The Complete Guide
If your tile roof is leaking or if you have storm or hail damage on your tile roof, you landed in the right place.
This guide is for you.
In this roof tile guide ››
You’re going to learn everything you need to know about:
- The different types of roof tile materials
- The different types of roof tile shapes
- Color options with roof tiles
- How to select a tile roofing contractor
- And lots more
Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
Tile roofing offers one of the most beautiful (and most popular) roof options for property owners looking for the longest life out of their roof.
And when installed properly – some tile roofs can last 100 years or longer.
So what is a tile roof?
A tile roofing system consists of overlapping roof tiles securely attached to a solid substrate or roof deck on a sloped roof.
Tile roofing is a very specialized field of roof installation…
And requires a contractor that is experienced in working with and installing roof tiles of various materials and shapes.
Tile roofs are installed on all kinds of residential, commercial, and historical properties – from restaurants and resorts to museums and churches.
To get started, let’s take a look at the primary roof tile types – starting with the types of materials used to manufacture roof tiles.
Clay roof tiles are one of the original types of roofing materials manufactured centuries ago.
Clay offers excellent moldability, color options, and color retention.
While traditional clay tile roofs were natural orange or red in color…
Today’s clay roof tiles come in virtually any color and in dozens of shapes.
Check out this beautiful green interlocking tile roof.
Many tile roofs are combined with copper for guttering and metal accents to create an old world look.
Concrete tiles are a popular tile option as well.
Sometimes called cement roofing tiles, concrete tiles are a mixture of portland cement, sand, water, and sometimes various dyes (for color).
Due to its fluid nature prior to curing, concrete tiles are factory-molded into a wide variety of shapes and textures to simulate wood shake shingles, clay tiles, or slate tiles.
They offer excellent resistance to wind or roof hail damage.
However, when comparing clay roof tiles vs. concrete roof tiles, it’s important to note that clay tiles last longer than concrete.
Traditional, natural slate roof tiles are manufactured from rock.
Slate tile roofs are popular due to their natural appearance, durability, and longevity.
In the US, slate roof tiles first appeared in the northeastern area of the country, where large slate deposits were found.
Slate roof tiles come in a variety of color and texture options. Colors vary depending on the mineral content. Slate tile colors can range from black to gray to purple to red to rust colored slate.
Due to the popularity of the look of slate, many clay or synthetic roof tile options mimic its shape and texture.
With the popularity of metal roofing systems, metal offers another alternative for tile materials of construction.
If you’re structure will not support the pounds per square weight of heavier tile products, metal may be the right answer.
Metal roof tiles offer a nearly unlimited variety of shape and color options.
While steel tiles form the bulk of metal roofing options, other metal roof tiles include aluminum roof tiles and copper roof tiles.
Below is an example of stone-coated steel roof tiles installed on a commercial building.
Composite roof tiles are made of plastics and other sustainable products.
Composite roofing products may provide an alternative to asphalt roof shingles.
Some tile roofing installers prefer them over clay or concrete because they are much lighter.
Composite or plastic roof tiles are available in a variety of colors and shapes – with some of the most common being imitation slate, cedar shake, or Spanish tile.
And some carry warranties of 50 years.
Solar roof tiles are a somewhat new concept.
While flat solar panels have been mounted to rooftops for decades, integrated (and viable) solar shingles or solar tiles are a recent addition to the marketplace.
Tesla has a version of flat solar tiles and is working on curved solar.
Also, mainstream roofing manufacturers like Certainteed and GAF also now include solar roofing products in their lineup.
That covers the primary materials of construction when it comes to roofing tiles.
Before we look at some of the more common shapes of roof tiles in use today…
Check out the tile roof in this video.
Mission roof tiles are sometimes called “true barrel tiles.”
A mission tile roof system includes separate barrels installed to form alternating concave and convex shapes on the roof.
Mission tile roof systems may include curved barrels top and bottom or curved barrels and flat pans.
Mission roof tile styles include: Greek, Italia, Palm Beach, Tapered Barrel, Straight Barrel, Roman.
Flat roof tiles can be include interlocking edges or not.
Shingle tile does not interlock. These roofing systems offer the ability to get very creative.
Check out the unique roof design created with the multi-color and multi-dimentional roof pattern of these clay shingle roof tiles.
Interlocking roof tiles typically include a channel on one or two sides of the tile.
