If you’re looking for a more unique and durable roofing option than traditional asphalt shingles, you have quite a few choices. Metal roofing can be both modern and rustic. Slate tiles have a natural and historic feel. But there’s no material that gets the Southwestern flare just right like clay, concrete, or terracotta tiles.
Like other premium roofing materials, tiles will cost twice as much or more than asphalt. But their distinct look, longevity, eco-friendliness, and resistance to fire and rot is worth the investment for many homeowners. Use the following guide to better determine whether this project is right for your budget and home.
The material that you choose will impact both the style and budget. These are the primary materials used for tile roofs:
Concrete roofing tiles are made from a mixture of cement and sand. They are fairly lightweight compared to clay or slate, and their shape and color can be manipulated to fit your stylistic needs. You can even order concrete tiles that mimic slate or wood shakes. Concrete is the most affordable type of roofing tile at about $400 to $900 per roofing square (100 square feet).
If you’re longing for the traditional Italian or Spanish look, you may want to go for clay tiles. They’re long-lasting and beautiful, although they are no picnic to install and can lose some of their color over time. Clay is more expensive than concrete at $500 to $1000 per roofing square.
Unlike regular clay tiles, lovely brownish-red terracotta keep their color with age. They also reflect heat, which will improve the insulation and, therefore, the energy efficiency of your home. However, these advantages come with a price tag. For terracotta roofing tiles, you will pay around $600 to $1500 per roofing square.
Customizing your colors, shapes, or glazes could cost you an extra $10 or more per square foot, so if you have specific preferences regarding these aspects, be sure to consider it when forming a budget.
And while the average U.S. home has around 22 roofing squares, you should still measure your roof area to get an accurate estimate of how much material you will need.
Installing a tile roof requires special tools and equipment, and should be done by an experienced professional. The labor portion of the project will cost you around $3000 to $5000, but due to the complex nature of installation, don’t rely on any numbers until you’ve gotten an estimate from a contractor in your area. The labor process involves installing necessary underlayment before the tiles themselves can be installed.
Unless your home is a new construction, you will need to remove and dispose of your old roof. When you talk to a contractor, make sure the estimate includes necessary permits, equipment transportation, and labor, as well as roof removal and disposal fees.
While you may have enough of your mind with choosing materials, establishing a budget, and hiring a contractor, don’t forget about fine-print details that could make or break the project:
- While you’re measuring your roof area, take note of the slope; if the slope is less 18 degrees, tiles may not be the ideal material for your home in regards to water runoff and weight.
- Speaking of weight, the heaviness of tile is something to think about as you approach this project. Tiles are more than twice as heavy as asphalt shingles, so unless your home has previously had a tile roof, you will need to have your home evaluated by a structural engineer. If your home needs additional structural support, this could increase the cost of the project by thousands of dollars.
- One of the great things about tile roofs is that they last for a long time. However, the underlayment beneath them isn’t quite as staunch, and will need to be replaced every 20 years. Tiles are also somewhat fragile in spite of their durability, so make sure you only allow experienced repairmen on your roof, even for the most basic projects. The good news is that when it comes to maintenance, the most you’ll need to do (unless the tiles incur damage) is lightly rinse them once per year.
- A tile roof may add appeal for prospective homeowners looking for unique features that won’t require much maintenance.
If you want a unique and premium look but don’t want to deal with potential structural support issues, consider metal roofing. It’s durable, eco-friendly, and fireproof, but lighter weight than clay or concrete. However, if your heart is set on a tile roof and your budget is somewhat flexible, you will find yourself with a beautiful roof that will last for many decades to come.