Monthly Archives: September 2016

4 Reasons Natural Slate Siding is the Best Investment

Slate siding has caught on as a popular architectural trend in Europe. The material, originally quarried for roofing, has a number of properties that make it a strong contender against classic siding options like wood, stucco, and other kinds of stone.

Here are 4 reasons why natural slate siding is a worthwhile investment:

I. Durable and Reliable

An incredibly strong material, slate siding has a guaranteed lifetime of 75 years, usually lasting upwards of 100. Effective against all elements, slate is adaptable for any environment— fireproof, protective against hail and non-porous, which prevents cracking caused by trapped water.
slate siding
Popular siding options such as stone, stucco and wood require maintenance to withstand the years of weathering. Slate siding, comparably, is entirely maintenance free once installed. While some slate colors will slightly fade, other strains will remain the same color from their first day to their last.

II. Energy Efficient

With improper insulation, heating and cooling systems can have a homeowner hemorrhaging money. Slate siding is thermally insulating, maintaining a steady internal temperature and lowering the strain put on these devices, which saves a considerable amount of money. In terms of sustainable architecture, slate siding has been a choice material for “passive homes”, innovative structures that aim to be as efficient possible without sacrificing comfort.

III. Environmentally Friendly

Considering slate’s natural properties, it requires minimal processing from quarry to construction site.
slate siding
Hand-split by skilled architects, no harmful chemicals are applied and ozone-damaging CO2 emissions are avoided. After a slate quarry has been mined through, most are re-filled with water and stocked with the area’s native flora and fauna.

IIII. Aesthetically Appealing

All functional purposes aside, slate is a gorgeous material that is often specified on high-end projects for its regal and classic appearance. Whether selected for its sleek, darker shades or for bolder greens, purples and reds, slate siding takes a classic material and makes a modern statement that is sure to turn heads.
slate siding
Additionally, adding slate to a structure typically raises its market value, making it an all-around reliable, gorgeous, and savvy investment.

Slate Roofing meets Solar Technology: Introducing ThermoSlate

Solar power has long been pioneering the fight for renewable energy. For years, solar panels have dominated the industry in terms of giving home owners a way to generate clean, sustainable energy while lowering their energy bill. However, solar panels are an obvious fixture, and many high-end homeowners are turned away from their unsightly appearance.
slate roofing thermoslate

Spanish slate company Cupa Pizzaras found a unique solution to this problem. By placing thermal plates under slate roofing, siding, or flooring tiles, the revolutionary ThermoSlate technology allows homeowners to generate up to 2/3 of their yearly water heating needs.

Slate Roofing Technology

Each ThermoSlate panel has an area of 15.6 square feet, and can generate around 67 gallons of hot water per day. By installing the recommended 3 to 4 panels— depending on the size of the roof, facade, or patio— ThermoSlate meets the water heating needs of most households.

slate roofing thermoslate

Hidden beneath slate tiles, each panel collects the thermal energy and uses a glycol heat transfer system to heat the structure’s water tank. Once installed, ThermoSlate is completely invisible— perfect for high-end homes and historic restorations.

slate roofing thermoslate

Properties of a Slate Roof

Slate roofing, alone, is a high-quality material that has a number of qualities that make it very appealing to architects. An eco-friendly material that requires minimal processing, natural slate is non-porous and fireproof. Unlike many other roofing materials, that need replacing after 40 years, slate roofing boasts an impressive lifetime of over 100 years.

thermoslate roofing

Adding slate to your home or property is a great way to boost market value. Sleek, timeless and durable, it is a reliable and gorgeous material that can be used as a statement or to match any scheme. While slate is traditionally thought of as a dark, grey or black stone, natural slate comes in a wide array of colors including green, purple, red, and copper.
slate roofing thermoslate

All images featured have integrated ThermoSlate technology. To learn more, visit Cupa Pizzaras.

