Mini History of Synthetic Slate

Many people think that synthetic slate and shake roofing materials are a new idea. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact synthetic slate tiles were manufactured in Europe in the mid-1800s and manufactured in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century. The tiles were very long-lasting, unaffected by heat or moisture, and fire-proof. These tiles were installed on roofs throughout the US and performed well for many years. There was one problem though; the tiles were about 75% Portland cement and 25% asbestos. And as we all know we started figuring out in the 1970s and early 1980s that asbestos was not the best thing for our lungs.

Once the manufacturers of synthetic slate and synthetic shake found they could no longer use asbestos they had to make a quick change to a different kind of filler. Most companies chose an organic (cellulose) fiber. This new formulation for tiles that used cellulose instead of asbestos generally didn’t work very well. There were many issues including, crazing, cracking, delamination, and deterioration.There are some parts of the country where these problems gave synthetic slate and shake a very bad name.

When we started work developing the formula and process for DaVinci tiles in the mid-1990s we had the advantage of being able to reference the success and failures of past roofing products. That knowledge — along with new technologies — allowed us to create the highly engineered polymer system and the unique injection molding color system we use today. This engineered polymer system is an ideal material for a roof covering and allows DaVinci to be installed in all geographic areas and climates. There are DaVinci roofs in all 50 U.S. States and internationally from the cold climates of Canada to the warmth of Bali, Indonesia.