Pros and Cons to Consider Before Getting a Tile Roofing
Updated: Nov 1
While expensive and heavy, tiled roofs are also stunning and long-lasting. In fact, with proper care, a tiled roof can easily last over 100 years. Unlike most roofing materials, tile roofs come in many shapes such as: curved, flat, fluted, or interlocking; styles include but are not limited to traditional clay or terracotta products or more modern concrete tiles that are molded and tinted.
Tile roofing is an excellent choice for roofs in locations with frequent exposure to hot weather or salt air. You will see tile roofs most often in the Southwest, coastal Florida, and California. They can also be great for climates that experience infrequent rains that dump large amounts of water over a short period of time; this is because many styles are very good at quickly shedding rainfall from cloudbursts. Keep in mind that if you're considering tile roofing for your home, these types of roofing systems can be quite heavy and may break under certain conditions.2 Make sure your roof framing is sturdy enough to support the weight before moving forward with installation.
Pros of Tile Roofing
Tile roofing has many benefits that make it an attractive option for homeowners. One of the biggest advantages of tile roofing is its durability. Tile is a very strong material that can withstand high winds and hail better than other types of roofing. Tile roofs also have a long lifespan, often lasting 50-100 years or more with proper maintenance.
Another benefit of tile roofing is its fire resistance. The tile is non-combustible, so it will not catch fire like shingles made of wood or asphalt. Tile roofs are also energy efficient, helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. If you live in an area with heavy rains, tile roofs can also help to reduce noise from the raindrops hitting your roof. Overall, tile roofing provides many advantages that make it a great choice for your home.
There are many colors and styles of clay, concrete, and slate tiles to choose from that will match any home style. Many styles of metal roofs closely resemble more common roofing materials, such as shingles or wood shakes.
Cons of Tile Roofing
A tile roof is more expensive than an asphalt roof upfront, but it will last much longer, making it a wiser investment in the long run. Slate tiles are especially costly.4 Concrete tiles are more affordable and still provide good coverage. You also can't install a tile roof yourself--you must hire professional help, which increases the cost even further. Tiles need to be measured and placed in a particular pattern so water doesn't seep through cracks and cause damage.
Clay tile roofs can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds per square while concrete tile only weighs around 700 pounds. Asphalt meanwhile is very light in comparison at 275 to 425 pounds. If you're thinking about replacing your shingle roof with tiles, make sure to check with consulting an engineer first. They will be able to determine if any reinforcement for the structure is necessary which will, of course, add to the total cost of getting a new roof..
Although they are durable, clay tiles, slate, and concrete tiles can crack if something heavy falls on them or if there is too much pressure on them.4 If they do get damaged, repairs can be costly. Tile roofs work best on rooftops with steeper slopes and shouldn't be used for roof pitches that are less than 4:12.
The Tile Styles
There are many different styles of clay and concrete tiles available to match any aesthetic goal.
The Spanish tile roof is a classic in the Southwest, often resembling rows of lapping waves. They have troughs between the rows to help carry water away, which make them best suited for regions where rains might be infrequent but very heavy when they do occur. This style is available in clay, terra cotta, and concrete tiles.
The Scandia tile is a variation of the Spanish tile, where the ridges are pointing upward. They have wide scallop-shaped troughs which give them a unique look compared to other types of tiles. This style is commonly seen in northern European architecture.
Visually, Double Roman tiles take after Spanish tiles thanks to their frequent water troughs. But what sets them apart is the pronounced ribbing that runs along each row of tiles. You'll commonly find these used in buildings designed in a Mediterranean style. They're most often made from concrete, but you can also get them clay and terra cotta varieties too.
Flat shake tiles are commonly made of concrete. The texture of these roofing materials often mirrors that of wood shakes or granulated asphalt shingles. Many slate roofs are also flat shakes with less textured surfaces. These types of roofs generally don't have issues with light rains, but may not perform as well in areas where downpours are common. Additionally, these tiles can be adapted to almost any architectural style.
Pantile roofs are made of clay tiles that have been molded into a flattened "S" shape. This gives them a ripple appearance. Pantiles are also considerably lighter than most other types of roofing tiles.
If you're looking for a tile that will give your roof a bit of extra character, barrel tiles might be a perfect choice. These semi-cylindrical tiles are similar to Spanish and Roman tiles, but with slightly tapered cylinders. This tapering shape makes them ideal for use on curved roofs.
The French tiles on roofs are inverted compared to the traditional Roman style, and they have wider gutters to get rid of excess rainwater.
Riviera tiles are a less pronounced version of double Roman tiles. They have flat ridges that divide shallow, flat-bottomed troughs.
While tile roofs have many benefits, they come with a higher cost and require more maintenance than shingle roofs. It's important to do thorough research and consult with professionals before making any decisions about switching to a tile roof. But if you choose the right type of tile for your region and architecture, it can add beauty, durability, and value to your home.