Are tile roofs better than shingles?

Black tile roof.

The Popularity of Tile Roofing

Many historic homes in the area have tile roofing, a popular design element in the mid-19th century. Today, many newer homes along with home rebuilds after teardowns are choosing roof tiles over asphalt shingles. Why? To keep the architectural design cohesive in most cases, and because many believe that roof tiles are superior to other choices in roofing materials. So, is a tile roof better than shingle roofing?

The roof on your home is a major component, so when choosing to have a new roof installed, it is important, it isn’t a light decision that you can take back to the return department. Two popular choices today are asphalt shingles, probably the most popular of all, and roof tiles, for that historic look.

Shingles Vs Roof Tiles

Outside of appearance though, which is the better option? There are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Asphalt Shingle Roofing 

Asphalt shingles are comprised of several small slates that are overlapping and are made from a variety of materials: asphalt, copper, fiberglass, and wood. Most of the roof shingles you see today are asphalt and fiberglass combined. 

Asphalt roof shingles are a straightforward and easy installation. They are easy to maintain, come in a variety of colors and designs, and have a lifespan up to 30 years. When it comes to cost, asphalt is less expensive than roof tiles. 

  • Roof Tiles 

Roof tiles are similar to the asphalt shingles, yet different. Roof tiles are typically made of clay or concrete, not fiberglass. Roof tiles are sealed to the roof, improving the durability of the material and the protection of the home. 

Roof tiles have different styles that can range from a Mediterranean architect style to a Southwest style. Installation of this type of roof is more complicated than an asphalt shingle roof, making the cost more expensive, but the lifespan is up to 40 years or longer. 

Taking this basic information of both roof shingles and roof tiles, we can’t determine one better than the other. Both have benefits. Both have drawbacks. It is a matter of personal taste and budget. Roof tiles are longer lasting though more expensive, but will maintain their resale value longer. If a house has not had a tile roof before, an engineering report will be needed to determine the structure’s integrity because roof tiles are heavier. 

Is tile roof more expensive?

Definitely, and for good reason. The material is much heavier than asphalt shingles, meaning it will require more labor and time to install. These both affect the bottom line for a roofing contractor. If the existing home hasn’t had roof tiles before, it will likely need reinforcement to hold the weight of roof tiles. 

Roofing and siding both are typically quoted in squares, roof tiles will cost between $120 and $250 a square and if structural support is needed, that cost will typically run between $465 and $665 a square. The tear-off of the existing roof will be the same cost regardless of what roofing material is being installed, which is around $1,000 depending on the size of the roof. 

What is the lifespan of a tile roof?

The biggest advantage that roof tiles offer a homeowner is the lifespan. Chances are that the current homeowner that has roof tiles installed will never need to re-roof the home again with a lifespan of 50 years. Looking at homes and other structures throughout Europe where roof tiles have been the norm, many have had the same roof tiles for centuries. 

How long does a tile roof last?

When do tile roofs need to be replaced? Regardless of what type of roof material you have installed on your home, it will vary in durability and price, but roof tiles are the most durable, as well as the most expensive. They are also more environmentally friendly and weather resistant.

  • Clay Roof Tiles: the more popular choice in southern coastal areas and more expensive. Durability and wind resistance are key bonus to this roofing material.. 
  • Concrete Roof Tiles: Heavier than the aforementioned clay roof tiles and more durable with a lifespan up to 50 years or longer. 

Roof tiles of any material have an exceptionally long lifespan when they have been installed properly and maintained properly. The factors that can affect their lifespan include: 

  • Hailstones
  • High Winds
  • Hurricane winds
  • Inadequate Roof Ventilation
  • Poor Maintenance and Upkeep
  • Overhanging Trees 
  • Poor Installation
  • Loose, Missing Flashings
  • Poor Quality or Insufficient Roof Cement 
  • The Underlayment

How do you clean a tile roof?

Because the roof is exposed to the elements and weather, it takes a beating, and it will get dirty and stained. With roof tile, knowing how to clean it properly is important to get that 50 year lifespan we’ve talked about. 

While a pressure wash is tempting, it can also be damaging, and it really isn’t necessary on roof tile. This material cleans easier than asphalt and a soft pressure of 60psi is sufficient to get a tile roof clean and looking good. The standard 4000psi will do more damage than good. Add an algaecide to the soap and water, and you’ll keep the algae off for at least 12 months.

Can you walk on a tile roof?

With utmost care, yes, walking on roof tiles is possible. You shouldn’t wear any heavy shoes like boots – only a soft soled shoe. Place your steps on the bottom of each tile, this is where they are supported by the tile below it and keep your weight evenly distributed across the tile. 

Can tile roofs be repaired?

Yes, if you have a broken or cracked roof tile, simply pop the damaged tile up with care and replace it with a new tile. Secure it down with an adhesive, not nails. It is best to let a professional that is experienced in working with tile roofs make repairs instead of trying to attempt this yourself. 

Red tile roof.

In Closing – Deciding What Roof Tile is Best

Concrete roof tiles are superior to clay roof tiles in most ways. Concrete roof tiles are a great alternative to ceramic roof tiles because they don’t break as easily and still have an appearance similar to ceramic roof tiles. The mixture of cement, sand, and water makes for a heavy duty roof tile that is less expensive and more durable. If you’re interested in roof tiles for your home, reach out to Accent Roofing & Construction at 214-295-5500.