Slate tile has, for centuries, been a reliable and high-end roofing option. Originally used on the roofs of medieval castles, natural slate is as timelessly beautiful as it is durable.
Recently, a trend in Europe has re-imagined this classic roofing material as a modern, environmentally-friendly siding option. Slate siding is acoustically and thermally insulating, ensuring that a constant internal temperature is kept and thus lowering the strain on heating and cooling systems. It has a Grade A fire resistance level, which is the highest level a building material can achieve in terms of fireproofing. Slate siding is also resistant to hail, acid rain, and has an expected lifetime of over a hundred years. It has even been known to withstand hurricane wind over 97 miles per hour.
Structural benefits aside, using slate siding creates modern and gorgeous architectural statement. Take a look at the slate-sided buildings below to inspire your next project:
These modern rest houses in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, are covered in 3 different sizes of natural slate siding. Slate tiles measuring 30×60, 30×30, and 30×20 were installed to form the textured “longhouse”-like structures in 2014. Tall, skinny windows arch up along the sides of these buildings to lend a skylight effect.
These structures were constructed in the resort town of Palanga, Lithuania. A high-end resort, slate siding was specified to give each home a unique, modern flair. Built in 2015, these structures feature large windows and metal balconies, and stand sentry on the shore of the Baltic Sea.
On the northern bank of the Kaunas Reservoir sits the Lithuanian town of Rumsiskes. While the southern part of the town is underwater from an artificial lake, this house remains as a nod to modern architecture. Constructed in 2013, the home’s wooden facade both compliments and contrasts the natural slate siding.
These modern multi-family housing units in Lithuania’s capital feature large, pocketed balconies that offer both privacy to its occupants as well as a unique, modern design. Built in 2016, these housing units feature varying shades of wood and natural slate siding.
For more information on these slate siding projects, visit CUPA USA.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Considering slate’s natural properties, it requires minimal processing from quarry to construction site.
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.
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.
Additionally, adding slate to a structure typically raises its market value, making it an all-around reliable, gorgeous, and savvy investment.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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:
Across the pond, many architects are turning to natural slate siding as a stylish, reliable cladding option. Used as durable roofing since medieval castle-building days, modern architects are reimagining this coveted roofing material as siding, creating beautiful statement buildings across Europe. At home in the United States, this trend is already starting to trickle in to the industry.
This apartment complex in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia is one of a couple buildings that have embraced slate siding to create a chic, unique design. Situated directly across from the High Museum of Art, the sleek facade stands out in a high-end area of the city. The owner of the structures wanted “something different”, according to contractor Jason Smith of Siding Source, LLC, and selected slate for a timeless yet modern touch.
As a high-quality product, natural slate often ads additional value to its parent building. Other than affording a beautiful aesthetic to any structure, natural slate has a number of properties that make it one of the most reliable siding materials available. Fireproof and water-resistant, quality slate is an incredibly durable stone that boasts a lifetime of 100+ years. Many strains of natural slate have an unfading quality that maintains the same color throughout their lives. The cladding system used in this building was constructed so that an air pocket is created underneath the tiles, ensuring a constant airflow that eliminates harmful moisture buildup. Should the slate outlive its building, tiles can be removed and used in another project.
Natural slate is also one of the most environmentally-friendly building materials, defeating even terra-cotta tiles in terms of water usage. Many other materials have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, clogging up landfills. Slate, in comparison, has more than triple this expectancy. From mine to building site, slate tile requires minimal processing, cutting out harmful CO2 emissions and saving energy and water. Using slate tiles as siding also has great thermal and acoustic properties. Keeping a constant internal temperature severely lessens the energy demand of heating and cooling systems, lowering not only money spent on these utilities, but also any harmful by-products they may produce.
Check out the gallery below for more photos of this unique project:
Used for centuries as a durable, weather-resistant roofing material, natural slate siding is breaking into the industry as an artistic and reliable cladding option. A popular high-end material, slate tiles are long-lasting, eco-friendly, and beautiful. Adding slate tile to a building not only increases its value, but affords a unique and creative flair. Slate’s gorgeous textures and hues have become a favorite for architects to create works of art through modern statement buildings.
Here’s 5 awesome buildings to inspire your next slate siding project:
This bold design in Copenhagen’s Open Harbor has been turning a lot of heads. Featuring staggered, slate-covered dormers and bays, the building is 6 stories high and is home to 89 apartments. Amidst the surrounding historical warehouses, this 3D masterpiece certainly stands out.
This Copenhagen assisted living facility is one of 193 buildings to get a face-lift with slate siding. This project specified natural slate tile to adhere to sustainable architecture and create a low-energy building. The timeless slate pairs nicely with the staggered porches, adding depth to the clever facade.
Small, haphazardly-arranged windows and large glass walls marry to create a design that captures the free-willed creativity of childhood. This Kindergarten in Copenhagen is covered in the lasting, durable slate siding that affords a sleek look to the building while providing strong and element-proof protection.
This social housing unit for a mining community in Astrias, Spain, has covered its 1,500 square meter surface in natural slate tile. Large, outcropping windows afford an edgy and 3D appearance to the building. At night, the position of these windows affords the surrounding area a light, friendly glow.
This youth housing center in Denmark used sustainable architecture techniques to create a slick, compact building. Nestled between red brick, the sleek grey stone and pockets of white porches give the block a distinct personality. It’s tall windows and open air design round out a building any tenant would be proud to call home.
For more information on these projects, please visit CupaPizarras.com.