Tile roofs come in various materials, colors, and shapes, and considering the benefits they bring to your home, it’s no wonder many homeowners elect to have a tile roof. That said, tile roofs are not flawless, and homeowners need to understand the pros and cons of tile roofing before making a decision.
- What Are Roofing Tiles?
- Pros of Tile Roofing
- Cons of Tile Roofing
- The Different Roofing Tile Types?
- How to choose the best tile for your home
- FAQ About the pros and cons of tile roofing
What Are Roofing Tiles?
Roofing tiles are basically slabs that cover a roof. They’re made from natural materials such as slate, clay, and concrete, and their primary purpose is to guard against rain, snow and other elements. They’re more expensive than shingles but last a lot longer, at the cost of being harder to replace.
Pros of Tile Roofing
Tile roofs have several advantages over materials like asphalt shingles and single-ply roofing membranes. Those advantages include weather resistance, energy efficiency, low maintenance, durability, and versatility.
Here are the traits that many homeowners love about them:
Clay and concrete tile roofs can withstand hail, rain, high winds, and fire. This makes them excellent choices for homes in areas with frequent hurricanes and forest fires, like the Southwest, Florida, and California.
The gaps under the tiles help block the sun’s heat and prevent it from reaching your house. This leads to less reliance on air conditioning and lower energy costs.
Tiles are highly durable and resistant, so they need little maintenance. If tile roofs are damaged, they are easy to fix as the tiles are individually installed – just replace a broken or damaged tile with a brand-new one.
Tile roofs are long-lasting. They have a lifespan of at least 50 years, and some, like concrete, last up to 100. Once you install a tile roof, you won’t need a roof replacement.
Tile roofs come in different architectural styles and colors, like contemporary, European, Spanish, and wood shakes, giving homeowners the freedom to customize their roofs to their tastes.
Cons of Tile Roofing
For all its advantages, tile roofs aren’t perfect. They’re heavy, expensive, brittle, dirty, and hard to install.
Tile roofs are heavy, so make sure your structure can handle the weight. For example, 100 square feet of tile can weigh about 850 pounds. Make sure to hire a professional roofer to ensure your building can support the weight of a tile roof.
If you’re looking for something cheap, look elsewhere. Clay and concrete roof tiles can cost two to three times as much as asphalt shingles. However, tile roofs provide longevity and durability, possibly saving you money over time.
Harder to Install
To install tile roofs, you first need to contact professional roofing contractors and have them install specialty flashings designed specifically for the tiles. This is what allows the tile roofs to do their jobs.
The tiles must be measured, laid in a specific pattern, and checked for leaks.
Tiles like concrete and clay might be durable but aren’t invincible. For example, if a tree branch falls on your roof, the impact could cause the tiles to break or crack. Having someone walk on the roof to remove that branch is also iffy.
Tiny spaces between the tiles can provide a good environment for algae to grow, causing dark streaking. You aren’t stuck with these problems, though. You can always wash the tiles and use algae-preventing solutions.
What Are the Different Kinds of Roofing Tiles?
Roofing tiles come in many different types. To learn more about the other materials, check out our article on the different types of roofing tiles.
Clay tiles are popular in southern parts of the United States due to their ability to withstand heat (clay tiles are fireproof) and high winds. Clay tile roofs are durable, lasting at least 100 years, and don’t need fixing, making them low maintenance.
However, clay tiles can crack in colder temperatures, which is why you won’t see clay roofs in areas where temperatures get cold.
Concrete tiles are comparable to clay tiles, as both are durable and long-lasting (concrete tile roofs can last up to 50 years). Though heavier than clay, concrete withstands cold better, the tradeoff being concrete is more prone to moisture and thus requires more maintenance.
Gothic-looking slate roof tiles are made of stone, giving them resistance to impact, fire, and wind while repelling moisture. Because of this, slate doesn’t require many repairs.
Slate is expensive, but synthetic slate exists, providing the same benefits while costing less money.
Metal tiles are durable and long-lasting, with longer warranties than clay or concrete tiles. Metal roofs are lightweight and reflect solar heat, keeping your house cool during the summer. Metal is also versatile, as it’s made from materials like steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum.
However, metal roofing tiles are difficult to install, as they’re directly attached to the structure through exposed fasteners, although they don’t require any structural reinforcements to install. Rain can also cause metal roofing tiles to corrode.
Solar roofs consist of both active and inactive tiles. Active tiles use sunlight to provide energy for your home, while inactive tiles are just there to give your roof a uniform appearance. The name of the game with solar roof tiles is energy efficiency, as solar roofs produce clean energy and lower your electricity bills.
Solar tiles are also durable with fire, wind, and impact resistance. However, they aren’t as long-lasting as clay, slate, or concrete tiles, as their lifespan averages 30 years.
How to Choose the Best Roofing Material for Your Home
With so many tiles, picking the right one can be challenging, especially since you’re stuck with your choice, but considering the following factors will make the deciding process easier.
- Durability. Though the most durable tiles will be the most expensive, they’ll also offer the greatest resistance against the elements, leading to fewer maintenance calls and saving you money.
- Budget. As mentioned, the most durable tiles will usually be the most expensive. You don’t want to pick cheap tiles, as they’ll need more maintenance. Striking a balance between affordability and durability is vital.
- Climate. Your roof should be able to withstand extreme temperatures. For example, the Southwest gets hot, so heat-resistant tiles, like terra cotta and white metal, are the way to go.
- Weight. Your roof structure and walls have to support the weight of the tiles. For example, if you have a delicate house structure, go for a metal roof rather than a concrete roof, as metal tiles weigh far less than concrete tiles.
FAQ About Tile Roofing
Even though tile roofs can last a long time, that doesn’t mean they’re infallible. If problems occur, the following factors are likely why:
1. Poor installation. Roofers are supposed to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local regulations to ensure your roof lasts as long as expected. But if roofers emphasize speed over quality, they might miss a few crucial details like installing enough flashings, which can cause problems later.
2. Poor maintenance. Tile roofs might last a long time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever require maintenance. If a tile cracks, rain could weaken the tile even more, eventually causing it to break. Good maintenance can allow you to spot problems before they occur.
On average, a roof cleaning costs around $374 to $606, averaging $490. However, numerous factors influence the cost, such as roof size, the cleaning method, the type of wash (chemical, high pressure, low pressure, soft wash), how many stories your house is in, and what kind of tile is being washed.
We have an article explaining roof cleaning costs, so check it out if you want to know more.
The price varies depending on what materials you want to use. Heavier material (like clay and slate) costs more than shingles do. The chart below shows the average cost per square of the materials mentioned in this article.
|Material||Average price per 100 square feet|
|Metal||$650 – $1,300|
|Clay||$1,150 – $2,250|
|Concrete||$1,067 – $1,733|
|Slate||$1,250 – $2,750|
|Solar||$1,200 – $2,500|
Find a Roofing Pro Near You
Roofing tiles are one of the most popular choices for a roof due to their versatility, durability, and needing little maintenance. However, roofing tiles are heavy, expensive, and hard to install, so you have to weigh both the positive and negative to see if tile roofs are what you want.
If they are, contact a roofing pro near you to install a tile roof or repair an existing one.
Main Image Credit: Pexels