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The natural slate used for roofing in the UK probably will have had its origins in Cornwall, North Wales, Cumbria or Scotland.

These slates come in shades of grey some can have tints of blue or plum. They have a long life span many lasting for more than a century. The nails fixing them are more likely to corrode than the slates themselves.

When they do come to the end of their life one problem is delamination when the tile becomes porous and let in the rain.

Slates are expensive as they have to be quarried and cut, but their longevity cannot be matched by man made alternatives. Many people would argue that nothing can match their look either.

There are alternatives to UK slate some of which are cheaper:

CANADIAN - is seen as a good alternative with a good record for longevity.

SPANISH - the drawback with this material is that it is softer that some other types of slate. It also has an unpredictable grain which can split. Having said this it does have a life span of between 40 and 50 years.

CHINESE - the iron oxide content in these can cause the slate to go rusty. Its brittle texture can make the tile hard to fit without experiencing problems with cracking.

CONCRETE - The heaviness of these slates can mean the roof timbers need to be strengthened before the slates can be laid. They come in shades of grey but when it comes to looks, their authenticity often comes into question.

COMPOSITE - This modern solution to slate does not weather as well as the natural material, and in just 10 years some makes can look a little weather beaten. It gives a smooth finish rather than the more natural look obtained by using actual slates.


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The Almost Impartial Home Improvement Guides - For Suppliers and Installers of kitchens, bathrooms, double glazing, conservatories, driveways, garage conversions awnings in the following areas:

South East England ~ Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, London, Middlesex, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Sussex, Isle of Wight,
South West England ~ Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire
East Anglia ~ Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk
English Midlands ~ Birmingham, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire
North East England ~ Durham, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, North, East, South, West Yorkshire
North West England ~ Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside.
Scotland ~ Aberdeenshire, Angus, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dumfries & Galloway, Fife, Highlands & Islands, Perth & Kinross, Scottish Borders, Ayrshire
Wales ~ Clwyd, Dyfed, Gwent, Gwynedd, Mid-Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, Powys, South Glamorgan, West Glamorgan

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