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Does tile roofing a suitable coverage material for your home?

Are you in the market for a roofing material that combines uncompromised durability and aesthetic appeal? Then your ultimate choice is tile roofing. Tiles come in multiple shapes, colors, and textures, giving a plethora of choices for customers seeking the best bang for their buck. As long as this material has been used for centuries, there are more traditional options made of fired clay, slate, or terracotta and modern ones made of molded concrete and polymer sand. These tile roofing variabilities vary in their price and longvety. However, they all feature excellent energy efficiency and are suitable for installation in coastal shoreline regions like California and Florida.

Does tile roofing a suitable coverage material for your home?

This article gives a comprehensive review of different types of roofing tiles, their average costs, installation & upkeep requirements, and advantages & shortcomings. Keep reading to realize whether tiles are any good for your roof.

What is tile roofing?

Tile roofs have a long history, with the first mentions dating back to 10000 B.C. This roofing material took its origin in the Middle East and then spread to other parts of the globe. Since then, tile roofing has been greatly modified and still serves as a reliable shield from the elements in many residential and commercial buildings. Thanks to their classic appearance with a touch of Spanish colonial style, tiles are commonly installed on the roofs of historic properties, churches, and museums. 

A tile roofing composition varies from ceramic and slate to fired clay, bitumen, and concrete. Manufacturers still strive to create an ideal variant of tiles that will be lightweight yet robust and suit all roof slopes. Depending on the roof structure, a tile roofing system consists of overlapping tiles attached to a roof deck or a substrate. Tiles installation is tricky and requires a specific skill set, not every roofer has. 

The expected service life of roofing tiles

The life expectance of roof tiles varies from 50 to 70 years, depending on their type, manufacturing standards, and coating. The average service life of a product is 60 years under the condition of correct installation and regular upkeep. All tiled roofs, be it fiber-reinforced or concrete tiles, have an extensive lifespan and outperform most other roofing materials in durability and longevity. 

The energy efficiency of tile roofs

Installing a tile roof can help you save hundreds of bucks on electricity annually. This material has excellent insulation and energy efficiency qualities, not overheating under the scorching sun and keeping a house warm in winter. The gap between the tiles and roof underlayment ensures natural ventilation, preventing heat transfer and lowering the load on an HVAC system. Plus, investing in energy-saving tile roofing allows you to benefit from federal and state tax credits. 

Basic maintenance requirements 

Tile roofing does not require special maintenance. Inspections one or two times a year, cleaning, and sealing are all you need to keep your tiled roof in mint condition for decades. However, if you live in a hurricane-prone area, regular inspections for the signs of cracks and chips are necessary. The timely roof tile repair may prevent the damage from spreading and save you a pretty penny on a complete tile roof replacement. 

Please note that you should never climb onto the roof on your own, as every misstep could result in massive roofing damage. Licensed contractors have a good idea of working with brittle tiles and follow the precaution measurements to prevent accidental coverage damages.

What are the key types of roofing tiles?

Today's roofing market offers a wide gamut of roof tiles that can differ in cost, durability, weight, and overall appearance. They can fit many modern home styles, perfectly combining glass, wood, and metal. Below we will break down the primary roof tile types and prices to help you understand their distinctive features, advantages, and flaws.

Slate & stone tiles

Slate tiles are gaining momentum among roofing materials. They're robust, fire-resistant, eco-sustainable, and may last for more than 100 years. Since this type of roofing material is made of natural stone, it has excellent weatherproofing and insulation properties. Besides, slate tiles have an exquisite appearance and come in multiple color variations that make the exterior home's design really stand out.

Nevertheless, stone tiles are heavy and complicated to install and replace. In most cases, pros recommend reinforcing the existing roof to ensure it may bear the weight of the tiles. This roofing material is expensive by itself. Plus, you should add the costs of labor-intensive installation. At the end of the day, you should expect to pay from $1.000 to $3.000 per square, including materials and labor. 

Clay tiles

Clay roofing has been used for centuries. In ancient times, the tiles were shaped manually, then dried, and mounted on the roof. In the modern world, manual manufacturing was displaced by machines, so the forms of tiles became sharper yet still preserved their charm and elegance. These days you can notice clay roofing on the roofs of modern homes built in a Spanish style. 

This material is distinguished by its aesthetic appeal, corrosion resistance, and durability. It can serve for a century with regular upkeep. Besides, clay tiles are relatively cheaper compared to other top-grade tile roofing options like stone ones.

The downside of clay roofing is its weight. The frame and structure of the roof should be reinforced to handle the extra load. On top of that, this roofing material requires professional installation as clay tiles can be easily broken in the hands of a layman. The cost of clay roofing varies from $1000 to $1800 per square, depending on the local labor costs and roof pitch. 

