Clay and Concrete Tile Roofs: Buyer’s Guide

In this guide, we'll explore tile roof's pros and cons, costs, top manufacturers, installation process, and how to find the right contractor for this project.
Author picture

To provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date guides and cost figures, we gather information from a variety of local licensed contractors, pricing databases, and industry experts. Learn more.

Author picture

Reviewed by JC Sanjuan — General and roofing contractor with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial construction. He specializes in project management, quality workmanship, client satisfaction, and solving roofing challenges.

Linkedin Profile

Choosing the right roof for your home isn’t something you do every day. It’s a big decision that will impact your home for years to come. When it comes to durability, performance and looks, clay and concrete tile roofs are a great option.

In this guide, we’ll explore tile roof’s pros and cons, costs, top manufacturers, installation process, and how to find the right contractor for this project.

Let’s get started.

What are Clay and Concrete Tile Roofs?

Clay and concrete tiles offer a unique blend of old-world charm and high roofing performance. Let’s break it down:

Clay tiles

Clay Tile Roofs |
Credit: Tile Roofs of Texas

These tiles are made from natural clay, which is shaped and then fired in a kiln. The process has been around for centuries, dating back to ancient civilizations like the Greeks and Romans.

Concrete tiles

Viera Blend, Tile Roofs
Source: Eagle Roofing

On the other hand, concrete tiles are a more modern invention. They’re made from a mixture of sand, cement, and water. The mix is molded into shapes and cured to harden, making it a sturdy option for roofing.

Both clay and concrete tiles are often coated with special sealants and colorings to enhance their durability and appearance. So, whether you’re going for a rustic look or something more contemporary, there’s a tile out there for you.

It’s worth noting that concrete tiles tend to hold up better than clay tiles, which can become brittle and crack.

One thing to keep in mind is that manufacturers often discontinue styles and colors. So, it’s a good idea to get some extra tiles (including ridge and rake tiles) and keep them stored in case any tiles need to be replaced.

Benefits of Clay & Concrete Tile Roofs

So, you’ve got a basic idea of what clay and concrete tiles are made of. Let’s discuss why you might want to consider them for your new roof.

Durability

First off, these tiles are incredibly durable. We’re talking about a lifespan of 50 years or more if properly maintained. That’s a long-term investment that could outlive your mortgage.

Aesthetic appeal

The next big selling point is the beauty these tiles bring to the table. Whether it’s the classic Mediterranean look of clay tiles or the more modern vibe of concrete, there’s no denying that these roofs stand out in a neighborhood.

Energy efficiency

Finally, both clay and concrete tiles have excellent thermal properties. This means they can help keep your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, leading to some nice savings on your energy bills.

Different Options Available

We’ve covered why clay and concrete tiles could be a good fit for your home. Now, what kinds of options do you have regarding styles, colors, and finishes? Good news—there’s a lot to choose from.

Colors

Both clay and concrete tiles come in various colors, from earthy browns and reds to sleek blacks and grays. Some manufacturers even offer custom colors if you’re looking for something unique.

Shapes

When it comes to shape, you’ve got options like flat, rounded, or wavy. Clay tiles often come in traditional “S” shapes, known as Spanish or “Scandia” style. Concrete tiles offer similar shapes but can also be made to mimic the look of wood shakes or slate tiles.

Finishes

You can opt for matte or glossy; some tiles even come with a textured surface for added character. With all these choices, it’s easier than ever to find tiles matching your home’s style and personal taste.

Pros and Cons of Tile Roofs

Every roofing material has its benefits and drawbacks, and clay and concrete tiles are no different. Here’s what you should know:

Pros

As we mentioned earlier, these tiles can last 50 years or more. That’s a big plus when considering your investment’s long-term value.

The aesthetic options we discussed mean you can tailor the roof to match your home perfectly. It’s not just a roof; it’s a statement piece.

Finally, compared to some other types of roofs, clay, and concrete tiles require less upkeep. Occasional cleaning and inspection are usually enough to keep them in good shape.

Cons

These tiles are heavy, which means your home’s structure needs to be strong enough to support them. You may need additional reinforcement, and that’s an added cost.

Clay and concrete tiles are generally more expensive upfront compared to asphalt shingles or metal roofing. While they’re durable, tiles can break if walked on improperly or hit by falling debris. Replacing individual tiles can be a bit of a hassle.

Tile Roofs Cost

Stunning tile roof on an elegant home showcasing the long lasting and aesthetic appeal of clay and concrete tiles

Tile roofs come with a significant price tag. The cost of tile roofing depends on the type of tile you choose. Concrete tiles cost between $25.07 and $37.61 per square foot, while clay tiles range from $19.63 to $29.45 per square foot.

