The durability of artificial slate under the microscope

Artificial slate is now once again a real alternative to natural slate, after the world has recovered from the asbestos shock: the carcinogenic fibers can no longer be found in products today, the ingredients have changed radically. Overall, today's Eternit panels bring numerous advantages, but what about durability?

What is artificial slate made of anyway?

To find out how durable artificial slate is, it is worth taking a look at the ingredients. The basic component is still the fiber cement, which was previously mixed with asbestos fibers. Some panels are mixed with synthetic resin, but there are now also products that are completely synthetic resin-bonded.

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And then there are those slates of slate that contain glass fibers for reinforcement. They are real lightweights. The variety of materials is therefore relatively large, which is why it is not possible to make a general statement about durability. But there are rough guidelines.

Which is more durable: natural or artificial slate?

This question is easy to answer: natural slate is much more durable than artificial slate, but unfortunately also a lot more expensive. There are also differences within the various classes of natural slate, which is why we have to differentiate here as well.

A high oil content makes natural slate more durable, which is why the Moselle slate and the Rhenish slate are so popular. Spanish shale, on the other hand, tends to contain less oil and is therefore not quite as durable.

Natural slate can hold onto the facade and roof for more than 100 years or more, depending on how heavily it is used. Unfortunately, artificial slate can't do that, no matter how desirable.

Important: Inquire about UV resistance!

When buying artificial slate, you should ask the respective manufacturer about the shelf life of their products. An important point is also the UV resistance, because the surfaces tend to fade with regular exposure to sunlight.

As a rule of thumb, synthetic slate panels outdoors will last around 30 to 40 years, after which they will no longer look beautiful, will leak and should be replaced. However, they also have some interesting advantages in return:

  • comparatively low price
  • light weight
  • «Real« slate look
  • homogeneous color
  • reliable weather protection
  • Pre-drilled for assembly
  • Fiber cement is not flammable
  • Possibly. can also be used as insulating material
Tips & Tricks Eternit panels that are more than 30 years old should first be tested for asbestos before you dispose of them. If asbestos fibers become airborne, they can cause serious damage if you inhale and you should protect yourself from that.