Home > Roofing > Tile Roofing: Pros & Cons, Comparison Guide, & Cost

Tile Roofing: Pros & Cons, Comparison Guide, & Cost

Updated Oct 28, 2022

Updated Oct 28, 2022

Home > Roofing > Tile Roofing: Pros & Cons, Comparison Guide, & Cost

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The roof of a home is essential; it keeps you comfortable, dry, and safe from the elements. So, when you’re building a new home or replacing an old, worn-out roof, choosing the appropriate material for your home is important. 

There are numerous roofing materials available, some pricier than others. Tiled roofing is one of the more popular materials, although it tends to be more expensive than most alternatives. This article reviews the pros, cons, and costs of installing a tile roof (plus a comparison section), so continue reading for help deciding whether tile roofing is a good choice for your home.

Find a local contractor near you to get started on tile roofing today.

Tile Roofing Pros & Cons

Every roofing material has pros and cons, and tile roofing is no different. Before you commit to a roofing type for your home, it’s essential to weigh these pros and cons to determine the best fit for your home and climate. The table below outlines a quick overview of the pros and cons of tile roofing, but continue reading beyond the table for a detailed look at each point.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Resistant to insect damage and rot
  • Energy efficient
  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Available in several styles
  • Fire-resistant (depending on material)
  • Resistant to high winds

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Not appropriate for every roofing slope
  • Expensive
  • Brittle composition
  • Tricky to install

Tile Roofing Pros

Tile roofing is a popular material for cladding a roof for several reasons. They come in several materials, designs, and shapes, which allows customers to choose the style they like best. Numerous manufacturers offer several styles, such as Spanish tiles, double Roman tiles, Scandia tiles, and Pantile tiles. Each tile has a slightly different shape that creates a diversified appearance for your home.

The most common materials for tiled roofing include clay roof tiles, concrete, and slate, which can be crushed and recycled at the end of their lifespan.

Not only are these materials environmentally friendly due to their composition, but they also help cut energy costs by helping keep your home at a more consistent temperature. The hefty thermal mass of these materials aids in maintaining and regulating the temperature inside your home, which can help cut back on heating and cooling costs.

On top of this, the composition of these tiles makes them impervious to many roofing issues, like insect damage and rot (common with wood roofing). These tiles are surprisingly resistant to many types of wear but still require some maintenance. Compared to other popular roofing materials, tile roofing is easy to maintain and doesn’t require constant upkeep.

Due to their sturdy composition and resistance to common problems, these tiles can last for decades, sometimes up to a century. Most manufacturers offer a 50-year warranty, but these tiles usually outlive this warranty by a long shot.

Tile Roofing Cons

Like nearly any product on the market today, tiled roofing has its share of cons. One of the most notable downsides to tiled roofing is the weight of the tiles. Since they’re typically made of concrete, slate, or compact clay tile, each type is heavy. These roofs can weigh hundreds to thousands of pounds more than a typical asphalt roofing system, so your roof structure must be able to support the heft of the tiled system.

The weight of these tiles can complicate the installation process, especially since you need to carefully measure, cut, and lay each tile in a specific pattern to avoid moisture seepage. Plus, while the tiles are durable, you can break them if you drop them from a height or accidentally drop something heavy on them, and in some cases, they can crack from the pressure of walking on them.

The tedious nature of the installation, combined with the composition of the tiles and their sheer weight, makes this project one best left to professionals. DIYing this project without proper experience could lead to costly mistakes, so it’s usually best to pay the installation cost (which can be steep).

Aside from installation costs, you’ll need to foot the bill for the tiles themselves. Certain materials are more expensive than others, so prices vary drastically based on the material you choose (plus additional factors, like the size of your home). For instance, slate tiles are usually pricier than the more economical concrete tile roofs.

On top of these factors, you also need to consider your roof’s slope. Tile roofing is usually best suited to homes with relatively sharp roof slopes. Otherwise, the tiled nature might not work for your home, as flatter slopes and flat roofs could allow water seepage. Generally, these roofing materials aren’t suitable for roofs with pitches less than 4:12.