Here is the average roof replacement cost for a 1-story home with a tile roof by home size:

Home Size Lower-End Mid-Range Higher-End
1,000 $25,070 $27,860 $37,610
1,250 $31,338 $34,825 $47,013
1,500 $37,605 $41,790 $56,415
1,750 $43,873 $48,755 $65,818
2,000 $50,140 $55,720 $75,220
2,250 $56,408 $62,685 $84,623
2,500 $62,675 $69,650 $94,025
2,750 $68,943 $76,615 $103,428
3,000 $68,943 $76,615 $103,428

Top Tile Roofing Manufacturers

There many companies that manufacture tile roofing in North America. However, they’re are few that make them stand out for their quality. The following names are industry veterans, offering a wide range of tile roofing products:

  1. Ludowici Roof Tile: Well-known for their high-quality clay roof tiles. They’ve been around for over a century, which says a lot about their experience and reputation.
  2. Eagle Roofing Products: Eagle is another big name. They focus on concrete roof tiles and are known for a wide range of styles and colors. They’re all about energy efficiency and sustainability.
  3. Boral Roofing: Boral is a well-respected company, especially for their concrete and clay roof tiles. They’re also into “cool roof” technology, which is great for energy saving.
  4. MCA Clay Roof Tile: MCA focuses on clay roof tiles. They’re big on traditional and historical tile designs, which is pretty cool if you’re into that classic look.

Installation Process of Tile Roofing

A new tile roof install includes complete removal of your existing roof covering and replacing it with new material. These include replacement of damaged wood, weather resistant underlayment, flashing, vents and metal covering material.

Here is how tile roofs are installed:

Step 1. Inspection

Before installation, a thorough inspection is conducted to check the condition of your existing roof and look for any underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Step 2. Removal of old roofing materials

Old materials like existing tiles, underlayment, and flashing are removed to create a clean surface for the new installation.

Step 3. Repair or replacement of decking

If the base layer beneath the roofing material is damaged or rotten, it may need to be repaired or replaced.

Step 4. Installation of underlayment

A weather-resistant underlayment is installed over the roof decking to provide an extra layer of protection against water leaks.

Step 5. Flashing installation

Flashing is installed around roof features like chimneys, vents, and valleys to prevent water penetration.

Step 6. Installation of roofing material

The chosen roofing material shape is installed according to manufacturer specifications and local building codes.

Step 7. Ventilation installation

Proper ventilation is key for a healthy roofing system. Vents are installed to allow air circulation, which helps prevent moisture buildup and extends the life of your roof.

Step 8. Ridge cap installation

Ridge caps are installed at the peaks of the roof to provide a finished look and increase the weather resistance of the roof.

Step 9. Cleanup

The work area is cleaned up, and debris from the old roof is removed.

Step 10. Final inspection

A final inspection by contractor and building inspector is conducted to ensure that the new roof meets quality standards and complies with local building codes.

Tips for Hiring a Tile Roofing Company

  1. Check credentials
    First, make sure the contractor is licensed, insured, and bonded (if needed). Verify their qualifications and certifications specific to tile roofing.
  2. Experience with tile roofing
    Look for a contractor with extensive experience in tile roofing. Not all roofers know how to install tiles. Tile roofs require specific skills for installation and maintenance.
  3. Ask for references
    Ask for references and review their portfolio of previous tile roofing projects. This will give you an idea about their work quality and expertise.
  4. Get a written estimate
    Obtain detailed written estimates from 3-5 different contractors. This will ensure all aspects of the job are covered in a written contract including— materials, labor, timelines, and warranty information.
  5. Warranty and after-service
    Ask about the warranty on both materials and workmanship. Also, check their policy on after-service in case of any issues post-installation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I walk on my tile roof?

It’s best to avoid walking on these types of roofs as the tiles can crack or break. If you need to go up there, consult a professional to do it safely.

What’s the weight difference between clay and concrete tiles?

Concrete tiles are generally heavier, weighing around 9 to 12 pounds per square foot, while clay tiles weigh about 6 to 9 pounds per square foot.

Can you paint roof tiles?

Yes, roof tiles can be painted, but it requires using the right type of paint, thorough surface preparation, and often a primer, while considering the tile material and potential impact on warranties and maintenance.

Are these tiles energy-efficient?

Both tiles offer good insulation, which can help regulate indoor temperatures and lower your energy bills.

Do I need to reinforce my home’s structure?

If your roof is currently different than tile, then most likely yes. A thorough inspection before installation will determine if additional structural support is needed to bear the weight of the tiles.


Additional Resources

If you have more questions or need personalized guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. Email us [editorial] @roofguides.com.

References

  1. National Roofing Contractors Association. The NRCA Roofing Manual: Steep-slope Roof Systems. NRCA, 2023. https://www.nrca.net/
  2. U.S. Department of Energy – Information on the energy efficiency of roofing materials.
  3. “Roofing Material Comparisons” – Journal of Architectural Engineering, for lifespan and durability statistics.
  4. Local Building Codes – City of Orlando, Florida, for regional-specific guidelines and requirements.
  5. “Cost vs Value Report” – Remodeling Magazine, for cost estimates and return on investment figures.
author avatar
RoofGuides
Whether you need a repair or a complete replacement, we've got you covered. Our easy-to-understand guides on roofing and costs from experts will help you make the best decisions for your roofing project.
Related Articles
roofguide logo

We’re committed to providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information to make informed decisions about your home improvement projects. Our research process is thorough, combining local contractor insights, permit data analysis, and building code reviews to ensure our guides reflect real-world costs and comply with the latest standards. We also stay on top of industry trends and best practices by consulting with experts. By factoring in both material and labor costs, we give you a complete picture of what your roof replacement might cost.

Find a Pro Near Me:

Roofing Contractor Talking to Homeowner Should I Home During A Roof Replacement
Look Up Pro Location
Use Shift+Tab to go back