Tile Roofing: Pros & Cons and Installation

(Last Updated On: February 22, 2017)
House having tile roofing installed
House having tile roofing

Tile roofing has been in the market since centuries. Tile roofing has sustained the competition very well and has proved the test of time. Tile roofing was used in Greece in 3rd millennium BC. The early tile roofing was made from the clay and slate and these tile roofing materials were ready materials (ready to use). Now, in today’s time the modern tile roofing materials are made from plastic and concrete. There are many tile roofing types, some are available in form of tile roofing sheets, some of them are available in the form of tile roofing shingles, while some are available in the form of tile roofing planks. But among all the types of tile roofing, flat tile roofing is the simplest and are laid in an overlapping pattern. Tegula and Imbex patterns are also available which are designed to give the looks of Roman design. It’s a combination of both flats and curves for making a rain channel. Tile roofing can be considered as an adorable choice for giving your home classy and beautiful look. Installation of tile roofing can give a delightful presentation to your home. Tile is a durable material with beautiful looks but expensive. The tile roofing prices are quite high but in exchange it also gives a quality worth its price. Tile roofing is available in many shapes like curve, interlocking, flat or fluted. If you are residing in an area with hot climate or in an area having salty air, the tile roofing are the best type of roof to opt for. This type of roofing is very much prevalent in the coastal areas or southwest areas like California or southern Florida. If you are considering installation of tile roofs then you must consider knowing tile roofing advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of them:


  • Designed for long term

Lasted for over a century of extraordinary fieldwork in many of the parts of the world, this type of roofing provides by far the longest track record of overwhelming performance as compared to other types of roofs like asphalt, shingles, wood and many others. The modern engineering designs provides you with natural water shedding and the ventilation quality allows tiles to be the primary roof cover in cold and warm climates. Tiles are also very prevalent for reducing ice damming in cold regions. The high strength and weight of tiles roofing allows it to meet up with anticipated pressure of today’s design needs for regions with all climates.

  • Available in plenty of colors and styles

Types of tile roof
Various colours of tile roof

Tile roofing is a versatile choice of roofing and they are available in many sizes, shapes and colors in the market. In today’s time no one wants to opt for roofs which can’t give innovative designs and trendy styles. With modern innovations, clay tile roofing and concrete tile roofing manufacturers can manufacture tiles which can suit any architectural design or style from New Colonial to Historic or Contemporary from Mediterranean to authentic Spanish, it can suit any style. Roof tiles can be round or it can be flat, it can simulate wood shakes or it can replicate any of the old roofing materials. The possibilities are countless.

  • Maintain the colors

In case of tile roofing, colors come from natural sources or from a combination of clay (for clay tile roofing only) or from usage of iron oxide pigments (for concrete tiles). All of them are purely durable. Tiles can experience some degrees of color softening after prolonged exposure to elements. But this happens to a very lesser amount with the roof tile as compared to that of other roofing materials. There are certain tile roof manufacturers which give guarantee against fading of their tiles for 50 years.

  • Long lasting protection

For maintaining the long lasting beauty, the weight of tile roofing plays very important role as it gives very enduring protection without creating any problems unlike several other roofing materials. Most of the today’s built homes are very much strong which can support the weight of a tile roof. There are also options available of light weight tiles which are offered in certain regions of the country which are a good fit for re roofing or new roofs. Tile is very rapidly becoming the most ideal choice for re roofing because of its durability and also its ease in maintenance. Even tile roofing repair is also easy when compared to other types of roofing materials.

  • Sustain high winds

Tile roofings are great at sustaining severe weather conditions. That’s the reason why clay tiles and concrete tiles are preferred too much in the southeast regions. If installed properly, tile roofs can withstand wind speed of 150 miles per hour. Due to this great quality of tile roofing, it is opted very much in the regions with high wind velocity.

  • Economical

Tile roofings are one of the most cost effective types of roofing material because of their long life span of 50 to 100 years or sometimes even more than that. Tile roofing can outlast other roofing options with manufacturers even giving warranty ranging from 50 years to the existing life of the structure. In fact, in places like Europe and Asia, tiles roofs have remain functional, beautiful and intact for many centuries.

