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Apr 15

Roofing Your Addition (and Songs to Enjoy Your Roof)

Posted by C. Mason Hearn in value, roofing, remodeling, design, additions


I have a house with a slate roof.  I am thinking about putting on an addition but fear that continuing the slate would be very expensive.  Is there a less-costly alternative that would not look too disjointed?  I was thinking of a metal roof of some kind.  What do you think?

DM,  Richmond, VA


Dear DM:

OK; first... determine your favorite roof song of all time:

When this old world starts getting me down, and people are just to much for me to take (up on the roooofffff....)

Tear the roof off the sucka, tear the roof off the sucka; gotta tear the roof off the sucka

Who let the dogs out (roof...roof, roof...roof-roof!)

Know that these have little or nothing to do with your roof selection.  I am, however, getting in-shape for a possible call to "Don't Forget the Lyrics".

The very popular blue-gray slate topping many older homes around Richmond is likely Buckingham Slate.  The material is mined and fabricated about 45 minutes west of here, in lovely Arvonia, VA.

A properly-installed Buckingham Slate roof should last 150 years without fading or deterioration.  It is fairly brittle, however; and does not take too well to traffic.  As you apparently are also aware, it is one of the pricier options for roofing, running in the range of $1200 + per square (roofing term for 100 square feet), installed.  By comparison, an asphalt shingle roof may be had for roughly one-fifth of that price.

A typical 500-square-foot addition with a 12:12 roof slope (OK, sorry... another roofer's term - meaning 45-degree-angle) will have roughly seven to nine squares of roofing counting the slope factor, eave overhangs, and some overlap of the existing roofing.  That's about $10,000 worth of slate roof, give or take a few grand.  Maybe $2 - 3,000 for asphalt shingles at the low end.

In between, there are many options.  There are synthetic slate materials, fabricated of recycled rubber or cementitious composites.  These are not cheap; perhaps $700 - 900 per square.  A prefinished standing seam metal roof starts around $600/SQ; you might spend in excess of $1,000/SQ for copper.  All of these prices fluctuate greatly based on particular project extent, detailing, and market conditions for asphalt, metal, etc.

Summarily, there are endless options for roofing.  Important considerations in making a roofing choice for an addition might include price, anticipated lifespan / maintenance, and of course, aesthetics.  I would say that an aesthetically-pleasing addition does not always require matching of existing.  Appropriate, harmonious, and coordinated always come to my mind before "match existing".

So many folks judge a good addition by "looks like it's always been there".  Allow me to run against that grain with one of my favorite Mason-isms... "looks like it always should have been there!"


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Comments (11)Add Comment
written by jasonalonzo, March 28, 2012
More often, roofs from years of usage encounter leakage problems from dripping rain. And estimating cost for roofing should be taken seriously.

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Roofing your addition...this one take a lot of thing in mind so work has to done.
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written by Alen B., July 21, 2011
So, can you provide more options which are chea and affordable besides synthetic slate materials, fabricated of recycled rubber. I'd like to use themhome repair. But good analytical post.
written by John, June 30, 2011
I actually have a roof that I love, but we have really bad storm come through that really did a number to it. Luckily I went to a roofing repair charlotte nc company and they fixed it up and even repaired it.
written by Warner, June 30, 2010
I would like to suggest you that you should try to avoid for putting more slate on your roof. It 'll be very expensive for you. You should try to go for some other option.

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written by Phoeix Roofs, January 18, 2010
Can you post more information on where you found the info on the synthetic roofing material for slate. Also do you have any idea about its ability to stand up to harsher sun exposure. You can get back to me here at

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