Frequently Asked Questions

What quality control measures are employed for roofing tiles at Buckingham® Slate? Every care is taken to ensure your Buckingham® Slate product is of the finest quality and craftsmanship. It starts in the quarry, where slabs are carefully extracted and graded. Additional quality control measures are implemented along the entire process of the products manufacturing including a final step where each piece of slate is inspected prior to being shipped or palletized.

If I order Buckingham® Slate at two different times, will the slate look different? One of the unique features of Buckingham® Slate is its genuine unfading quality. Buckingham slate is frequently used on additions or in multiple buildings over long periods of time with no signs of fading. Buckingham® Slate has been quarried out of the same vein for over 150 Years. In the event an addition to the project is desired, you can rest assured that our unfading blue black slate will match.

What is the advantage of buying a domestic product such as Buckingham® Slate? The fossil fuels used to transport container ships across the ocean are an important aspect when considering a domestic product (environmental sustainability). An additional advantage includes having a resource in the event more materials are required during the course of the job. Further, domestic and locally-sourced products can apply towards your green building goals.

Is Buckingham® Slate considered a “green” product and what does that mean? Buckingham® Slate is a natural stone (not man made). There are no chemicals used in the manufacturing of our product, in fact each slate product is hand split by craftsman. Additionally, because we are a domestic quarry, thousands of gallons of fossil fuels are not being used in transportation of the product during shipping across the ocean. The use of Buckingham® Slate on your jobsite can most likely be applied towards your green building goals such as achieving LEED® certification, etc.

What size and thickness is standard for Buckingham® Slate? Buckingham® Slate is so strong across the grains of the natural stone that is allows us the ability to split our material in a wide range of sizes and thickness. In roofing tiles, we stock a 3/8" and a 3/16" thickness while having over 46 different sizes available to choose from. Customers can also request roofing slate for special order ½”- 1" in thickness. For other products, we custom cut and split to order. We are also able to manufacture products ranging from ¼” thick and up in our Flooring and Custom/Structural applications.

How do you install slate roofing? Buckingham® Slate roofs are considered permanent roofs and there are many examples of Buckingham® Slate roofs that are over 150 years and have no sign of wear or decay. However, proper installation is a key factor in getting the most out of our slate. We recommend using a professional slate roof contractor that has experience in installing slate roofs. Your local roofing supply company can usually give you contractor names or there are organizations such as the National Slate Roofing Contractors Association and National Slate Association that will supply contractor names.

What kind of warranty comes with Buckingham® Slate? The warranty of our slate can be seen in the fact that we have proof of our materials on buildings that have lasted for over 100 years. This gives the customer tangible evidence that their roof is a lifetime product. However, if at any time during the life of the structure, for which the slate was originally purchased, it should fade or deteriorate, the slate will be replaced by this company. This does not include any installation issues, which is why getting professional installation is an important part of any building process.


What is the difference between Buckingham® genuine unfading slate and other “unfading” slate?
Many slates use the term "unfading" or semi weathering. Many of the slates are foreign slates being marketed with domestic names such as Colonial or Historic but have only recently been introduced to the market. The best testing that any material can go through is simply ''time''. Many of these new products have not been exposed to or withstood this most important test. We can point to any number of roofs that are in excess of 100 years that have shown no signs of fading. Fading is a typical sign of an inferior product and the beginning of the breakdown process of the material.

Where is Buckingham® Slate quarried? Buckingham® Slate has been continuously quarried in the Arvonia Virginia area of Central Virginia since 1867. Discovered by Welshman in the 1800's as a superior slate, Buckingham® Slate can been found on quality structures throughout the world. Additionally, we are the ONLY slate quarry in the state of Virginia and the only place that quarries and manufactures Buckingham® Slate.

Will you ship the slate to me? We can arrange for shipping to you upon request. We use both common carriers and private trucking companies to ship our material to customers throughout the United States.

Can I buy directly from Buckingham® Slate? Buckingham® Slate has an extensive group of distributors located throughout the United States that can give some advantages to customers interested in purchasing our material, but customers may also call for pricing and buy direct from us.

Can I come to visit the quarry and see the products you are making? We invite you to call ahead and schedule a time to come visit our company. Most visitors are surprised to see the size of the operation as well as the craftsmanship involved in making slate products.

What color is Buckingham® Slate? Buckingham® Slate has for over 150 years been a Blue Black slate, sometimes called Oxford Grey. It is a unique color for slate and is enhanced by a mica sheen, not found in any other slate. The unique unfading color and mica sheen gives Buckingham a great look that can not be found anywhere other than in our product.

What other colors of slate do you have? For over 150 years, the slate that is quarried has been the same color, a blue black color enhanced with a mica sheen. It is this consistency in color that makes us unique. We do not quarry anything but Buckingham® Slate, which allows us the ability to make one product and make it the best!

