Installing Clay Roof Tiles
Clay roof tiles are a popular choice for homes in hot climates. While it is most common to find clay tile roofing on Florida roofs or California roofs, it can work with almost any design scheme. Combining one of the most traditional building materials with more modern materials like glass, metal roofing, or wood roofing makes for a unique, beautiful architectural juxtaposition that will make your home design really stand out. Additionally, clay tiles are made of all natural materials will maintain their rich, warm, earth tones for 100 years or more.
Clay tiles are also class-A fire rated and will not burn. This type of roofing is easy to maintain and you will be able to find a state or federal tax credit for a clay roof installation since they are considered an energy efficient roof type.
Types and Styles of Clay Tile Roofs
Roofing tiles come in clay or concrete but can be shaped in many different ways, even to the point of looking like wood shake. Terracotta clay is a popular choice for clay roofs because, unlike regular clay or concrete, it will not change color with age. Concrete will fade while clay will actually get darker, but terracotta can maintain its color because it gets baked into the clay. Many ancient terracotta artifacts still retain the color they had when they were first made.
There are some alternative to all natural clay roofing tiles such as synthetic clay tiles made in the form of concrete tile roofing and metal tile roofing. You will want to get in touch with a reliable roof contractor in your area to determine if your home can handle clay tile roofing.
When deciding on which style of clay roofing tiles you want installed, there are four main styles to choose from which include French style, interlocking shingle style, mission style, and Spanish tile clay roofs as seen below.
Clay Tile Roofing Costs
The average cost to install a clay tile roof in 2022 is anywhere between $23,400 and $42,150 depending on the slope, pitch, and size of your roof. The national average cost per square foot for clay tile roofing is $10.90, but can range between $7.80 to $14.05 or $780 to $1,405 per square installed. These average price ranges include both materials and labor costs, and are based on a standard sized 3,000 square foot roof.
Keep in mind that costs will vary depending on local roof contractor’s pricing. View your potential roof installation cost savings with local contractors below.
Other Factors to Consider
Here are some other factors to consider before installing a clay tile roof on your home.
- Degree of Roof Slope. If your roof’s slope is less than 18 degrees, clay roofing tiles may not be the ideal material for your home in regards to water runoff and weight.
- Clay Tile Weight. Clay tiles are very heavy, and this 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 to make sure it can support the weight. If your home needs additional structural support, this could increase the cost of the clay roofing project by thousands of dollars.
- Clay Roofing Underlayment. One of the great things about clay tile roofs is that they last for a long time. However, the roof underlayment beneath them is not 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 clay roof repairmen on your house, even for the most basic projects. The good news is that when it comes to maintenance, the most you will need to do (unless the tiles incur damage) is lightly rinse them once per year.
- Fastening. The main problem with clay tile roofing is usually improper fastening. There are two types of fastening systems for clay tile roofing – interlocking and overlapping. Interlocking clay tiles essentially hook onto each other. Overlapping must be nailed into place as they do not have a “lip” for attachment. Make sure that you collaborate closely with your clay tile roofing contractor to ensure your fastening system is problem free from the start.
Though clay tiles are very durable, be sure to inspect your roof regularly and replace roofing materials of any cracked or chipped tiles immediately. Never pressure wash your tile roof. Instead, it should be washed and buffed by hand. Consider hiring a professional clay tile roofing cleaner who is well-versed in how to move around on a clay tile roof and will be able to quickly and easily apply primers and paints to keep your roof cool and looking great without causing any damage in the process.
Clay tiles are made from natural materials. Nearly all of the production waste – clay, water, and glaze – can be recycled and rejected or broken tiles can be crushed and reused.
Clay tiles can increase the energy efficiency of your home. They have natural thermal resistance from the raw materials from which they are created. Since they are installed individually, rather than in sheets or in overlapping style, the natural airspace around the tiles creates a natural ventilation that provides a thermal barrier for heat transfer to the roof deck. This Above Sheathing Ventilation (ASV) can result in greatly reduced heat flux transfer when compared to a baseline asphalt shingle. This can assist in the movement of the peak load demands by several hours, which directly benefits those living in warm climates as well as those in cold conditions.