a slated roof can blow a bigger hole in your pocket.

Cost Advantage of Tiles Over Slates


Under ideal conditions, roof tiles and slates are long-lasting.

Slates can even last for 100 years! Though tiles are also durable (30 to 60 years), they don’t compare to the reliability of slates.

But weighing the cost factor, opting for tiles over shingles or slates is best because they provide better value for money.

AMECO’s Quality Roofing Solutions Can Help

AMECO can help you with comprehensive roof installation services. From composite shingle roofing replacement to tile roof replacement, there are a plethora of solutions and services to choose from.

In addition to providing the best-in-class roofing solutions, AMECO has also partnered with Hover to offer customers a 3D home builder. This tool allows homeowners like you to understand which roof materials and colors best work for them. The wrong roof can drive up the cost of going solar and delay your plans. Let AMECO help you get started on the right foot. To know more, visit the website.