Tile roofing has been rapidly growing in popularity, especially in warmer climates throughout North America. You might be wondering if tile roofing is the right solution for your home. With recent advancements, tile has become a great roofing solution and many homeowners are considering tile for their homes.

Today, we’re giving you the ultimate guide to tile roofing, including why you should or shouldn’t choose it for your roof, its benefits, and different options or styles.

Types of Roof Tile: Materials

  • Tile roofing can be made from several different materials. Traditional tile roofing is commonly made of clay in a Spanish style. These roofs are the atypical southwest-style roofs. But today, tiles are being made from many different materials. Here’s a quick breakdown:
  • Clay Tile – clay is a relatively cheap material to manufacture because it’s all-natural and easily molded. You can choose from several styles and expect these roofs can last for nearly 100 years.
  • Concrete Tile – concrete tiles are much newer to the tile roof family, but they are a great roofing material. They can last nearly as long as clay, are cheaper to manufacture, lighter (for easier installation), and can be dyed or molded to mimic different natural materials.
  • Slate Roofing Tile – slate is made from entirely natural slate stone. It’s eco-friendly, very aesthetically pleasing, and extremely durable. It can also last for 100 – 200 years, depending on how hard it’s hit with weather and how well you maintain it.
  • Solar Roof Tile – solar is by far the most recently developed of all roof tiles. However, many wouldn’t consider it a true roofing product because each tile is an individual solar panel that both generates energy and protects your roof. To get solar roof tiles on your home, you’ll have to contact a specialized company such as Tesla.
  • Metal Roof Tile – metal tiles are similar to metal roofing, with the main difference being that the metal isn’t in huge sheets but instead smaller tiles. These tiles are most often made of steel but can be made of aluminum or copper. All metal roof tiles come in various options and colors.
  • Composite Roof Tile – last on our list is composite tiles. Composite is a mix of natural and man-made materials and can be designed to match or look like natural materials. Composite is often cheaper because it’s less durable and easier to install.

Pros and Cons of Tile Roofing

As with all of the roofing materials used throughout the industry, some materials simply perform better than others. Tile roofing is no different. There are benefits as well as drawbacks to tile roofing. Here’s what we’ve found:

metal tile roofing

Tile Roofing Pros:

  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Tile can last nearly 100 or more years with proper maintenance.
  • Tile can be molded or stained to look like stones, wood, etc.
  • Energy-efficient: tile roofs help homeowners save more money on heating and cooling costs.
  • Tile roofs hold up against wind better than most other roofing materials.
  • Designed to be 100% rot and insect resistant.
  • Easy maintenance with few repairs needed.
  • Eco-friendly: manufactured in sustainable and recyclable materials.

Tile Roofing Cons:

You’ll find that one of the biggest disadvantages of installing tile roofing on your home is that it will cost more and take significantly longer than most other materials.

  • Tile roofs may last for 100+ years, but they do cost quite a bit. For example, the cost of installing a tile roof could be 2-3x that of an asphalt shingle roof.
  • Installation of these roofs is difficult and, in some cases, can take more than three days to complete.
  • Tile roofs are very heavy, and thus your home will need to handle that extra weight. You’ll likely want to contact a roofing contractor to learn more about whether your roof system can handle the weight.
  • While tiles do last a long time, they’re also very fragile. Walking on a tile roof can cause significant damage very quickly.

Tile Roof Styles

There are a lot of different ways that roof tiles could be installed to fit your unique style. So while you might think that most styles are similar, there are quite a few varieties.

Spanish Roof Tiles

spanish tile roof

Spanish tile roofs are one of the most traditional styles. They often look similar to clay roof tiles, but today they’re usually made with concrete because it’s much more cost-effective than clay.

Mission Roof Tiles

Mission tile roofs are one of the most popular and traditional styles. They can be found throughout Southern California, Mexico, and parts of Latin America.

Flat Shingle Roof Tiles

These tile roofs are named for the shingles that make up the roof. They’re easy to install and come in various colors, options, styles, and textures. Flat shingle tiles are the most similar to asphalt shingles as tiles can get.

Interlocking Roof Tiles

This tile roof style is one of the most common in new construction. The tiles are installed in rows and then locked together into place with a metal fastener called an “expansion bolt.”

Shake Roof Tiles

The tile roof style is most often used in coastal regions of the country and are made with tiles that give off the appearance of cedar shakes. The longer eaves offer protection from heavy rains, strong winds, as well as wind-driven rain and snow.

Scalloped Roof Tiles

This tile roof style is very similar to shake roof tiles but has a more traditional look. The tiles are rounded, installed in rows, and overlapped to give the roof a fish scale appearance.

Graduated + Tapered Roof Tiles

This tile roof style can be found in both residential and commercial properties. The tiles are installed to have graduated rows that start off shallow, gradually taper into larger tiles as the slope moves downwards. This type of tile is most often used on curved and architectural roofs, and each tile often needs to be customized to fit the place it’s being placed.

Tile Roof FAQ

These are some of the most commonly asked questions about tile roofing and its use on homes as a roofing product.

How long do tile roofs last?

The lifespan of tile roofs is typically 100+ years, but that all depends on the materials, how well you maintain them, and where you live. Nonetheless, a tile roof will likely last a lot longer than the time you own your home.

Do tile roofs last longer than asphalt shingles?

installation of tile roofing

Yes! Tile roofing will outlive any other type of material used in this industry. However, they do come at a higher cost and thus you’ll need to decide what benefits you more.

How do you walk on a tile roof?

Walking on tile roofs can be very dangerous and difficult. The tiles aren’t designed to handle any significant weight and will easily crack or break. Trained professionals and contractors will likely be able to walk across. If you must attempt walking on a tile roof, move slowly and try to step near the edges of tiles where there’s support underneath.

Can roof tiles be painted?

Sure they can! But, most roofing companies would recommend that you buy roof tiles that are already painted. If you paint them after they’re already installed, you’ll have a lot of trouble, and it likely won’t be worth it.

Can flat roofs be tiled?

Flat roof systems are best suited with rubber or other materials. A tile system will need to be installed on a roof that has a significant slope.

What’s the most common tile roof material?

The roofing materials that are most commonly used will almost always depend primarily on your location. If you’re living in the southwest United States then clay tiles are by far the most common.

Can I replace my shingle roof with a tile roof?

The answer to this question will primarily depend again on where your home is located. Tile roofs are significantly heavier than most other roofs. Because of that, you may need to have extra support added to your roof.

Can I DIY a tile roof?

Installing any roof yourself is never recommended. There are a number of problems that can occur and some insurance companies won’t cover a roof that you install yourself. But, tile roofs are particularly difficult to install thus furthermore discouraging homeowners from installing tiles themselves.

What maintenance is required on tile roofs?

Maintenance is required with tile roofing, but not nearly as much as shingle roofs. You’ll need to inspect it at least once a year for wear and tear but otherwise, the roof will be almost maintenance-free.

Tile roofing will last much longer than any other type of material used in this industry and tile roofs don’t require nearly as much maintenance as shingle roofs. But they do come at a cost that is sometimes too significant for homeowners. Shingle roofs offer great protection for your home throughout its lifespan. If you’re looking for more details on the best roofing materials, check out our guide.

If you’re in need of a roof inspection or roof repair Red Canyon Roofing can help lift the load from your shoulders and get a high-quality roof back over your head. We offer free estimates and deliver the highest-quality roofs every time.