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Keith A. Schneider
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Default cost for slate or synthetic slate roof?

Hello, I would like a general estimate for the cost of a slate or
synthetic slate roof. I am in the process of buying a Queen Anne house
that originally had slate on it (in fact the slate is still there, plus
at least two layers of asphalt shingles that were nailed over the top).
The roof is about 4200 squre feet and generally has a pitch of 12:12 (45
degrees). There are three chinmeys, and a number of valley and ridges.

I have gotten estimates for a complete tearoff with architectural
asphalt shingles in the range of $20,000 to $30,000, and the estimate
from an FHA consultant who was pricing things out for my loan is about

I would like to have a slate roof, or synthetic slate perhaps if it is
much more affordable. But I just called a contractor in the city
(Rochester, NY) who does high-end roofs, and he estimated over the phone
that a slate roof job could easily cost up to $3000 per square (or
$126,000). The FHA consultant had mentioned offhand, when I asked him,
that a slate roof would probably cost about $50,000 for this house.

On thisoldhouse.com in an article talking about synthetic slate, they
uote a contractor who says he'll probably be charging about $700 to $900
per quare for a synthetic slate installation (compared to a $200-300 per
square for 30-year asphalt roof) and $1300-1500 for real slate. I guess
this article is dated, because the lowest estimate I got was about $500
per square for architectural asphalt shingles.

Is there any hope of getting a synthetic slate roof (including copper
flashings, etc.) for about $40,000, or should I just resign myself to
getting asphalt shingles? I'm getting an FHA loan, which includes about
$30,000 for a new roof, but I might be willing to pay a little extra to
get something nicer. I couldn't justify paying too much more, even if I
could afford it, since I might be overimproving the house relative to
the neighborhood.

Thanks for any advice,

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