You can rightfully consider slate roofing an art. It requires skilled craftsman who will pay the closest attention to each detail as they set each slate in its place by hand nailing every piece. These are craftsman who do not cut corners to save time but apply the rules of the “Slate Roof Bible” which is adopted by the Florida building codes as the authority for installations.
All installations require copper or stainless metals for all of their flashings, the wire clip hangers and the nails used to fasten them to the roof decking. Lead must be used for plumbing stacks and all other vents should be fashioned out of copper. Aside from the appeal of these metals by their appearance any other corrosion-resistant metal will either react adversely in their application or corrode prematurely to the life of the slate roof and forcing a replacement. A slate roof will outlive you so its metal components should be of a material that compliments the same expectation.
The weights of roofing slates are limiting to their uses for typical residential homes. The one-quarter to three-eighths slate roof weigh about one thousand pounds per ten foot square area. The weights graduate accordingly with the sizes that increase in one-quarter inch increments all the way to the three-quarter to one inch "heavies" that weigh three thousand pounds per ten foot square area. Beautiful as they are, slate roofs need a substantial structure in order to support them.
The natural colors of the roofing slates come in six basic colors but there are variations and combinations of these colors that will increase the selection. The basic colors are: semi-weathering grey/green, grey, unfading grey/green, royal purple, Vermont black and unfading red. The more popular colors used are the blacks and the unfading grey/greens.
The largest manufacturer of roofing slates is EverGreen Slate Company. They ship all their quarried slates from Vermont which has what is considered to be the finest slate quarries in the country. They are expensive, they are timeless and they are some of the most beautiful roofs ever crafted.