Natural slate is a gem of a building material. Fireproof, water resistant, and durable, the stone has an expected lifetime of over 100 years. First used in the days of medieval castles, natural slate is a high-quality material that is a favorite for high-end projects.

About American Slate

Unlike many other building materials, natural slate requires only minimal processing. Quarried out of the sides of mountains with diamond-studded steel cable, slabs of slate are evaluated for quality, sorted, and sawn into smaller slabs. Due to minimal factory processing, the release of harmful CO2 emissions are essentially avoided. No chemicals are applied to the stone, and natural slate uses even less water than terra cotta tiles.

Splitting Natural Slate

These slabs of slate are then passed along to skilled craftsmen whose job is to split the stone into its finished thickness. Using a hammer and a chisel, slate is carefully split and passed along.

natural slate splitting

Being a slate splitter is more than just chiseling away at rocks. Each slab of natural slate is carefully examined to ensure the beauty and quality of this product is up to par. Prior to quarrying, the “overburden”— broken, compromised, or otherwise unusable rock— is removed. After being removed from the mountainside or tunnel, slate is then evaluated at the factory for any compromising flaws.

Problems to Look For

There are several different imperfections to look for when using natural slate— a high water absorption, which can lead to freezing and widening of cracks in the material. A low breaking strength, which will compromise slate’s legendary longevity. Too high of a calcium carbonate content will lead to pockets of “rusting”— an unpleasant, orange pigment will eventually bleed down the roof or siding structure. Slate splitters carefully examine each piece of slate and remove the troublesome pieces.

natural slate rusting

To read an interview with one of Spain’s natural slate splitters, click here.

Check out the Slate Siding on this Contemporary French Hospital

At home in the US, architects are just warming up to the idea of using slate, a popular and high-end roofing material, as siding. Over in Europe, however, slate siding is a familiar trend that has taken modern architecture to new and beautiful levels.

slate siding image via Manuel Rodríguez Fernández
Architectural firm Rochetau Saillard fitted Valentin Vignard Hospital in La Roche-Bernard, France, with a chic slate siding that complements the building’s burnt orange facade. With slanted slate panels on alternating window bays, the structure has a dynamic, textured appearance that is a far cry from what is normally seen in hospital architecture.

slate siding image via Manuel Rodríguez FernándezThe building’s unique, contemporary style also features zinc cladding, clever statement windows, and a bridged walkway between buildings. Constructed in 2004, the building was far from the first nor the last in embracing this modern architecture trend.

Benefits of Slate Siding

Slate siding is arguably one of the most durable construction products on the market. Naturally waterproof, non-porous and protective against hail, slate also maintains a “Class A” Fire Resistance rating, the highest attainable level for fireproofing building materials. Quality slate has an expected lifespan of over 100 years, and unfading selections ensure the facade remains the same appearance throughout its life. Slate siding is particularly helpful in cutting back on electrical bills, as its thermal and acoustically insulating properties maintain a stable internal temperature and lessen the reliance on heating and cooling systems.

slate siding image via Manuel Rodríguez Fernández
Additionally, slate is one of the more environmentally friendly building materials available. Due to its natural properties, slate requires only minimal processing from quarry to construction site. Carved out of the sides of mountains, slate is hand-split by skilled craftsmen who test the quality of the stone before approving the stock. Eliminating the need of heavy machine processing, the release of harmful CO2 into the atmosphere is avoided. No chemicals that may leak into the environment are added to the stone, and slate’s production requires less water than even environmentally-praised terra cotta tiles.

slate siding image via Manuel Rodríguez Fernández
A high quality material, adding slate to any home or structure often improves the market value. Due to its strength against the elements, long life and classic beauty, many high end homes and structures specify this coveted material.

Want to see more inspiration from Europe’s slate siding trend? Check out the gallery below:

ThermoSlate — Slate Tile Meets Solar Power Technology

For years, solar panels have dominated the industry in terms of providing homeowners with clean, sustainable and money-saving energy. A worthwhile investment for both the Earth and bank account, solar panels are a feel-good home improvement that starts paying for itself the day they are installed. Some companies will even buy back unused energy produced.

