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The Complete Guide to Tile Shingles

Whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor, the choice of roofing shingles isn’t one to take lightly. Tile shingles have a longer history of protecting roofs than any other material. The combination of durability, longevity, and classic style has made tile a lasting staple in the roofing profession. If you’re considering tile shingles for your next project, keep reading to learn more.

a Roofr clay tile roof

The construction of tile shingles

The original tile shingles were constructed out of clay and locally available materials. While the process has become more efficient, tile is still largely the same. Many of us are familiar with the orange or pale pink terracotta clay tile roofs commonly used in Spanish architecture. In reality, tile shingles can now mimic other materials, come in a variety of colors, and can be installed in ways that create fascinating patterns.

Because of their versatility, tile shingles remain popular in roofing across the United States. However, tile isn’t exclusively made out of clay or slate anymore.  Concrete roof tiles didn’t make an appearance until the late 1900s, but they’ve offered a cost-effective alternative to terracotta and slate.

Concrete tiles can also be manufactured in a wide array of colors and styles that compliment many architectural themes. Choosing the best tile shingles for your roofing project depends on your needs, location, and the size and shape of the roof itself.

a roofr man laying tile roofing shingles on roof

The advantages of tile shingles

Tile is a favorite for roofs in locations with extreme temperatures. The clay and natural materials create a barrier that prevents heat exchange better than almost any other type of shingle. The improved energy efficiency has made tile shingles an asset for environmentally friendly projects.

It’s no secret that high-quality tile shingles cost more than their asphalt counterparts up front. This initial cost is offset by the longevity of the shingles themselves. Tile roof systems can last for up to 75 years when properly installed and maintained. That’s nearly three times the life of some asphalt roofs. Investing in a tile roof can actually save money when you consider the long-term costs associated with regular roof replacement.

In addition to their durability, tile shingles are also fireproof and carry a class A rating. This means that they aren’t susceptible to embers being carried from nearby fires, which is extremely important in areas susceptible to drought and widespread wildfires.

The drawbacks of using tile shingles

One of the biggest drawbacks associated with tile roofs is the initial cost. Even the long-term savings aren’t enough to soften the sticker shock for some homeowners. Unfortunately, all the future savings don’t do much for the money required up front, which can amount to several times the cost per square foot of a cheaper asphalt roof.

Tile shingles also need to be installed correctly to be effective, and not every roofing company is up to the task. A poor installation effort can undermine many of the advantages and lead to a need for early repair or replacement.

Older, more traditional tile shingles were extremely heavy. This meant that the supporting structure needed to be reinforced to handle the weight. Fortunately, newer materials have made tile shingles lighter and more accessible.

Heavier shingles aren’t necessarily a bad thing, though. The solid build of tile shingles is part of what makes them so durable. Some roofs fitted with concrete shingles can stand up to hail, hurricane force winds, and provide superior impact resistance—you can ask your roofing professional at Roofr which ones can do so. The less susceptible a roof is to damage, the longer it will last.

a roofr tile shingles being applied

Choosing the right type of tile

The shape of the tiles and the pattern of installation can drastically change the look and functionality. Roof tiles also come in a variety of materials that have their own distinct look and advantages.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are close to the original clay tiles used thousands of years ago. They’re fire resistant, durable, and perfectly embody the Spanish S-style we see in Southwestern homes. These make up the terracotta roofs with which many of us are familiar.

Concrete tiles

Concrete has come a long way from the rough material we associate with city sidewalks. Manufacturers have learned to manipulate the texture and color to create roof tiles that can pass for any number of other materials. This is another extremely durable type of tile that can also enhance curb appeal.

Composite tiles

Composite tiles are made from a combination of traditional and modern materials. They have the appearance of their concrete and ceramic counterparts but are lighter and easier to install. These tiles aren’t quite as durable, but are more cost-effective for some homeowners who want the classic look of tile without the price.

Metal tiles

It’s important that we cover metal tiles and differentiate them from the more familiar metal roofs. Metal tiles provide many of the same benefits as clay or concrete tiles and are lighter than asphalt. It’s important to understand the benefits and the differences between metal and traditional tiles when making a decision on roofing materials. Always consult with a trusted contractor or roofing company when choosing the best tile type for your area.

Other tiles

There are a wide variety of other tile types, styles, and materials. Choosing the roofing tiles that work best for your area is a matter of careful research and expert opinion.

a roofr worker laying tile on roof frame

Choosing the best brand

Tile roofing shingles differ from other models in their availability- making brands difficult to pin down. Local companies can usually provide the best options. However, there are a few brands that stand out, including:

Tile shingles require expert roofers.

If you’re considering a tile roof, you’ll need the expertise of experienced roofers. For more information, contact Roofr today! We give you access to a network of professionals who have the knowledge and the resources to do top-quality work at the best prices possible.