Comparing Roofer’s Tiles: Clay vs. Concrete

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Villa with clay roofer tile installation

Choosing between clay and concrete roof tiles? Consider factors like weight, durability, and energy efficiency. Clay tiles are durable with superior water resistance, while concrete tiles are heavier and more cost-effective. Prestige Roofing in Las Vegas offers various roofing services, including free quotes

Concrete or Clay: Which Roof Tile is Right for You?

photo of housing complex adorned clay roof tiles

Tile roofs are among the most durable, reliable, and aesthetically pleasing roof styles. A well-constructed tile roof installation will last for decades or longer, providing enduring protection for your home. Tiles come in a variety of styles, adding a touch of elegance and beauty to your property. Roofers tiles fall into one of two main categories: clay tiles (sometimes known as Spanish tiles) and concrete tiles. Both are excellent choices, but they each have distinct advantages and considerations when making your selection. Here are some factors to ponder when deciding between concrete or clay tiles.

Topics we will cover in this post

What are Clay Roof Tiles?

closeup shot of clay tile roof installation

Clay tiles represent the oldest form of roof tile, with a rich history dating back centuries. They are crafted from baked clay, often referred to as terra cotta. The clay tile manufacturing process results in exceptionally hard and durable tiles, capable of withstanding the elements for years to come. Clay tiles typically exhibit a natural terra cotta color, but they may also come in a range of variations, spanning from white to brown. They are available in a few distinct styles, including Spanish or Mediterranean “S” shaped tiles, rounded “Mission” tiles, and interlocking shingles, a modern innovation that creates a smoother, flatter roofline.

Concrete Roof Tiles

photo of concrete tile roof

Concrete tiles are manufactured using cement, sand and water at high heat and pressure. Iron oxide is usually added for color. Once hardened, concrete tiles can be painted any color, making them highly versatile for homeowners looking for a unique, custom look. They come in three styles, low or no curves, medium, which is up to one inch height for every five inches of tile, and high, which is a rise higher than one inch. They can be manufactured in the style of other roof materials and offer a wider variety of choices in design and colors than clay tiles.

