There’s nothing quite like the classic look of a slate roof, but in many cases quarried slate is too heavy or too expensive to even consider. Composite shingles molded to look like genuine slate allow homeowners and building owners to add architectural value without the high cost and difficult maintenance of authentic slate. Inspire Roofing Products by The Tapco Group offers composite slate shingles in a wide array of color options that can be ideal for a variety of projects.

Craig Ranch

Craig Ranch is a 2,200-acre New Urbanism community located in McKinney, Texas. Third-generation custom builder Sheldon Robinson, owner of Sheldon Robinson Custom Homes, is now making a mark at Craig Ranch with standout houses. French-influenced style, rugged sophistication and vibrant materials are hallmarks. 

Another key to Robinson’s homes is the bold color used to create innovative roofs. It’s common for these roofs to feature five or more colors. Robinson uses InSpire Roofing Products by The Tapco Group as his exclusive composite slate material, which is available in a broad palette of 25 colors.

“With the product I previously used, we were very limited with colors. With InSpire, we mixed a variety of different patterns together to come up with what we believed really represented the look we were after,” Robinson said. “The multi-colors were a desire of ours. When people see that roof, they’re just — pardon the pun — inspired. It delivers more of an authentic slate look.”

Mark Kimrey, president of MK Custom Roofing, is Robinson’s Craig Ranch roofing contractor and originally recommended InSpire. “I liked it because it has great variety — more than just basic green, brown, black and grey. You can mix InSpire’s premium, standard and blended colors.”

One home’s roof has a spectrum of eight different colors, including Red Clay, Chestnut Brown and Stone Black. Three out of the four distinct grey hues that InSpire produces are also used on that roof. Overall, the desired result is to make a striking and enjoyable difference.

“With our multi-colored roofs, I don’t think most people would look up and say, ‘Look at that roof. It’s incredible. I can’t believe how many different colors they have.’ I think most people would just look at that house and say, ‘Wow, that really is an awesome-looking house.’ And that’s our goal. The average homeowner who walks into the house may not even understand why it’s different, but he’ll just know it’s different,” Robinson said.

The builder has received many comments on his roofs. “A lot of people think it’s actually real slate because of the color and how authentic it looks. InSpire really shines for us,” Robinson said.

Robinson also appreciates InSpire’s green factors, including the lifetime warranty. The tiles themselves contain recycled content and are crafted of compressed limestone and virgin resins.

InSpire’s efficiency also contributes to sustainable construction. “Slate weighs about a thousand pounds a square, whereas InSpire weighs just like you’re putting a 30-year product on your house,” Kimrey said. “You don’t have to do anything special. With slate, you’ve got to beef up the roofing system, which adds more to the framing pack.” 

He also noted InSpire’s Class 4 hail rating and the fact that many homeowners are interested in that protection. “As far as a Class 4 product, I truly believe in InSpire being impact-resistant against a Texas hailstorm,” he said.

With 15 years in the roofing industry, Kimrey ultimately cites the number zero when he talks about InSpire. “As far as discoloring or fall-offs, I just haven’t had any callbacks since I’ve been installing it,” he said. “That’s a lot fewer than other brands, and that’s always a factor to a roofer and builder.”

Columbus School for Girls

The Columbus School for Girls is a well-known and highly regarded Ohio institution with a historic, picturesque campus.

“There really is a sense of place on campus,” said Design Group Columbus Project Architect Jon Sofranec, architect of record for a major addition and roof renovation project at the school. “It has a high level of detail and quality. It’s something the school is recognized for in its education and with its campus.”

Design Group Columbus recommended the product for the re-roof of the school’s largest structure — the main two-story classroom building. Failing cementitious-type tiles had resulted in a significant history of cracks, leaks and tile losses. While natural slate is prevalent on several circa-1900 campus buildings, it was ruled out for the newer structure, because the truss system wouldn’t bear the weight.

“We needed a slate alternative. The bottom line with InSpire was that it looked really good and blended in seamlessly with the existing natural slates,” Sofranec said. “From just a few feet, it really does give the feel of a natural product.”

Two-hundred and thirty squares of InSpire Slate were used, comprised of four colors: 40 percent Emerald Green with 20 percent each of Slate Grey, Pewter Grey and Charcoal Grey. Along with the InSpire installation, existing copper dormers and barrel vaults on the 20-year-old roof were left intact, and EPDM roof sections were replaced with new EPDM. InSpire comprises just under half the roof.

“The roofing contractor found InSpire easy to cut and install,” Sofranec said. “From the owners, they’ve expressed how much they like the roof. There have been many comments on how great it looks.”

South Carolina Custom Home

Florence, S.C., custom builder John Benton had a client with a clear vision of what he wanted. That included the beauty of a slate-look roof. 

“We looked at several composite materials as alternatives to slate just because it weighs so much. We chose InSpire because it had the closest look to natural slate, and we liked the durability of it,” Benton said. “We saved significantly on framing, sheathing and labor.”

InSpire Slate in the colors Stone Black, Charcoal Grey and Pewter Grey was installed on the 5,600-square-foot home. “The roof should last a lifetime. The warranty was part of the decision,” Benton said.

In the Florence area, slate roofing is seldom used. “Our client was very satisfied with the roofing. We’ve heard a lot of great comments about this home, both on the exterior and interior. It’s a very high-end home,” Benton said. “The roof is unique, and our client was tickled to have this really natural-looking, blended-color roof.”

 “The integrity and endurance of this product dramatically improves the look of buildings while adding to the long-term value,” said Jonathan Wierengo, director of marketing for The Tapco Group. “Our passion with InSpire was to bring a wide range of colors to buildings, including blends and the opportunity to customize color. At the same time, we went to great lengths to make sure this product was authentic in its appearance with natural edges and meeting the most rigorous of building codes and fire ratings, such as those in Florida.”

For more information about the company, visit