Unfortunately, some high-end homeowners are turning away from this option due to its glaring, unsightly appearance. For consumers spending valuable time and money making their homes gorgeous, it makes sense they would not want to besmirch all the aesthetic hard work.

Thermal Slate Tile

Spanish slate company CupaPizarras combined their quality slate tile with innovative technology to solve this issue. Slate tile, especially the dark quality that comes from Spain’s quarries, naturally traps a lot of heat. By placing thermal panels underneath these tiles, the company found a way to make eco and wallet-friendly technology entirely invisible.
installed ThermoSlate slate tile
Already, CUPA’s “ThermoSlate” has attracted attention in Europe. Indeed, it looks promising to be the next big step in environmentally-friendly building. Keep reading to learn about all the benefits of this innovative product:


The entire point of solar technology, of course, is that it is a renewable source of energy that does not emit CO2 into our atmosphere. At a time where the health of our planet is at utmost concern, cutting back on our carbon footprint is on the minds of most consumers.
slate tile thermoslate
ThermoSlate does just this. On average, this solar slate tile technology saves about 198 pounds of CO2 emissions per 3 square feet of product.

Slate tile, alone, is very eco-friendly. Due to its innate properties, the stone needs only minimal processing from quarry to construction site. Hand-split by skilled crafters, slate tile does not need any factory manufacturing that releases harmful emissions or chemicals that may leak into the environment. It uses even less water than terra cotta, often renowned as one of the more environmentally-friendly building materials on market.

And, because of its exceptionally long life, slate does not clog up landfills like other shingles do.


Slate tile is one of the most reliable and durable building materials on the market today. Naturally fireproof, water resistant and non-porous, slate can stand up to both freezing hail and wildfire conditions.
slate tile thermoslate
While ThermoSlate comes with a warranty of 75 years, quality slate has a normal life expectancy of over 100 years. To put this number into perspective, asphalt shingles, America’s most common roofing choice, is only expected to live around 30 years.


According to the EPA, the average American household of 4 uses around 400 gallons of water per day. Out of this, around 54% of water used daily is for showering, faucets, and washing machines— meaning about 216 gallons per day have heating needs.
slate tile ThermoSlate
ThermoSlate panels have an area of 15.6 square feet and generate around 67 gallons of heated water per day. Depending on the size of the roof in question, CUPA recommends installing between 3 and 4 of these panels. With 3 panels installed, around 201 gallons of hot water can be produced daily— already nearly reaching the approximate daily water heating needs. Depending on a home’s heated water usage, CUPA estimates that approximately 2/3 of a year’s water heating needs can be met with ThermoSlate technology.


Roofs are not the only place you can install a ThermoSlate panel. Recently, slate siding has become a popular option for many high-end buildings. Thermal and acoustically insulating, slate cladding affords a structure a uniquely sleek and modern touch while also providing element-proof and sturdy protection. ThermoSlate technology can be adapted to fit under these siding tiles, catching the sun at whatever angle hits your home.
slate tile thermoslate
Slate flooring is also extremely popular. ThermoSlate under flooring panels are a great patio option. Non-porous and waterproof, slate’s textured surface makes it naturally non-slip. For homeowners with a pool, this solar technology can be fitted to heat a pool on it’s own.


As mentioned before, ThermoSlate technology is able to circumvent the annoyance of obvious, unsightly solar panels. High-end homeowners often spend a fortune on every detail of their homes. Slapping on a solar panel only takes away from the desired aesthetic.
slate tile ThermoSlate
Once installed, ThermoSlate is completely invisible. Even the most trained eye would not be able to pick out where the panels lay. Being a high-quality material, slate tile often ads value to a home’s market price. With the thermal technology safely hidden underneath, this value can be fully appreciated.

To read more about this innovative technology, visit the CupaUSA website here.