For Your Next Roof - Go Clay Tile.

Updated: Aug 17


When you hear the word "Roof", what roofing material often comes to mind immediately?? Your first thought might be asphalt or asphalt shingle, or possibly some type of tile roof - clay, slate, concrete, metal, stone, etc. Or possibly your mind went straight to cedar shake or other some type of wooden component siding or supplemental siding material. Maybe you thought of something cool and hip like a green roof. There are many roofing choices a homeowner has, although location (in regards to climate) normally drives a predominant roof type. For example, our home inspections in Minneapolis almost always reveal a 3-tab asphalt shingle roof, which has traditionally dominated this region. However, we are seeing more and more clay tile roofs in this area, especially in the newer developments. Our home inspections in Northern California and Sacramento offer the home inspector a good mix of tile and asphalt shingle.


In this blog we will discuss the advantages of clay tile roofing over asphalt shingle roofing, and focus on the areas where we complete our residential home inspection work.


Tile used for roof covering material, is generally made from clay or out of concrete. Tile has been around for centuries, used on all types of homes. On world-wide scale, tile roofs are likely more popular and used than asphalt shingle roofs still.


In the southwest where it's hot / dry in the warmer months and mild in winter, or in a Mediterranean climate like Sacramento California - possibly even San Francisco Bay area -- tile roofs are a very popular choice and offer a plethora of advantages over your basic (non-modified) asphalt shingle roof. The disadvantages of tile are few -- more expensive (about three to four times more than asphalt), but if you plan on staying in the home, you will make up these costs in maintenance, replacement, and energy savings. Also, some homes may have been constructed with a truss frame not able to support the design load of the tile roof; therefore, causing the homeowner to pay for expensive modifications, or abandoned the tile roof idea in general. However, a good majority of residential single-family homes in the United States are designed to withstand the weight of clay tile.


A tile roof offers improved resistance to weather elements; including, wind, rain, hail, snow, sunlight, and heat. A tile roof will be tougher (strength, endurance, longevity) than your standard asphalt shingle roof, and could last from 50 to 100 years if maintained. The aesthetics of a tile roof dominate the roofing market, offering a glut of styles, colors, designs, and material itself. All of these options available to the consumer - make improving the roof with tile, an exciting project for most home owners or prospective home purchasers / buyers.


Another large advantage tile has over asphalt shingle, is the design. Tile roofing is constructed with an air-channel (gap) between the roofing deck and the tiles themselves. This gap is designed to allow for optimal air flow and ventilation, making the tile roof even more versatile, and able to thrive in multiple environments. The area is breathable and able to expel excessive heat, with moisture - very rapidly. Also, the tiles are normally manufactured with a curved S-shape, which helps to facilitate air flow.


Another area in roofing science, is how much sunlight the roof absorbs and/or reflects. Sunlight contains infrared radiation, which deteriorates the roof, and hot roofs may lead to hot houses. A roof that absorbs sunlight and allows it to penetrate through the roofing material, will store this energy, causing excessive heating to the underlying interior spaces or attic. This condition will heat up the home more than it normally would absent this condition -- causing air conditioning devices to work harder, increasing your energy bill, and causing you to stay later at work in order to pay the energy bill. Nobody wants to be stuck at work, working to pay the ridiculous energy bill.

In regards to tile - the chemical make-up properties of clay and cement (concrete) allow for great light reflection from the tile surface in order to prevent heat from getting into the roofing system. The concrete tile may allow some penetration of sunlight and store this energy in the tile, dispersing it during the cooler night instead of allowing heat transfer all the way through the tile material - to the roof decking. These properties, the psychical tile design, and the installation method - creating an air channel - make the tile roof a great choice for home owners in just about any location of the country.


Tile roofs often come with a 50-year warranty!


We called several roofing contractors in Sacramento, California and Twin Cities area in order to get some price quotes for asphalt shingle and tile roofs. Our research didn't reveal a ton of difference in cost between the two cities. Numbers on the tile roof rolled in around $800 per square to $3,500 per square (square = 10-foot x 10-foot area of roof). In comparison, an asphalt shingle roof normally sells for $275 per square to $600 per square. So one can see, a tile roof is about three to four times the cost of your standard asphalt shingle roof. Additional costs could be incurred from roof framing modifications (due to structural issues with the weight of the tiles). In regards to total price, Home Advisor lists the national average cost of a tile home at approximately $14,600 per roof. This is about $8 - $25 per square foot of roof.


So if you are buying a new roof in the Twin Cities, Northern California, Sacramento California, or just about anywhere in the world, you should consider a tile roof.


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