Tile roofing is a traditional roofing material that you can often find on historic homes in the South, mission style homes on the west coast, and other classic architectural styles. While they were once composed of simple clay, modern material science has enabled manufacturers to make even more durable, consistent and beautiful tiles from concrete and other materials. This advancement has meant that tile roofing is still an option for modern homeowners who are looking for a sound roof that looks great. But should you choose a tile roof? Here are the pros and cons you should know.
While performance will vary between specific brands and products of tile, overall, you can expect very strong performance from concrete options. They handle high winds, heavy rain and even fire quite well. You can find clay tiles that have good performance as well, but if you want the best performance in the tile world, you should likely choose concrete.
Clay tile and, to some extent, concrete tile can be brittle. You should not stand on it. When a roofer does, they need to walk in a special way to avoid breaking the tiles. While many clay and concrete tile products do have hail ratings, they are vulnerable to large pieces of hail and may break. If you are worried about hail impact, you should be especially sure your insurance will cover it, as many consider hail impact to be an aesthetic issue.
There is an elegance about clay tile that reminds us of Spanish villas and warm weather. If you don’t like the traditional look of tile, you may be surprised to find that concrete tile is also available in styles that mimic wood shakes and asphalt shingles. Clay and concrete tiles are also available in a huge variety of colors, from sun-drench browns to vibrant greens and reds. You are sure to find a style of concrete tile that you like, and that will work with your home.
Cons: Color Fading
Unfortunately, clay and concrete tiles can suffer from some colour-related issues. Firstly, they will fade over the years. The speed depends on their exposure to direct sunlight, so areas of your roof which are shaded may retain their color for longer.
Clay tiling may also suffer from efflorescence after it has been rained on the first time, where the tile releases a kind of chalky substance that dulls the color. There is only so much of this chalk that the tile can create and it can be washed off.
While tile roofing is more expensive than some options like asphalt roofing, it is cheaper than many metal roofing systems and slate tiles and cedar shakes. If the cost of clay tiles feels a little out of your budget, you can find less expensive concrete options as well.
Con: Installation and Weight
All types of tiles can be more challenging to install than some other forms of roofing. The installation may take longer than other materials would. Concrete tiles in particular are heavy, which means that your home may need to be rated to hold a large weight in order to support it.
Overall, clay and concrete tiles are a great material option for many homeowners. You should talk with a professional about whether it is right for you.