tile roof installation

We offer expert concrete tile roofing repair, installation & maintenance

Your roof is the first layer of defense on your home, which is why choosing a quality roofing material and maintaining it is so important. Many roofing materials on the market provide your home with protection, which may leave you wondering what to choose. If longevity and beauty matter, roofing tiles may be the way to go!

While not the least expensive option, tile roofs add an elegant, Mediterranean aesthetic and extra layer of protection to your home. Each tile is made from durable materials and placed in a way that protects your home for years to come. For those reasons and more, tile roofs are a popular choice for homeowners.

Keep reading to learn more about a tile roof and discover if it might be a good solution for you and your family.

What is Tile Roofing?

Believe it or not, tile roofing was used first in Ancient China before spreading to other parts of the world. And the process today can include some of those original materials, such as fired clay, ceramic, and slate. Thanks to technology, newer materials are often available and add components like bitumen, metal, or concrete.

Regardless of the material, tile roofing is sustainable and offers an elegant appearance. It also gives homeowners a durable option, thanks to the longevity of quality roof tile. Although many people may think of the recognizable terra cotta tiles when they hear “roof tiles,” there are actually many different colors and shapes of tile available today.

Tiles typically require an expert for installation as they are unique and must be installed properly. The tiles are installed at the bottom of the roof first, followed by overlapping layers until the top is fully covered. Each layer must be secured appropriately and placed so that the pattern is seamless and protects the home sufficiently.

Keep reading to learn more about the various types of tiles available.

Types of Tile Roofing

Want to know more about tile roofing? Below is an explanation of the various types of tile roofing available. Each option comes with a unique look and benefit, from a clay roof to a concrete tile roof.

Concrete Roofing Tiles

Concrete roof tiles are typically a mix of sand and cement, along with water and a pigment (to determine color). The materials are mixed, molded, and heated together to form an extra solid layer of protection for your roof. These roofing tiles are heavier than other materials, and not all roofs can sustain the higher weight. Structural reinforcement might be an option if your home wasn’t built to support the heavy tiles. This should be discussed with an expert before moving ahead with an installation.

Concrete tiles range between $6 and $12 per square foot, which means they are more expensive than some alternatives on the market. You also don’t place tiles directly onto old roofing materials (like you can in some cases when replacing shingles), so the first step is typically to remove the old roof and prepare the roof area. Tiles must be installed in a specific pattern and are usually not an option for steeper slopes. It also requires an expert to ensure tiles are properly installed around roofing elements like chimneys and skylights.

Clay Tiles

These are similar to concrete tiles, with a few distinct differences. Clay tile typically costs more but can require less maintenance with proper installation. Clay roof tile is made from several earth minerals and is a natural material that, like concrete and ceramic roofing tiles, can withstand hail, high winds, hot weather, and other factors.

Clay tiles are usually installed in parallel rows on the roof. Every clay tile row overlaps the row below it, which helps it defray water and stay put in a high wind or severe weather situation. Clay roofs can last significantly longer than similar materials, sometimes more than 100 years.

Ceramic Tiles

These may be used interchangeably with clay tiles. Why? Because they start as clay tiles and are then mixed with additives before being shaped into a specific style – such as Spanish tiles. The clay roof tiles are hardened after they emerge from their molds and fire in a kiln to ensure their structure (and resistance to fire)! This process often creates the recognizable red and brown coloring of a tile roof system.

Typically, clay and ceramic roof tiles (and similar roof materials) will be treated with a glaze or sealant. This seal is one of the reasons roofing tiles offer such excellent protection from the elements. From clay and slate tiles to concrete tiles, these materials are no match for traditional asphalt shingles when it comes to longevity.

Pros and Cons of Tile Roofing

Curious if a tile roof makes sense for you? Now that we’ve explained some of the standard options, including concrete tiles, and ceramic tiles, let’s jump into the pros and cons of a tile roof in general.

Pros – Longevity

One of the biggest pros of clay tile and other tile roofing systems is their longevity and ability to withstand the elements. A new roof installed using shingles may last only ten or twenty years, while a roof structure that uses tile has the potential to last between 50 and 100 years.

Pros – Appearance

Another pro is the beautiful aesthetic these tiles add to a home or building. Spanish tiles are just the beginning. Thanks to tinted concrete and modern technology, homeowners can get the longevity of a roofing tile in many different colors or styles.

Pros – Energy Efficiency

Did you know that the shape of most tiles is what helps boost energy efficiency? The slight arch in clay tiles and concrete tiles allows airflow under the arches and ridge tiles. This feature provides insulation (keeping warm air in during the winter) and cool airflow during the summer months. While the initial investment of clay and concrete roof tiles is higher, the potential for savings over time is definitely a pro.

Pros – Eco Friendly

Many roof tiles are made with recyclable materials. That’s because they come from a natural source. This is unlike many synthetic options such as asphalt shingles.

There you have it – we’ve covered some of the primary reasons that homeowners may choose to invest in a concrete or clay roof tile. Now it’s time for the downsides. Keep reading to better understand the cons of this particular roofing material.

Cons – It Takes a Professional to Install tile roofing

Clay tiles, concrete tiles, ceramic tile – all of them must be carefully installed one by one to ensure proper appearance and proper functionality. The investment in roof tile is only worth it if you can keep it in place and functioning correctly for the long haul. From choosing the suitable underlayment material to understanding how to install tile overhangs, a proper drip edge, roof edge, and more, this is not a do-it-yourself roof system. Get any tile roof installed correctly by starting with a call to a roofing contractor who can assess your existing roof and structure before providing a free estimate.

