It's no secret that having a real slate shingles dramatically improves the over all appearance of your home. When compared with asphalt shingle, well there really is no comparison, other then the fact that your costs for real slate will be perhaps as much as 5 to 8 times more. Now with all the new materials constantly being developed in the roofing industry, there is a viable alternative to real slate.
Imitation slate shingles are made from recycled rubber. They can give you up to 50 years of life, and because rubber is so easily recycled, once they're done they can easily be turned into something completely different. The imitation slate shingles are fairly costly as compared to other types of fiberglass, metal or asphalt roofing shingles, but the increased lifespan of around 50 years will make up for that.
The problem with real slate shingles is that you will need to hire a professional to install them. Not only for the initial installation, but you'll also have call out a pro if one or several of them happen to brake. It may only take a few minutes to repair, but you pay for their minimum 1 hour rate, so it's not cheap.
You should be able to find imitation slate shingles for about half the cost of the real thing. In addition, although they are much more expensive then asphalt, the benefit of being able to recycle them is one big bonus. After you're done with those old asphalt singles, they will sit around trying to decompose in your landfill for over a hundred years.
Therefore, if you've been thinking of going with real slate shingles, you can now look at the imitation slate shingles as a viable, natural alternative. You can have a great looking home all the while, really doing your part in cleaning up your environment.