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, a tile roofing cost is 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.

Table of Contents


The material that you choose will impact both the style and budget. These are the primary materials used for tile roofs:


Concrete roof tile

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 $1.5 to $5.5 square foot.


Clay roof tile

If you’re longing for the traditional Italian or Spanish look, you may want to go for clay tiles. They’re also long-lasting and beautiful. The downside is that they are no picnic to install, and they can lose some of their color over time. Clay is more expensive than concrete at $2.5- $5 per square foot, although they’re almost half as light as heavy concrete tiles.

clay tile roofing

Terracotta roof tile

Unlike regular clay tiles, terracotta tiles keep their brownish-red color with age. They also reflect heat, which will improve insulation and, therefore, the energy efficiency of your home. However, these advantages come with a price tag. For terracotta roofing tiles, expect to pay around $9 to $15 per square foot.

Customizing your colors, shapes, or glazes could also cost extra, 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 30 roofing squares, you should still measure your roof area to get an accurate estimate of how much material you will need.

Hands of roofer laying tile on the roof. Installing natural red tile. Roof with mansard windows.


Installing a tile roof requires special tools and equipment, and it should be done by an experienced professional. The labor portion of the project will cost about $7,000 to $10,000 for a 1,500 square foot roof, 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.

Other Considerations

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:

  • 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.
  • Underlayment: 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 it 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.

If you want a unique and premium look but don’t want to deal with potential structural support issues, metal roofing is a smart choice since it’s durable yet lighter in weight than clay or concrete. However, if you’re set on a tile roof and your budget is somewhat flexible, you can look forward to a beautiful roof that will last for decades to come.