  • Needs limited maintenance

All roofing materials needs some amount of maintenance and some of the regions and climates have some issues regardless of any type of roofing system to be installed. If installed in normal conditions, a tile roof needs minimum maintenance. In case of tiles, it needs maintenance in matters of flashing, venting, gutters and protrusion unlike other roofing materials which also needs painting, coating, cleaning, and sealing for the majority of the roofing surface.

  • Provide safety

Tile roofs are prepared from fire resistant materials. These are also popular for preventing fire from starting on the home and not only that, it also stops the fire spreading from the home of neighbors to your home. These also offer protection against rotting and insect boring which is the key factor in its durability and long life.

  • Eco friendly

Tile is a material which is Eco-friendly. This is beneficial to nature and also creates a positive impact when you put your home for resell. This quality can give you better price. It can also be easily recycled. One of the added benefits is that it is also energy efficient. It regulates the indoor temperature of your house. Tiles have thermal mass and it is good for managing indoor temperature.

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  • Cost

One of the major disadvantages of tile roofs is its high cost. The initial cost of tile roofs is very much high. As compared to asphalt roofing the initial tile roofing cost is approximately two to three times more. Tile roofing cost per square meter if seen for clay is $675 to $1400 and when seen for concrete it ranges from $400 to $ 450.

  • Installation

One of the drawback which we can be seen is its high cost. Now, if you think that you can cut down some cost by opting for DIY installation then sad part is that you have to scratch out the tile roofing installation from your DIY list. Such type of roofing needs professional tile roofing contractors or tile roofing companies as they require to be precisely measured. Any mistake in measurement can ruin the whole thing. They also need to be laid down in specific pattern and need to be properly checked for preventing moisture from getting through.

  • These are heavy

Tile roofing are extraordinarily heavy. This is one of the greatest disadvantages of tile roofs. Here you need to install an additional reinforcement for supporting the weight of the roof. Additional reinforcement indicates additional cost. Structural engineer should be hired for installing the additional support. Proper ventilation is also necessary to be installed for facing the excessive heat in summer. Tile roof can weigh from 850 pounds to 950 pounds which can be difficult for a home to manage.

  • Delicate

Of course, tile roofs can last for a very long period of time but you are not allowed to walk on them as they are very much fragile and chances are they will break when walked upon. Whenever, something goes wrong with your tile roof, its better to call a professional for tile roof repair. You don’t have the right technique to walk on tile roof but they do have one and can repair your roof easily without breaking them.

  • Maintenance

Maintaining tile roofing
Ways to maintain tile roofing

Tile roofs are low maintenance and durable and they don’t need to be replaced for at least 50 years. But, the materials on which they are laid needs to be replaced every 20 years. If not done so, it can start caving and your roof gets deteriorated. Tile roofs cannot be used for a roof whose pitch is below 4:12.

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It’s very much necessary that you take a careful look at the tile roofing advantages and disadvantages so that you know what you have to deal with in your future years. Now if you finally decide to opt for tile roofs then the next step for which you must be thinking about is its installation. Here is a detailed step wise method for tile roofing installation.

Tile roofing installation

  • Decide the type of tiles you want

There are several different grades of tile roofing from which you can choose. You must identify the one which fits in with the climate in which your building is located. You must decide whether you want clay tile roofing or you want concrete tile roofing to be installed in your home. There are several grades based on the climatic conditions which are available for both the types. Clay tile roofing is considered to be the most long lasting type of roofing, even more than the concrete tile roofing. Usually concrete tile roofing is expected to last for 30 to 35 years in proper conditions whereas clay tile roofing is expected to last for 100 years. The color of concrete tile roofing is likely to fade more early as compared to that of clay tile roofing.

