Since slate is a fully natural material, it has always been available to man, and it has been used as roof tiles since far back in time. The strength of the material is excellent, while it is also easy to shape for the experienced slater. It is largely maintenance free, as it was naturally formed to withstand even the harshest weather conditions.
Slate roofs in Sweden are dominated by slate from the three largest slate districts of Sweden. The slate quarry of Grythyttan in Västmanland, the slate quarry of Glava in Värmland and the parish of Dalskog and Gunnarsnäs in Dalsland. There is also a certain amount of foreign slate in Sweden. It has been imported mainly from England and Spain, which are large producers of slate.The three main categories of slate usage are:
Slate was a common roof material during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Demand lowered after that time, and the quarries were closed one after the other.
Slate is today an exclusive material, which some real estate owners opt to remove, due to higher cost of re-laying it. However, because a slate roof lasts very long, it becomes clear that it is economically the most sound option if the longetivity of a slate roof is taken into account. Most of (80-90%) the Swedish slate can be re-used when it is re-layed, so those who have once invested in the material will only need to replace a part of the tiles in the case of re-laying the roof.
Slate, being a fully natural material, will give the house a more personal touch. A house does not consist of a facade alone; the roof is also a part of the general impression, and slate is very beautiful to the eye.
If you want to learn more about roof slate, you can download a very interesting master's thesis (in swedish) here. In order to view it, you will need Acrobat Reader. If you don't have it installed, it can be downloaded free of charge from Adobe by clicking the icon below.