What’s The Cost to Replace My Tile Roof?

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Part 3: Tile Roofing

For the third part of this series on “What’s The Cost to Replace My Roof?” we will go over tile roofing. What exactly is a tile roof and why would this be the right choice for your home? We’ve previously covered asphalt shingle roofing and metal roofing, so check out those articles too for more perspective on your options. In the next post we’ll cover flat roofs.

Most homeowners choose either a clay tile or concrete tile roof. Slate is also available, but it’s more expensive, less readily available, and fewer contractors have the expertise to install this type of roof. Plastic and composite and polymer roofing materials are now available, as well, but we’ll focus on clay and concrete tiles in this article. Both are proven and excellent choices for beauty and durability over decades.

Why You May Choose A Tile Roof

Clay tiles have been used for roofing for more than 2,000 years all over the world. They are the standard choice in much of the world and have proven their value in climates from tropical, such as Latin America, to temperate, such as Spain and Italy, to cold, such as Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

European clay tile roof for cost to replace roof
Photo by Matthew Harris on Unsplash

Concrete tiles are a more recent development, but the base material is more or less the same as ever. It’s a mixture of sand, Portland cement, and water. A concrete tile can be manufactured to resemble a contoured clay “S” tile, or a flat slate tile. They’re available in a variety of colors, textures, and finishes, so you can find a choice to align with any architectural style.

Both styles have an aesthetic appeal that’s common to premium products that offer true value. A tile roof simply looks good, and gives an impression of heft and solidity that an asphalt roof doesn’t offer. You can choose among profile options and color options. So whether you have a Spanish Colonial-style home or an Arts and Crafts style home, or another style, you’ll find a tile option that works.

In addition, tile roofs meet Florida’s rigorous codes, which is why you see them everywhere. They survive the intense sun, wind, rain, and storms that are a fact of life in Florida. They’re also energy efficient, acting as sort of a thermal break from the hot sun to the interior structure of your home. And they’re inflammable, so they get a Class A fire rating that far surpasses an asphalt shingle roof.

Both clay tiles and concrete tiles are more similar than different, but it’s wise to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Clay Tiles vs Concrete Tiles: What’s the Difference?

The entire roofing system required for tiles has evolved over time to the system you can choose today. Both types are installed the same way: on top of your roof surface you’ll have a waterproof barrier product, with battens on top of that. The roofer then nails each tile into the batten. The batten runs crossways across the entire roof for each row of tiles. This method creates an air space over the entire plane of the roof that’s isolated from the interior of the home. That’s good for energy efficiency in steamy Florida. It stops some heat transfer into the house that’s common with asphalt shingles. It also creates a drainage plane so gravity pulls any moisture that makes it past the tiles down to the eaves (lower roof edges). Concrete tiles are installed the same way.

Either type of tile roof will be exceptionally durable, but old-school clay tiles hold the edge. That’s partly because they absorb so little moisture. Typically, moisture has a detrimental effect on buildings and their components. So clay tiles that absorb just half the moisture of a similar concrete tile will last longer.

That said, a clay tile roof can cost roughly 20 percent more than a comparable concrete tile roof, even if all the other components are the same. That 20 percent will be a big number. So concrete tiles can look like a very smart choice from a budget standpoint.

What’s The Cost To Replace My Roof: Concrete Tiles vs Clay Tiles

To get a rough estimate of the cost to replace your roof, check out this handy calculator.

What are the drawbacks of a tile roof?

Both types are heavier than asphalt shingles. That means you’ll probably need to reinforce the roof framing if you’re going from an asphalt shingle or metal roof. To illustrate, an asphalt shingle roof typically weighs from 275-425 pounds per square (100 square feet). A concrete tile roof will weigh around 700 pounds per square. A clay tile roof will weigh approximately 2,000 pounds per square. You could face a substantial cost to upgrade the roof framing, in addition to the cost of the tiles.

While they’re both exceptionally durable, clay tiles can break from loading, such as walking on them. Both types can also be damaged from impact, such as a tree limb or flying debris in a storm. That damage requires repair that’s often expensive because it’s challenging and requires an expert contractor. Repairing an asphalt shingle roof can often be completed in one work day. Repairing a tile roof requires a higher level of skill. It’s often a two-day or multi-day affair.

Both clay and concrete tiles cost more than asphalt shingles. But don’t get bogged down in the price per square without an estimate. A tile roof is not going to be a one-day flash job in the way some asphalt shingle jobs are. Any tile roofing job requires more expertise than a basic shingle job, and a competent evaluation of your home’s structure is crucial. If your home has suffered storm damage or rot, then your roofer will have to make those repairs as well before the new roof can go on.

Finally, due to its more three-dimensional profile, a tile roof has more surface area than a shingle or metal roof. In Florida, that’s more area for moss, mold, and other unwelcome growing things. That stuff must be cleaned periodically on any roof, and usually more often on a tile roof.

Those drawbacks aside, a tile roof is worth the expense and the effort if you’re planning to be in your home for more than a couple years. As with any product, you get what you pay for, but it’s also good to get what satisfies you.

We’re Here When You Need Us

If you’d like to talk about replacing your roof, give us a call at 813-373-9088. Our team has more than 40 years of experience in roofing. You can also use this form and ask us, “what’s the cost to replace my roof?” and we will contact you.

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