Slate can be made into roofing slats, which are installed by a slater. They are a roof shingle, or more specifically a type of roof tile. Slate has two lines of breakability – cleavage and grain – which makes it possible to split the grain into thin sheets.
When broken, slate retains a natural appearance while remaining relatively flat and easy to stack. A “slate-boom” occurred in Europe from the 1870’s until the first world war allowed the use of the steam engine in manufacturing slate tiles and improvements in the road and waterway transportation systems.
Slate in Knoxville is particularly suitable for as a roofing material in as it has an extremely low water absorption index, less than .04%which makes it resistant to frost damage. Areas of weakness on the tile are fewer since no holes have to be drilled.
Roofing features such as valleys or domes, are easier to create since narrow tiles can be used.
Hook fixing is particularly suitable in regions subject to to sever weather conditions since there is a greater resistance to wind uplift as the lower edge of the slate is secured.
The metal hooks, however, visible and may be unsuitable for historic purposes.