Natural roofing slate has been successfully employed as a roof covering for over one thousand years, and many early design and installation techniques are just as relevant today as they were in centuries past. Some newly constructed buildings roofed with slate today are, however, very unlike the buildings coverer a thousand, a hundred, or even 10 years ago. Roofing technology and many roofing materials, such as decks, underlayments, sheet metals, adhesives, sealants, and accessories, have been and continue to be in a continuous state of change in order to keep pace with changes in the design of building envelopes and the requirements of national and local building codes.

Natural roofing slate is well able to meet the needs of modern construction practices, building codes, and environmentally responsible manufacturing, installation, and disposal methods. With regard to disposal, slate can be easily salvaged from existing buildings and recycled as a roof covering on another building; used as flooring, art pieces, and landscape products with little rework; or simply returned to the ground from where it came. Natural slate's environmental impact on disposal is low, relative to many other roofing materials. It is a modern building material with a historic past.

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