This channel interlocks with a lip formed into tiles next to and above it to create a strong connection.
Interlocking roof tiles help with installation efficiencies and create beautiful lines on buildings. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors.
Common styles of interlocking roof tiles include: Wood Shake, French, Slate, Smooth, Glazed.
Roofing systems that include round towers or domed shaped roof sections require special tile.
Each tile must be crafted to fit in its spot on the curved surface of the roof.
Each roof tile’s size and shape tapers to become smaller toward the top and wider at the bottom to create an architectural masterpiece.
RestoreMasters installs only the best tile roofing systems from the nation’s top manufacturers. If you need a specific roof tile, just ask. Roof tiles manufacturers include: Verea, Vande Hey Raleigh, Boral Roofing, Eagle Roofing Products, Entegra Roof Tile, Santafé, American Slate, Evergreen Slate Company, GAF, Quarrix Building Products, Brava Roof Tile, Northern Roof Tiles, MCA Clay Roof Tile, IKO Roofing, EDCO Products, Tilcor, Certainteed, Luma Solar.
How long do roof tiles last?
In the absence of catastrophic hail damage, many clay and slate tile roofs can last 100 years or longer. In fact, there are multiple examples of tiled roofs in Europe that are over 400 years old. As a testament to clay tile’s durability, some tile manufacturers warrant their products for 75 years.
How do you walk on a tile roof?
First, we recommend that you do not walk on a tile roof, unless you are a trained roofing professional with experience in tile roofing. Overlapping roof tiles are prone to break under load. However, if you must walk on a tile roof, we recommend stepping near the edges on overlap areas that are supported directly underneath. When walking on barrel tiles, try to walk on peaks and avoid stepping in valleys.
Can you paint roof tiles?
Yes, you can paint certain roof tiles. However, proceed with caution. Some terracotta tiles are glazed during manufacturing. As soon as you paint a tile roof, you must maintain the coatings. Otherwise, as the paint chips off over time, the roof looks bad. The best clay roof tiles include very durable “fired in” color schemes that last for decades. If you are considering painting your tile roof, talk to a tile roofing expert.
Can you tile a flat roof?
Tile roofing systems require a slope. Using roofing tiles on a flat roof is generally not recommended.
What are roofing tiles made of?
Roofing tiles are made from lots of different materials. Roof tile materials include: terracotta clay, ceramic, slate, concrete, steel, aluminum, copper, plastic, composite, polymer sand, and others.
Can you replace a shingle roof with a tile roof?
Yes, in many cases you can replace a shingle roof with a tile roof. However, when choosing your next roof system material, weight is a consideration. It’s important that your structure is designed or reinforced to handle the heavier weights associated with certain roof tiles. If you roof structure cannot handle the weight of clay or concrete, there are lighter weight tile alternatives.
Tile roof installation requires an experienced roofing contractor. Tile roofing projects require indepth knowledge of tile handling and installation practices that are only learned through years of experience. And complex tile roof systems require careful craftsmanship using techniques far different from more common roofing practices.
Look for a tile roofing contractor with the following qualifications:
- Is licensed, bonded, and insured
- Experience installing your type of tile roof on multiple projects
- Experience managing staged roofing projects that may require parallel tear-off and installation
- Experience working with insurance companies on damage claims
An experienced contractor can help you avoid leaks and major problems and provide a roofing systems that lasts for a lifetime.
The photos and videos below show slate roofing projects in various stages of construction.
Concrete Tile Roof – Jacksonville, FL
Stone Coated Steel Tile – Jacksonville, FL
Stone Coated Steel Tile – Panama City Beach, FL
Tile Roof – Panama City Beach, FL
Black Spanish Tile – Historical Roof
Historical Roof – Scranton, PA
Grey Slate Tile
Custom Tile Roof – Tulsa, OK
Green Flat Tile
Specialty Tile – Historical Roof
Green Clay Tile – Total Restoration
Historical Tile Roof Repair – Buffalo, NY
Red Spanish Tile
Red Spanish Tile Roof
Red Slate Tile
Red French Tile
Historical Tile Roof
We hope you enjoyed this roof tile guide!
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Do you need roofing help?
If you are worried about storm damage or think you may have a roof leak…
RestoreMasters is an experienced full-service restoration contractor – offering turnkey solutions including roofing, siding, windows & doors, interior restoration, exterior repairs & more. With offices nationwide, we are here to serve you!