Comparing Roofers Tile: Clay vs. Concrete Tile Roofs

tile roof residential aerial shot

  • Weight Considerations: Tile roofs are generally heavier than other roofing materials, but concrete tiles weigh significantly more than clay tiles, accounting for about 40% more weight. Before embarking on concrete tile installation, a thorough structural inspection is crucial to ensure the home’s framework can adequately support the added weight. To maintain the integrity and safety of your residence, it’s recommended to entrust roofers tile installation to experienced professionals.
  • Durability and Lifespan: Both clay and concrete tiles outlast many other roofing materials in terms of durability. Clay tiles, in particular, are renowned for their exceptional hardness and weather resistance, boasting a lifespan that can extend up to a century or more. Concrete tiles, while still durable, typically have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years. While both clay and concrete tiles are robust, they may be susceptible to cracking or breakage over time, with the risk of damage being heightened by severe weather events or falling tree limbs. It’s advisable to conduct regular inspections of your tile roof following significant weather events to identify any potential damage to your roofers tile.
  • Weather Resistance: Roofers tiles, whether clay or concrete, demonstrate remarkable resilience against most weather conditions, including strong winds and heavy rainfall. Clay tiles exhibit superior water absorption properties, absorbing just 6% of moisture compared to concrete tiles’ 13%. This reduced water absorption makes clay tiles less prone to mold, moss, or mildew growth. Additionally, when wet, clay tiles add less weight to the roof compared to concrete tiles. However, clay tiles may be susceptible to cracking or shattering in extreme cold temperatures, making concrete tiles a more suitable choice for colder climates. In contrast, clay tiles are less vulnerable to sun damage over time.
  • Energy Efficiency: Both clay and concrete tiles excel as insulators. However, clay roofers tiles are generally considered more energy efficient due to their ability to absorb more heat than concrete tiles, preventing that heat from entering the home. This enhanced energy efficiency stems from clay tiles’ higher thermal mass, which allows them to retain heat during the day and release it at night. Both clay and concrete tiles can further enhance their energy efficiency when incorporated into a well-designed roofing system that includes insulation. From an overall energy consumption standpoint, concrete tiles hold an advantage due to their 30% lower energy consumption during manufacturing and their reduced greenhouse gas emissions compared to clay tiles. Clay tiles, however, offer the benefit of being fully recyclable, as they can be reclaimed and returned to the soil.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Concrete tiles surpass clay tiles in terms of color and design options. While clay tiles typically exhibit a terracotta (red) hue, concrete tiles come in a wider spectrum of colors and patterns, catering to diverse aesthetic preferences. Clay roofers tiles retain their original color over time, whereas painted concrete tiles may experience color fading. For homeowners seeking a personalized and visually captivating look, concrete tiles offer a more extensive range of choices.
  • Maintenance Considerations: Both clay and concrete tile roofs boast remarkable durability, but due to the potential for cracking or breakage, regular inspections by a qualified roofer are essential. Clay roofers tiles generally demand minimal maintenance, but they may be susceptible to cracking in extreme cold temperatures, necessitating replacement. Concrete tiles, with their higher moisture absorption, may accumulate moss or mold in wetter climates, requiring regular cleaning to prevent damage to the roof structure. Consistent inspection and maintenance will ensure that your tile roof retains its aesthetic appeal and protective functionality for many decades to come.
  • Tile Roof Repair: Tile roofs are known for their durability, but they may still require repairs from time to time. Common tile roof repairs include replacing damaged or cracked tiles, addressing leaks, and resealing tiles to prevent moisture intrusion. Regular inspections and prompt repair of any issues can help extend the lifespan of your tile roof and protect your home from damage.
  • Tile Roof Cost Comparison: Concrete tiles, owing to their streamlined manufacturing process, are generally more affordable than clay tiles. These roofrs tiles also come in a wider array of styles and colors, offering greater flexibility for budget-conscious homeowners. Clay tiles, while slightly more expensive upfront, including installation costs, typically last longer and require less ongoing maintenance, making them a cost-effective investment in the long run.

Clay Tile Roof: A Classic Choice for Enduring Protection and Beauty

Clay tile roofs have long been prized for their exceptional durability, aesthetic appeal, and ability to withstand the elements. These roofers tiles, often referred to as Spanish tiles, add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any home. Crafted from baked clay, clay tile roofs can last for decades or even centuries, providing enduring protection against the elements.

Concrete Tile Roof: A Durable and Versatile Option

Roofers tiles play a crucial role in the durability and versatility of concrete tile roofs. Manufactured from a combination of cement, sand, and water, concrete tiles are known for their strength and resilience, making them well-suited for a variety of climates and architectural styles. Concrete roofers tiles come in a wide range of colors and styles, allowing homeowners to customize their roofs to match their unique preferences.

Reclaimed Roof Tiles

front home facade with reclaimed tiles used in custom tile roof installation

Clay tiles are a beautiful addition to your home, adding curb appeal and value to your home. One additional option with clay tiles is to add classic style and beauty with the use of imported reclaimed tiles. Because clay tiles are extremely durable, they can be salvaged and reused. Only tiles in good condition are reclaimed for custom installations. Reclaimed tiles from Europe, for example, can be imported and installed to give a home a unique, classic Mediterranean style. These tiles are a wonderful choice. for example for Spanish, Mission, Southwest or Mediterranean style home renovations. Style and color may depend on availability.

Alternatively, metal tile roofs offer a lightweight, energy-efficient, and long-lasting alternative to clay and concrete tiles.

Prestige Roofing Las Vegas Tile Roofing

Prestige Roofing offers a full range of roofing services and roofer’s tiles in Las Vegas and surrounding communities. Since our founding in 1995, we have installed thousands of tile roofs, including concrete and clay tiles, as well as beautiful imported reclaimed tiles. We offer a wide selection of tiles to fit your home and budget. For more information and a free quote, give Prestige Roofing a call at (702) 646-7536.