What is a Concrete Tile Roof?
Concrete tiles are a popular, budget-friendly alternative to traditional clay tiles. Concrete tiles have a long lifespan, require low maintenance, offer good fire protection (Class A rated), and are resistant to rot and insects. They are also considerably lighter in weight than clay tiles, preventing the structural problems often associated with clay tiles. Concrete tiles are extremely durable, and their strength is only reinforced by the interlocking mode of installing tile roofs.
Cost of Concrete Tile Roofs
When you consider that a concrete tile roof will last for the life of the structure, the full life-cycle cost of the roof is quite affordable when compared to other roofing materials. With regular maintenance, the hassle and expense of reroofing is minimized. According to a study from the National Association of Home Builders, concrete tile is one of only three roofing materials that will last a lifetime. The other two are clay tile and copper – both prohibitively expensive when compared to concrete tile. Generally, you can expect to spend between $1.50 to $5.50 per square foot for concrete roofing.
Eco-Friendly and Energy Efficient
Concrete tiles contain about 25% portland cement, an energy-intensive material to manufacture, but otherwise they are relatively environmentally friendly. Look for tiles that are made locally to reduce the environmental impact of transporting them from long distances. You can even purchase concrete roof tiles that work to pro-actively improve the environment. Boral, a clay and concrete roof tile maker, offers a smog-eating tile coating that neutralizes harmful nitrogen oxide, converting it to calcium nitrate, which washes off in the rain. The manufacturer claims that in one year, the average roof can remove a quantity of nitrogen oxide equivalent to that produced by driving a car 10,800 miles.
Concrete roof tiles can help to lower your energy costs by reducing heat transfer through air circulation under the tile and through concrete’s inherent insulating properties. Concrete tiles naturally ventilate the space between the roof and the deck, reducing heat transfer into the attic by up to 50% when compared to asphalt roofs. The result means less work for the air conditioner, less expenditure of energy and lower electrical bills for the end user.
Maintenance of Concrete Tile Roofs
While concrete tiles are designed to be long lasting, their maintenance is important to prevent major problems such as leaking roofs, but also to preserve the color of the tiles and the overall decorative appeal of your roof. Consider trimming or removing overhanging trees to prevent moisture buildup from moss or lichen growth. Unlike with clay tiles, you can use a pressure washer to clean your concrete tile roof, but use the concrete-rating nozzle and wash from a distance of 3-4 feet to avoid forcing water underneath the tiles.
Even when properly installed, some concrete tiles may become dislodged, chipped, or cracked. Be sure to replace damaged tiles immediately to prevent the problem from spreading. Damaged tiles can be removed with a crowbar and replacement tiles can be snapped directly into place.
Common Concerns with Concrete Tile Roofs
Though concrete tiles are considerably lighter than clay tiles, they are still quite heavy. There are “lightweight” versions available, but many roofing professionals warn that these versions aren’t as durable. Before installing concrete roofing tiles, have your home evaluated to ensure your home can bear the additional weight.
Also, it’s important to note that concrete does not repel water well naturally. Spend a little extra money for a quality sealant to provide extra water protection. Finally, concrete tiles will ultimately fade over time. If you have a damaged tile years down the line that needs to be replaced, know that it will take several years for your new tile to match the rest of your roof.