Clay tiles are most often thought of in the traditional “S” or “Spanish” tile look but clay can now be made in several other patterns as well. Clay tile roofs are common on southern and coastal homes, where intense heat and high winds are a concern. Tile is a very resilient material and is able to withstand some of the harshest elements such as hail, wind, and fire. It’s resiliency is part of the reason it often comes with a 75-year warranty. Clay tile is definitely the high-end choice. It is molded, fired and glazed. Clay tiles have a great life expectancy, with a minimum duration of 50 years. Tile won’t rot or burn and it can’t be harmed by insects
Tile roofs are also energy efficient and fire resistant, suitable for use in fire-prone areas. Did you know that insurance companies will give a rebate to tile users because of the increased safety & weather resistance? The one downside is that standard roof maintenance such as painting or cleaning rain gutters or fireplaces, is challenging. Walking on tiles with a person’s full weight can damage the tile, so it is recommended to hire professionals for this work.
Like asphalt, clay roofing products are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors. Clay is slightly heavier than slate, so it must be adequately structurally reinforced. Further, only specialized contractors can install clay roofs as it requires cutting with a diamond-blade saw. Some customers have roofs that are too complex for installation because of its weight.
Over the past few decades, concrete has continued to gain momentum in the roofing field. It weathers well; offers excellent wind, hail, and fire resistance; and installs similarity to clay tile and slate. Concrete tiles have essentially all of the upsides of clay tile but with the added advantage of being available in an even greater number of styles. Cement roofing can be manufactured as S-tiles, villa tiles (low-profile tiles with a double S-shape), and flat tiles that often mimic the appearance of wood shake shingles or slates.
One of the most durable roofing materials available, concrete components generally carry a Class ‘A’ fire rating, making them a suitable choice for fire-prone areas. Concrete tiles have good thermal performance due to their relatively high emittance and high reflectance, especially those that have a smooth, light-colored finish. Although difficult to quantify, there is an added benefit from the circulation of air around and under S-tiles. Concrete tiles that are currently manufactured in markets such as Texas are popular as homeowners in other regions pay a premium to have them shipped in.
Most concrete tiles are the same weight as clay tile. Some concrete shakes are fortified with wood fibers and polymers to cut down on overall weight without compromising durability. Compared with clay or slate, concrete offers similar performance characteristics with a lower overall installation cost; it’s about half the price of slate or clay.