Will I have a long lead time when I order products from Buckingham® Slate? Our focus with regard to project completions is to give you a quality product in a good time frame. We now carry a substantial inventory of many products that allows this to occur. We have an abundant inventory of roofing, but orders not in inventory may require 3-6 weeks, depending on the size and volume. Most custom architectural orders are typically shipped in less than 30 days.

Does Buckingham® Slate install their products? We do have resources and relationships with many fine installers throughout the U.S, but Buckingham® Slate does not install products.

What is a custom architectural product? Often a customer will want a slate product made to their specifications. Frequently an architect has designed a size and look to give their project a unique look. We make it specifically to order. Examples include interior and exterior floor patterns, window sills and counter tops. We manufacture over 100 custom architectural products.

Do you sell slabs for custom manufacturing companies? We do keep slabs in inventory that can be purchased.

If I did an addition to my Buckingham® Slate house many years later, would the slate still match? Yes, our unfading quality is demonstrated and tested to ensure that our customers can purchase our new slate to match existing slate over periods of time.

What is the advantage to purchasing slate with a high resistance to acidity and low water absorption? It is important to make sure the slate you are purchasing is ASTM tested for these factors. More importantly, make sure that the product you are purchasing has a 100 year demonstrated history. Buckingham® Slate has a high resistance to acidity (ASTM-C217) and has a very low moisture absorption rate (ASTM-C121). This along with other test and time results help Buckingham® Slate maintain its' longevity and unfading nature.

What is the difference between natural cleft and honed when I order Buckingham® Slate products? When slate is split, the natural cleft: is exposed. Buckingham slate has a unique and distinguished cleft that exposes fine mica sheen. All of our roofing slate has natural cleft sides. Many of our custom architectural slate products are natural cleft as well; however, many are honed to a smooth finish. Lastly, we can also gauge the thickness of some our slate products to meet the needs of customers (with natural cleft or honed side exposed).

Where can I see homes with Buckingham® Slate roofing on them? We have shipped roofing slate all over the world. We are also on many college and university campuses. In Washington D.C. there are many buildings, the Smithsonian Castle and Fords Theatre being two noted examples. Candidly, if you see an older home with a black slate roof that is not fading or does not have a mottled look, it is very likely Buckingham® Slate.

Most companies say they have a S-1 slate, what makes Buckingham® different? Almost all roofing slates are in the S-1 category. This is why it is so important that Buckingham® Slate, not only has such high testing performance, but also has the demonstrated history of lasting and unfading. A projection or warranty is only truly proven through time and that is where Buckingham® Slate stands alone. However, please look at the undergone ASTM C605 test results (.pdf) and compare.

What is a square of slate? The term "square" in reference to roofing materials refers to 100 square feet of roof area. One square of slate is the amount of slate that it takes to cover 100 square feet of roof area. A 10 foot x 10 foot section of roof would equal one square. This would be the same for a 4 foot x 25 foot section, a 5 foot x 20 foot, etc. The number of pieces required to cover one square is dependent on the size (or sizes) of the slate. The larger the slate, the fewer the pieces per square.

How heavy is slate and can my home handle the weight? Slate is heavy material and we suggest, if re-roofing, to consult an engineer or architect. A square of 3/8" roofing slate weight approximately 1,100 pounds. A square of 3/16" roofing slate would weigh approximately 900 pounds. For structural material, 1" thick material weighs approximately 15 pounds per square foot.

Will the supply of slate run out? Buckingham® Slate has had its reserves tested and has verified that several 100 years of supply still rest beneath the ground here at our quarry.

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Stocked Slate Roofing/Flooring
Buckingham Slate Company stocks a vast amount of slate roofing tiles, interior/exterior slate flooring, and slate landscape/building stone. Our turnaround time has dropped considerably in recent years because of our upgraded facilities.

Custom Fabricated Slate Building Products
We keep a large inventory of slate slabs on hand, ready to be fabricated into your custom slate building product. You may also take advantage of our engineering/design services, where we actually design/build the products based on your architectural drawings.

Direct From the Source
The Buckingham Slate Company is the only direct provider of Buckingham® Slate in the world. Anyone can order direct from the source, including builders, landscapers, homeowners, and of course, wholesalers. However, there are clear advantages to purchasing through a supplier.

Wholesale/Dealer/Supplier Opportunities
If you would like more information on offering your high-end clientele the best roofing slate available, please contact our wholesale department at (434) 581-1131.


Contact us for ordering information or to learn more about our products.

"Exceeding expectations for over 150 years"

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Buckingham Slate Company | 715 Arvon Road | PO Box 8 | Arvonia, VA 23004 | USA | 1-800-235-8921

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