Cons – Tiles are Fragile

This con goes hand in hand with a proper roof inspection and installing of any new tile roof. From slate tiles to terra cotta and clay, these materials can withstand the elements and protect your home if installed properly. This install type only occurs with special handling and prep work to ensure every individual piece is managed well. Damage can occur in transit, when stepped on or when not placed correctly, resulting in extra costs and potential leaks or damage to the home over time. The type of care each tile requires is unique and not something homeowners would expect with a traditional asphalt roofing option.

Cons – Maintenance

While tile roofs can last a long time, they require regular maintenance. Check with a professional roofing contractor to ensure you follow recommended guidelines for inspecting underlayment, roof deck, and the roof tiles themselves. While this type of roofing is considered a low maintenance option compared to alternatives, routine inspection can go a long way to ensure that you get the longest possible life out of your roof tile.

Cons – Cost

It should come as no surprise that a low maintenance, long-lasting, beautiful tile roof option isn’t the cheapest material on the market. Still, that being said, many roofing options come in lower than a tile roof. For that reason, it’s best to consider your budget and how long you intend to stay in your home before signing up for clay tile roofing – or other tile roofing option. You want to ensure you’ll get the benefit of your roof investment.

Cons – Weight

Stronger, in the case of tile roofs, means heavier. Clay tiles and other tiles are so heavy, in fact, that not all homes can accommodate the extra load on the structure. Adding tile atop a structure that can’t handle it is a recipe for disaster. The weight is one more reason you should talk to a professional contractor before you begin any project with clay tile or slate tiles. While you may be able to add additional support to your structure, this will add to the overall roof tile replacement cost and should be considered before moving forward.

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Tile Roof?

If you’re ready to move forward after reading the information above, your next question may be, “how much is a tile roof in my area?”. The type of material you choose affects the cost of any roofing project, but this is especially true when selecting from tiles roofs. No two tiles are exactly alike, but in general, the average cost is between $4 and $16 per square foot. This cost equates to $400 to $1,600 per square (or 100 square feet) when installed, which means that you may spend $20,000 to $30,000 for a clay roof.

In comparison, a roof that is replaced with asphalt shingles may be less than $10,000 on the low side.

The increased value is one positive that comes along with the tile replacement cost, besides the obvious protection for your home. All new roofing increases a home’s value, whether a new clay tile roof or tile of another type. Even asphalt roofing has been reported to improve a home’s appraisal value by more than 60% of the investment. This value means that when installing new roofing, you get the benefit today and in the future when you sell your home or property.

How Do I Know if Tile Roofing is Right For Me?

The best way to know if a clay tile roof (or tile roof of any kind) is right for you is to call a licensed professional in your area. The right type of roof depends on several factors, including your budget, the size and type of your home, the area you live in, and the time you plan to spend in your home.

Below is an explanation of how these factors may come into play when deciding on tile roofs.

Your Roofing Budget

When it comes to budget, not everyone has the funds upfront to replace their roofing. Like CCI, most professional roofing companies will offer financing options to help you cover the costs. That being said, it’s important that you don’t overspend on a clay roof or invest in something that doesn’t match the value of your home. Our professional team can help you evaluate the options and decide what’s best for your situation. 

The Size and Type of Your Home

The size and type of your home may determine the type of roofing you can choose from. As we mentioned above, tile roofing is extremely heavy, and not all homes may be capable of sustaining that added weight. The size of the house will also determine the total cost, as does the type of structure. Steep roofs, the need for extensive ridge tiles, skylights, a long lower edge – all of these factors go into the cost of your roof, regardless of the material. It wouldn’t make sense to spend an excessive amount on a clay roof if it’s not in line with your home’s value or the best fit for your property.

Where You Live

Where you live also contributes to the type of roofing materials you can choose from. While a clay tile roof offers excellent protection in many environments, it may not be the best choice in extremely wet weather. Is your home in high wind regions, or do dense trees surround it? All of these factors impact your roofing and should be considered with a professional before deciding on tiles or other materials.

How Long You Plan to Stay in Your Home

If you are thinking about investing in clay tile roofing, or tiles of any kind, you probably already know they are an investment. You can often install a less expensive roofing material and still protect you from rain, high winds, and normal weather events. In fact, how long roofing lasts depends heavily on the type of material you choose. For that reason, clay for tile may not make sense for you if you plan to move from your home in the next few years. That’s because you typically won’t recoup the investment you make from clay tile and other tile roofs in the first few years. If you plan to stay in your home for more than a decade, clay roof tile may be a wise investment that pays dividends for many years to come.

Contact Us for a Free Inspection and Estimate

Are you ready to learn more about a clay, concrete, or ceramic roof for your home? At CCI, our professional team can inspect your home or property as part of our free assessment. We look at your existing roofing and structure and provide you with the information you need to know about options. Our team is happy to answer any questions you may have and walk you through the options for your home.

If you need a roofing repair or brand new installation, we can provide a quality team to get the job done quickly and done well. Installing tile takes an expert so let our team be your trusted partner throughout the process. Click here to schedule your free, no-cost, no-obligation inspection.

Call us today at 703-754-9551 for a free inspection on concrete roofing tile installation or roof repair. 

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