  • Make list of necessary tools and materials

Tile roof installation tools
Tools for tile roof installation

You will definitely have to collect all the tools and materials needed for roofing before you start with the work. It is really irritating that you are into middle of the work and then you realize you forget any of the material or any of the tools and then you have to leave the work in middle and run for getting the missing material or tool. It is advisable to collect all the tools and material at once at the initial stage only. The must needed thing is a ladder. After that you need a gasket nail which is a nail with an interior plastic cap which will help prevent leaks and seal nail holes. You will also need underlayment. It is water resistant layer which is installed between the tiles and sheathing and roof frame. Then you need outdoor caulk or sealant. You will be available with many options but opt for the one which high qualitative and durable.

  • Remove old roofing

This is a major job in its own. This can take many days to be implemented. Take appropriate time out before you start with this step. Removing old roofing is very much important as your new tile roof will not adhere properly if the old roof is not removed.

  • Repair and reinforce the roof

You must reinforce the frame of roof even before stripping off any existing roof. Also check the sheeting and the layers of the wood along with other materials which covers the area between outer layer of roof and open frame. If it is damaged or weak, then strengthen it by proper repairs. Also pay focus on the weight involved. Most of the people use cheap and common shingles which are light. If you are transferring from light roof to a heavy tile roof then you must change you shingles or else it cannot take the weight of heavy tile roof. If you are having an average house with 1500 square foot roof, the total of tiles and underlayment will equal to approximately 8 tons in weight. It is more than two SUV parked on the roof of your home.

  • Install the underlayment

Install the first row of underlayment at one of the sides of the roof, which should be perpendicular to lower edge of your roof. When you roll out the underlayment, place the bottom edge of the material in alignment with the edge of eave but it should be above any metal or any synthetic edge which can cover borders of eave. Secure underlayment properly. Roll out 3 m long sections at one time and then secure it properly with nails. Separate it with intervals of 24 inches. Keep all the nails minimum 2 inches from the edge of your roof. When you finally reach the end of the roof, cut the excess underlayment roll to match up with the edge and secure its end with nails. Start again at the end of the roof where you first initiated. After that, overlap the underlayment partially with the new layer covering all those which were already applied. There might be series of lines along the roll of underlayment and this is to show the installer accurately as to how much the layers must overlap. The top line of the installed layer must be treated in the same manner as you have treated bottom edge of the eave.

  • Work around obstacles

Objects like chimney which project out from the roof will be needed to seal up. Metal flashing must be used around the chimney and these must be sealed by using the caulk or any such other sealant which is specifically designed for outdoor use. Underlayment must be cut in proper size to fit around the obstacles. After that an additional layer of material must be placed over the areas where the underlayment and flashing meet and are secured in their own place.

  • Install battens

If your roof has a steep slope then you might need battens to hold your tiles in place. Battens are basically the thin strips of materials which run horizontally along the length of the roof. It is usually of wood but sometimes it can be metal or plastic and it’s generally 2 inch wide and 1 inch thick. Many of the tile varieties have a lip or hook which can hang on available battens. This is one of the things to consider while choosing the tile that fits with your needs. Clips are also available for attaching tiles into batten. Make use of two tiles for deciding the space needed for battens. You need to keep minimum 3 inch of overlap for the tiles which do not interlock and you also need small amount of overhang over the eaves. Note this when you decide the location of the battens. After you decide the distance between first two battens, measure the distance and set the battens using that space all the way up. Make sure to double check all the measurement while you are working.

  • Install tiles

Tile roof installation
professionals installing tile roof

First of all start with one side and then move with the length of the roof. If you haven’t installed battens, you can nail your tiles directly into the sheathing. If you have already installed battens then you will have to nail the tiles into the battens. You can also make use of clips for anchoring the tiles to the battens. If you are using those tiles which are very tightly interlocked, it might not be a necessity to nail all the tiles to the battens or sheathing.

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Tile roofing is ultimately a good option to go for but it is advisable to first refer its pros and cons and if you feel like then only opt for it. Also check out its installation process mentioned above for better understanding of tile roofing. Write to us if you need any further guidance. (Use the Contact Us page).

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