Slate Roof Resource For Architects

Specifying slate roofs should not be a difficult task and the NSA makes it easy with our slate specification template. It provides clear instructions on the intent, performance, and construction of the project. You will learn about the type of slate, what nails to use, underlayment material, tools required, installation and removal techniques. All these details are critical when specifying a slate roof and it’s helpful to get advice from the NSA to feel comfortable that you won’t miss any element. More so, we offer architects a network of contractors and homeowners that require assistance or opportunities with others working in slate roofs!

Benefits of joining the National Slate Association:

  • Slate specification sheet at your fingertips
  • Expert advice from the NSA board to guide through the tough questions
  • Use the NSA manual for comprehensive outlines of all slate related material
Slate roof architects association in the USA


Are there any specific challenges architects commonly encounter when working on slate roof projects?
  • The key challenge is in understanding the full range of design possibilities that are available with natural slate that are not available with other roofing products, including synthetic shingles.
  • Design possibilities associated with natural slate roofs include graduated and textural roofs, Dutch and French lap methods, swept eaves and rakes, staggered butts, custom blends of colors and thicknesses, and an unlimited array of patterns that can be woven into the shingle coursing. Of course, this is in addition to slate’s impeccable reputation for longevity and resistance to color fading.
Why should architects use the NSA slate specification template in their projects?
  • The NSA guideline slate specification was written by industry experts for use by design professionals.
  • The specification serves as a “checklist” for all of the details critical to a successful slate roof installation.
  • The specification provides assurance that long-established industry standards and guidelines are being followed.
What are the recommended tools and techniques highlighted in the NSA resources for slate roof installation and removal?
  • Slater’s tools are unique to the trade; they include slate hammers, rippers, stakes, slate cutters, and punches. Descriptions and photographs of these tools can be found in Chapter 2 of NSA’s Slate Roofs, Design and Installation Manual, 2010 Edition.
What resources are available to assist design professionals with the design of new slate roofs and repair of existing slate roofs?
  • Slate Roofs, Design and Installation Manual, 2010 Edition, an award- winning, go-to authority on all of the information necessary to properly specify slate roof installation and repair projects.
  • Comprehensive, editable guideline specifications 
  • Technical Bulletins delving into the history, economics, and intricacies of slate roofing.
  • AutoCAD and PDF details that can be incorporated into design documents. When used on conjunction with the detailing notes contained in the Slate Roofs, Design and Installation Manual, the AutoCAD details can be readily customized to suit almost any project. 
  • Slate roof consultants, some of whom are listed on NSA’s website, are most capable of independently assessing the condition of existing slate roofs and can assist with the detailing and specification of slate roofing projects or provide peer review services for designs already on the boards.
How do I find a list of approved slate roofing contractors?
  • Involvement in industry associations is one measure of a contractor’s dedication to the trade and desire to stay abreast of, and even influence, industry trends and advancements. As such,
  • NSA’s searchable membership list is a good place to start.
  • The membership lists of other roofing trade associations, such as the Slate Roofing Contractors Association (SRCA), National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), Northeast Roofing Contractors Association (NERCA), Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA), and other regional trade associations can also be a valuable resource.
  • Historical review boards and associations, and slate quarriers and suppliers often have knowledge of local slaters.
  • Slate roof consultants and preservation architects frequently can provide references based on first-hand experience.
  • NRCA’s ProCertification Slate Roofs Program is in its nascent stages (as of Spring 2024), but will soon be providing the names of installers who have passed a rigorous exam process and earned the title of “ProCertified.”


Instructional Videos

QR code

National Slate Association’s Mobile Field Guide

mobile.slateassociation.org is available free of charge via an internet browser on your smart-phone* or tablet when an internet connection is available.Or you may also scan the QR code here with your QR reader.

Click here to download the Mobile Field Guide press release.

*The NSA Mobile Field Guide is best viewed on iPhones, iPads and the newer Android phones. Windows® smart phones are not supported at this time. The mobile site is not intended or formatted for desktop computers or laptops.