Tile Roofing Guide

Tile roofing is popular throughout the world and is the second most used roofing product after asphalt shingles. Whether they are made from clay tile or concrete tile, it’s hard to beat the striking appearance of a tiled rooftop. Another reason tile roofs are a popular choice is because tile is energy efficient and resistant to fire, hail and moisture.

Tile Roofing Advantages

  • Aesthetically appealing - Tile roofs look great and are available in a wide variety of styles and colors
  • Long lasting - Tile roofing can last 50 to 100 years or more.  In Europe and Asia, there are plenty of clay tile roofs that have lasted centuries!
  • Weather resistant - While other roofing materials may not hold up under strong winds or hail, tile roofing can withstand almost any kind of severe weather.
  • Energy efficient - Buildings covered with tile roofing remain cooler during summer and warmer during winter, reducing monthly energy bills.
  • Fire resistant - Concrete and clay roof tiles are non-comubustible and have Class A fire-ratings.

Tile Roofing Disadvantages

  • Expensive to install - Installing tile roofing is significantly more expensive than installing asphalt shingles.  Initial cost is one of the main reasons why some people overlook tile roofs.  Although tile roofing cost is more than asphalt shingles initially, they also last a lot longer. So the total cost of ownership for a tile roof may actually be less than asphalt shingles if you amortize the installation cost over the life span of the roof.
  • Weight of roof tiles - An individual roof tile is much heavier than other roofing materials.  Tile roof installation must be done carefully and professionally to ensure the underlying structure can support the weight of the roof.  Many roofing contractors recommend against replacing a shingle roof with a tile roof because  the underlying structure may need to be reinforced to hold the weight. An experienced tile roofer should be consulted.
  • Difficult to repair - Finding the leak in a leaking tile roof can be more challenging than other roofing materials. 

Tile Roofing Types

Today's roof tiles are made of natural clay or concrete.  Clay roof tiles last longer than concrete and holds its color extremely well over time.  But clay tile roofing costs significantly more and is only appropriate for southern climates.  The freeze/thaw cycle in northern climates may crack or shatter clay tiles.

Concrete roof tiles cost less and are not susceptible to freezing, so they can be used in any climate.  While concrete tile roofs have more options than clay in terms of colors, the dye in the concrete does not hold up as long as natural clay and may fade over time.

Tile Roofing Styles

Spanish Style Tile Roof

There are various types of roof tiles including flat tiles, curved tiles (such as the Spanish tile roof pictured to the left), Roman tiles, and barrel tiles. Flat tiles are smooth, made from a variety of materials (including concrete), and are laid in an overlapping manner. Curved tiles also overlap, though these tiles form a curved pattern, which allows the tiles to create rain channels.

Roman tiles are convex on one end and concave on the other in order to create a secure lock. Lastly, barrel tiles are somewhat cylindrical in shape, and they are generally placed in convex and concave columns. All tiles interlock in order to prevent rainwater from seeping into a rooftop. Unlike rubber or wooden shingles, rooftop tiles are affixed to the frame of a roof with industrial nails. Frequently, tiles are placed in overlapping rows, which give a home or business a distinctive look.

Tile Roofing Contractors

If you need tile roof repair or you are considering tile roof replacement, you’ll find the right expert for the job at Hometown Roofing Contractors. Hometown verifies credentials and collects trusted reviews on tile roofing contractors.