The Ultimate Guide to Tile Roofing

The roof is the most important part of the house for more homeowners. It will enhance your home’s curb appeal while protecting your interior from exterior elements like rain, snow, and more. But this will only be possible if you choose a suitable roofing material.  

Tiles are a popular option in many parts of the world. This strong and durable material can give you up to 100 years of service when installed properly.

This ultimate guide to tile roofing aims to review this material and help you choose the right type. We will explain what tile roofing means, the types of tile roofs, the roofing styles, and much more.

Keep reading.

The Ultimate Guide to Tile Roofing

What is Tile Roof

Tiles have been used as a preferred roofing material since 10000 B.C. They were first used in China before spreading to other parts of the world through the middle east.

Clay tiles come as the traditional material, which gave birth to other materials. It’s commonly known as terra cotta in the USA. Today, we have concrete roof tiles, composite roof tiles, ceramic tiles, slate, and metal, among others.

Technological advancement has enabled manufacturers to use other materials like metal, tinted concrete, and bitumen to make more options. You can always tell a tile roof from its appearance and the material it’s made from.

Installing a tile roof is quite challenging. You need to hire a contractor with experience and a reputation for installing roof tiles. Otherwise, you will be dealing with issues of leakage and even a falling roof.

Installation of tile roofs begins from the lower side of the roof. The tiles are secured in a row from the deck. They then overlap the net row over the initial row until the whole roof is complete.

Clay and concrete tile roof are the most common choice. This is because they are more durable and have been around much longer. Other types, like composite roof tiles, are more recent, although they have spread quickly in popularity.

In summary, a roof tile is a roofing material made from clay, concrete, or other materials. They are designed to give your home durability while withstanding extreme weather conditions.

Benefits of Tile Roofs

Tiles offer several benefits. These include:

Durable and Long-lasting

With proper installation, a tile roof can last for a lifetime. You may never need another type of roof since tiles are made from extremely durable materials. Look at the older buildings in your area, and you will realize tiled roofed ones still have the original roofs.

Robust aesthetics

Another incredible benefit of tile roofs is that they come in so many options. There are so many tile types to choose from, each offering a robust interlocking design. Also, tiles can be installed in a wide range of styles. These include Spanish tiles, flat tiles, and much more.

Fire resistant

You can be sure of top-notch fire resistance from any tile roofing you choose. All materials that make tiles are non-combustible. Clay and concrete tiles have the highest rating for fire retardancy; hence, they are most recommended for fire-prone areas.

Tiles come in different shapes

Choose your tiles in flat or convex shapes, and they will deliver the same performance. Some can be designed in fish scale appearance to create a unique roof or be crafted in any other approach that makes you happy.


Whether they are made from normally heated clay or from polymer sand, tiles offer the best weather-resistant properties. They can withstand speeds of up to 200mph and are tested to withstand hail and large debris. Modern manufacturers use high-end technologies to meet and exceed seismic load requirements.

Limitations of Tile Roofing

Even though tile roofs have many benefits, they have limitations. You need to understand this before making a commitment. Here are some of them:

High initial installation cost

A tile roof installation can cost you between $1000 and $4000 per square foot. This is the price for slate tiles, which is the most expensive. Clay and composite tiles cost between $400 and $450 per 100 square feet. This price may vary depending on the market and demand.


Tiles are quite heavy. Hence, they require proper structural reinforcement, which could lead to additional installation costs. Concrete tiles are the heaviest, with one capable of weighing 12 pounds each.

Hard to install

There are few professional roofers who can install tile roofs properly. They require more technical knowledge than roofing materials like metal and asphalt shingles.

Possibly brittle

Even though they are durable, clay and concrete tiles are quite brittle. They can crack or break easily if not handled with care, making them even harder to install. However, not all tiles are brittle. Metal and bitumen-based tiles can handle pressure much better.

Common Types of Tiles

Clay tiles

Clay tiles are the most popular in San Antonio and the rest of the USA. It enjoys the same popularity as asphalt roofing. They are made from durable natural materials with incredible weather-resistant features.

Clay roof tiles were originally handmade. Today, however, technology and machines have increased manufacturing efficiency. Clay tiles have the same features as ceramic tiles.

One of the significant advantages of a clay tile roofing system is weather resistance. Apart from that, they offer great color retention, a long lifespan, rot- and fire-resistant, and much more. But they are heavy and quite brittle.

Concrete tiles

A concrete tile is made from common concrete. It’s a mixture of sand, cement, and water, making a strong tile.

A major advantage of concrete tile roofing is affordability. Installing it is much cheaper than slate and soil but sturdier. Aside from that, concrete tile roofs offer a great variety of styles.

 However, they are heavy when dry and even heavier when wet. This could make installation much harder, especially when you need repairs.

Slate tiles

Slate tiles have a natural appearance, great durability, and longevity, making them one of the most popular choices. The first slate tile roof appeared in the northeastern area with large slate deposits.

Slate roofing delivers a great choice of colors and options. Generally, Synthetic roof tiles mimic clay or wood roofing. They can also be crafted to look like asphalt shingle roofs.

Slate roofs have become extremely popular today as they offer durability and excellent aesthetics. They may be a bit expensive to install, but the long-term benefits are much bigger.

Metal tiles

Metal tile roofing systems have become popular due to the use of metal. Materials like copper, steel, zinc, and aluminum are molded to resemble clay roof tiles and other options. You will find these tiles in a wide range of colors and shapes.