Cost of Tile Roofing

The budget is usually an integral part of major home improvement decisions and new builds, so before you decide on a roofing material, it’s crucial to consider the cost. For the most part, tile roofing costs considerably more than other types of roofing, but since it tends to last much longer, the added cost makes sense.

The table below outlines the high, low, and average tile roofing costs to give you an idea of what to expect with tile roofing expenses.

Cost BreakdownCost ($)
Typical Cost Range$7,850 to $23,400
Average Cost$15,400
Per Square Foot (General)$8 to $25
Labor (Per Square Foot)$5 to $18
Removing Existing Roof (Per Square Foot)$1 to $5

Factors That Affect the Cost of Tile Roofing

Every roofing project is different, so pinpointing an exact cost for your new tiled roof is tricky. Multiple factors affect the final price, so your estimate might look drastically different than someone else’s. Factors that can affect the final cost of your tiled roof include:

Removing an Existing Roof

If you’re replacing an old roof with a new, tiled roof, you’ll need to remove the old roof. Unless you plan on DIYing this part of the project, you’ll also need to have the roofing company handle this part of the process.

Since removing an existing roof adds an extra step to the process, you’ll incur additional costs if you decide to have your roofing contractor handle this step. Generally, contractors charge anywhere from $1 to $5 per square foot to remove old roofing. So, if you need to have your contractor remove your current roof first, budget for this additional step.

Labor

The cost you pay for labor can vary based on your location, as some areas have lower prices than others. Some roofs take longer to fit with tiling than others, as extra hips and ridges in the roof add time due to additional cutting to fit. The more labor required, the pricier it will be.

That said, the labor cost for installing a tiled roof usually ranges from $5 to $18 per square foot.

Tile Choice

Once you decide to move forward with a tile roof installation, you need to select a tile type. The type of tile you choose for your home will significantly impact the total cost of the roof replacement, as some tiles are pricier than others. Budget-friendly tile options usually range between $2 and $4 per square foot, whereas high-end tiling costs anywhere from $5 to $10 per square foot.

Size of Roof

Another factor that plays into the cost of your system is the size of your home’s roof. Obviously, larger roofs will be pricier than their smaller counterpart, as they require more materials and extra labor to complete the job.

If you have a large home, you can likely expect to pay on the higher end of the spectrum. Or, if you have a smaller home, you can likely expect to pay somewhat of a lower cost due to the smaller size.

Style of Roof

The style of your roof plays a significant role in the final cost of your new roof, as certain roof styles are easier to work with than others. For example, a simple gable roof is easier to install than a roof with more than two slopes, steeper slopes, and more valleys. More complicated roof layouts usually require extra time and labor to ensure the job is done correctly, directly affecting labor costs.

Number of Boots or Vents

This aspect goes hand in hand with labor costs, as roofs with numerous boots, vents, skylights, chimneys, or other extra features will require additional work. These structures require flashing, sealant, caulk, and careful work to ensure the seams around them are watertight.

Since your contractor’s team will need to take their time to ensure these areas are properly sealed, you may end up paying more labor costs.

Local Area

When installing a new roof, your contractor will need to obtain proper permits and meet applicable codes as outlined by your local building authority. These components can affect the final cost of your project, as permits can tack on additional fees.

Aside from this, you also need to consider whether the material you want to work with is available locally. If you need to ship the tiling in, you may need to pay extra to have the company send the materials to your home. This is a common problem in rural areas, but in cities, roofing products and materials are usually readily available.

Roof Structure Condition

Last but not least, the condition of your home’s roof structure will also determine the final cost. If you need to replace all or part of the roof structure to support the weight of a tiled roof, you will need to hire a company to handle this part of the project, raising costs.

You could DIY this portion of the project, providing you have the necessary experience, but otherwise, you’ll need to outsource this aspect. Generally, it costs anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to have a structural engineer reinforce your roof to prepare it for the weight of tiling.