Concrete tiles

Concrete tiles are manufactured from organic components like cement, sand, and water. This composition makes them environmentally friendly and recyclable. Concrete is less expensive than stone and clay, but it does not hinder its quality and durability. You can expect this roofing material to serve for about 50 years, giving you reliable protection from wind and scorching sun. It can resist multiple freeze-thaw cycles without cracking or swelling. 

However, we should also say about the disadvantages that come along with the advantages of this product. The major one is weight. Concrete tiles are less heavy than clay ones but still cannot be installed without roof reinforcement. Besides, they tend to fade off over time and can absorb water during heavy rains. 

The cost of concrete roofing varies from $300 to $500 per square, depending on the selected tiles' quality, their coating, and the warranty given by the manufacturer. Installation of this roofing coverage requires roofing contractors' specific skills and expertise. Be ready to pay about $350 per square for labor. 

Metal tiles

Metal roofing variations like zinc, steel, aluminum, and copper have long been used to produce tiles. They are lightweight, sturdy, corrosion-resistance, and budget-friendly, making them a suitable option for cost-conscious homeowners who seek quality for the optimal price. On top of that, metal tiles come in a wide gamut of shapes and colors to suit different exteriors. Consider metal roofing if you seek an affordable material that can mimic slate or cedar shakes and last for about 50 years.

The drawbacks of metal tiles include their bendability and poor insulation properties. These are best to use in a mild climate without weather extremes. Besides, depending on the metal grade, you can experience water leakage and rust problems.

The average cost of metal shingles is $5.50 per square foot, including trim. If the spending on professional installation is added, the final estimate will range from $10.50 to $17.00 per square foot. 

Copper tiles

Copper roofs have been used for hundreds of years as they are unmatched in durability and weather protection. Tiles can easily withstand weather disasters, from heavy winds to hail and rain storms. The lifespan of copper roofing can be over 100 years. The material becomes even more robust as it ages, building up the protective film that serves as a shield from the elements. Besides, tiles made of copper look elegant and appealing, complementing multiple exterior designs. 

Copper is a precious material that costs correspondingly. So, one of its few disadvantages is the exorbitant price which equals $25 - $35 per square foot. If you have a steep roof with chimneys and skylights, you should expect to pay the higher end of the given price range.

Composite tiles

Composite roofing is made of recyclable materials like rubber and plastic. Except for its eco-friendliness, it is distinguished by extended service life, durability, and fungi protection (thanks to the non-porous structure). Composite tiles possess a high impact rating and can easily withstand heavy rain and hail storms. You can expect this roofing material to serve for 50 years before the first replacement. 

Composite is a rather costly but sought-after roofing material because it comes in diverse color patterns and can replicate premium roof materials like slate and cedar shake. The national average price for composite shingles installation ranges from $9.50 to $14.50, depending on the complexity of the existing roof structure, its size, and slope.

Solar tiles

Solar roofing is a state-of-the-art technology that serves as a reliable roof coverage that generates green energy. More and more homeowners consider this energy-saving roofing option as they know their investment will pay off in spades. Each tile can produce anywhere from 13 to 63 watts of solar energy, covering the primary electricity needs of the middle-sized family. Thus solar roofing is a reliable option for those seeking to cut their utility bills. 

Solar tiles are often compared to asphalt shingles by their appearance. However, they are more lightweight and flexible and can suit every roofing slope. You can expect the solar roof to serve you for 30 years with the maximum energy output. However, this extended lifetime can be achieved only with expert maintenance 2-3 times a year.  

Solar roofing is a premium and technologically advanced material requiring considerable investment. The average price per square foot of solar tiles ranges from $21 to $25. Plus, you should count the installation cost, which is usually 2-3 times higher than a traditional roofing material.

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The national average roof tile costs, including labor

Tile roofing is the number one choice for most American homeowners. This material combines an aesthetically-pleasing look, proven durability, and weatherproofing. That is why it typically comes with a higher price tag than other conventional roofing options like metal, rubber, or asphalt. 

Depending on the selected tile roofing type, its texture, coating, and warranty coverage, you can expect to spend between $16.000 to $32.000 to install tiles on a standard-sized single-story home.

Look at the table below to compare the average tile roof costs relevant for this date. Please note that the given prices may vary depending on your area and the complexity of the roof structure.

Tile roofing type                                                                                                                                                Cost per square (including labor)                                                                                                      
Slate & stone tiles $1.000 - $3.000
Clay tiles $1.000 - $1.800
Concrete tiles $650 - $1.250
Metal tiles $1.050 - $1.700
Copper tiles $2.100 - $3.300
Composite tiles $950 - $1.450
Solar tiles $2.500 - $3.700

Want to get the precise numbers on how much a tile roof costs to install? Consider referring to a few local contractors to get the exact price quotes based on the home's size, the structure of the existing roof, and its condition. You can easily connect with the proven roofing experts in your area using our free contractor-matching platform

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