The biggest advantage of metal roof tiles is their light weight. This makes them ideal for roofs that can’t support the heavier clay and concrete tile roofing material options.

Unfortunately, metal roof tiles are easily dented. Repairing them can prove challenging. Also, they don’t have insulation capabilities, and metal roofs can be dangerous to walk on when you need to do some maintenance tasks.

Nevertheless, metal tiles are a great option to avoid expensive clay and stone tiles.

Composite tiles

A mixture of man-made and natural materials is used in making composite tiles. Hence, they are more sustainable and can work best as flat roof tiles. You can replicate them to mimic any other tile roofing option on the market.

Composite tiles promise better protection against mildew and mold. They are non-porous, which keeps these parasites off.

Get ready to deal with regular cleaning, as the gravel layer causes dirt to build up. But that should be fine if you are getting great value.

Bituminous tiles

These are synthetic tiles crafted from cellulose fiber or fiberglass mixed with bitumen. It’s a flexible and lightweight material often covered with basalt or granite chips to give it varying textures.

Installing these tiles on a sloped roof is quite easy. Only adhesives are necessary, with no need for fasteners or screws, and hence, less likely to leak. Nevertheless, they must be properly installed by a professional roofer.

The main limitation of bituminous tiles is their high price tag. Aside from that, frequent exposure to water will damage them easily.

Synthetic tiles

Synthetic tiles are becoming a common choice for modern homeowners. They are crafted from cement, fine aggregate, water, and other chemicals for coloring and texture. Their low cost and durability make them ideal for most needs.

Roof Tile Styles

When choosing a tile roof, ensure you work with someone who understands variety. There are various styles of installing them. Let’s look at the most common ones.

Spanish tile roofing

You have probably come across these S-shaped tile roofs. It’s the most recognizable choice serving more homeowners than any other style. The style creates a unique ripple pattern most common to terra cotta tiles.

Scalloped tiles

The curved bottom edge is the most common feature of scalloped interlocking tiles. The end result is often a fish scale pattern on foot to deliver a stand-out look. Synthetic tiles are the most preferred material for this option. You can always rely on a reputable installer to perfect your installation.

Mission tile roof system

Separate tiles are used to create concave and convex shapes alternatingly. This incredible option has become popular due to the various subcategories. A primary advantage of this style is that it offers natural air ventilation, making it a solid substrate for many other styles.

Flat shingle roof pattern

Flat shingle roofs are another incredible style that works on any home architectural style. Flat tiles can have interlocking edges or not. The lack of interlocks characterizes shingle patterns. It all comes down to the installer’s creativity.

 Shake roofing stile

Wood shake roof tiles have become very popular today. Manufacturers make them from clay, concrete, and composite materials.

Interlocking tiles

Interlocking or overlapping roof tiles form lines. The channels they form on either side can recognize these styles easily. Interlocking is used via a specific channel and lip, not on the tiles. Homeowners can customize them to meet individual preferences and roofing needs.

How to Maintain Tile Roofs

Roof tiles are made of a brittle material that can break under pressure. And yet they are quite expensive to install. To avoid extra expenses from such issues, proper maintenance is necessary.

Consider the following:

Ensure your tiles are always clean

Concrete and barrel tiles absorb water only if they are checked regularly. This can lead to the growth of mold and algae, especially for accumulating dirt. So, clean them regularly.

Use a recommended tool when maintaining your tiles

We recommend using a roof rake to remove loosened dust and debris from the surface. Use it also when it rains to get rid of any moisture.

Avoid keeping heavy items on the tiles

Due to their brittle nature, tiles can easily break when they come in contact with heavy tools. A tile under moisture is more prone to breakage than any other roofing material.

Do not use strong chemicals

The chemicals you use to clean your tiles can make a huge difference. Bleach and abrasive cleaning agents can easily damage the surface.

Choose the right tile option

The increasing number of clay, concrete, and metal roofing options creates a whole world of tile options. Consider your local weather when selecting. Also, your roof pitch should be kept in mind whenever working on your new home project.

The Ultimate Guide to Tile Roofing – Cost of Installation

It’s no secret that tiles are more durable and aesthetically outstanding than other roofing materials. However, these features come at a high price tag.

The average cost is $6-$15, $4 – $10, $5.50 – $$16, $9 – $16, and $21 – $25 per square foot for clay, concrete, terracotta, slate, and solar tiles, respectively. Apart from the material type, other factors that affect pricing include:

  • The roof pitch. The cost of installation rises with the slope extension. Steeper roofs will require more work and hence, higher prices.
  • Roof structure. Tiles are quite heavy, so you will need structural reinforcement, raising the installation costs.
  • High cost of installation. A contractor will charge installation and labor fees separately. Consider a roofer who offers flexible offers.

Bison Roofers is known for delivering high-quality services at affordable prices. Besides, booking a roofing service is quite easy and convenient.

Frequently Asked Questions

What roof do tile styles install?

There are several styles fitted for different needs in tiles. Our expert roofers are skilled in any style you may want. Call for inquiries.

Is painting tiles recommended?

Tile can be painted. However, the paint may stick for a short time. Luckily, you can find any color of tiles you want so that you don’t have to worry about the paint.

What other services come with roofing?

When you call a roofing contractor, they will look at everything else that is required to make your home amazing. They will handle everything from the roof deck to roof drainage and even siding. It all depends on your budget and specific needs.