Aside from this, you might decide to have your contractor replace the roofing underlayment if the existing material is in poor condition. This usually costs $2 to $3 per square foot, although these costs can vary based on the slope of your roof.

Tile Roofing vs. Other Roofing Types

As you browse for the perfect roofing material, it doesn’t hurt to consider all of your options. The following table and sections below outline a few additional roofing materials and how they compare to tile roof systems.

Roofing MaterialDurabilityCostInstallationStyle or Color Variety
TileExcellentMedium to highDifficultGood
ShinglesGoodLow to mediumManageableGood
MetalGoodMedium to highManageable to DifficultExcellent
ColorbondExcellentMedium to highManageableGood
SlateExcellentMedium to highDifficultLimited

Tile Roofing vs. Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a popular roofing material, as they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Compared to tile roofing, shingles are almost a third of the price but are nowhere near as durable.

If you choose to go with shingles, you won’t have as many style choices and might need to replace them sooner than you would with tiles. However, both materials are versatile, low maintenance, and enhance resale value.

Tile Roofing vs. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is another common material choice for new homes and replacement projects. Like tile roofing, metal roofing is durable, pest-resistant, energy-efficient, and eco-friendly. While metal roofing is high-quality and can also last for decades with proper care, it usually doesn’t last quite as long as tile roofing.

Unfortunately, metal roofing isn’t without its drawbacks. The material is noisy (when it rains or hails), pricey, and susceptible to denting and thermal contraction compared to other roofing materials. It may eventually give way to rust. On top of that, metal roofing isn’t suitable for roof slopes less than 3:12.

Tile Roofing vs. Colorbond

Colorbond is a type of roofing material made with coated steel. Like tile roofing, Colorbond offers an aesthetic appeal and is long-lasting and durable. Unlike metal roofing, which has issues with rusting, the sealant on Colorbond roofing prevents rust and corrosion, which bolsters its lifespan.

Like tiled roofing, Colorbond roofing is relatively low maintenance. However, in terms of pricing, tile roofing tends to be pricier than Colorbond. This is because Colorbond roofing is lightweight and doesn’t require additional support. Plus, installing Colorbond is quicker, which reduces labor costs.

Tile Roofing vs. Slate

Although tile roofing can be made of slate, natural slate roofing is entirely different. Natural slate roofing isn’t manufactured using certain materials; instead, it’s collected from slate quarries. You can find man-made roof slates, but natural roof slates are taken from quarries worldwide.

The benefits of both materials are similar, as they’re both durable and long-lasting. Workers lay both materials similarly, and the final product mimics the other’s looks, making it difficult for an untrained eye to differentiate the two.

However, in terms of cost, natural roof slates tend to be pricier, as they’re quarried and often shipped to where they need to go. Due to this aspect, they’re not the ideal choice for individuals on a budget.

Other Considerations

Aside from the abovementioned factors, there are a few miscellaneous aspects to consider. For example, let’s say you live in a community with a Homeowner’s Association (HOA). In many cases, HOAs have specific requirements outlining the type of material, color, and style of roofing you can use for your home. So, if you live in one of these communities, verify that you can use certain roofing materials before moving forward with the transition.

On the other hand, you might live in a historic district. If that’s the case, check with municipal building codes before moving forward with your new roof, as some regulations require specific materials to remain true to the neighborhood’s historic nature.

Aside from this, it’s essential to consider your climate. Some roofing materials aren’t ideal for specific areas, as they don’t hold up well in those weather conditions. For example, an asphalt roof or wood shingles usually aren’t the best choice for homes in hot, arid climates. Instead, tiled, metal, or rubber shingles are generally the better option.

Another consideration is curb appeal; you might find tile roofing more visually pleasing than a shingle roof or other roofing options.

Contact your contractor or a local roofer for assistance if you’re unsure of local building codes or the specifics surrounding a new roof project. It’s better to double-check on roofing solutions before starting your project than moving forward without confirmation and having to tear out the new roof.

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