Are Clay Tile Roofs Worth The Investment?

home with a red clay tile roof

The Basics of Clay Tile Roofing

When considering a new roofing material for your home, it is too easy to go with the standard asphalt shingle material. An option that most homeowners never consider is a clay tile roof. Unless you have an endless bank account or your homeowner’s insurance is paying, the first concern is the cost of such an upgrade for roofing.  Are clay tile roofs more expensive than other roofs?

Yes, clay tile roofing is more expensive than asphalt shingles, but when compared to other roofing material options, it is relatively affordable. The process for manufacturing clay tile roofing materials is a long one so that the clay has time to harden and become solid for installation.  Examples of other roofing material costs include: 

  • Asphalt Shingle Roofing ranges between $4.00 and $5.00 per square foot 
  • Concrete Tile Roofing ranges between $4.00 to $6.00 per square foot  
  • Slate Tile Roofing ranges between $10.00 and $18.00 per square foot

How much does clay tile roofing installation cost?

Clay tile roof material can cost between $12 and $20 per square foot. Not only is the process of producing clay tile roof material part of the expense, but the weight of this material affects the cost. It is that extra weight that makes it a durable material along with other advantages. 

What are the advantages of a clay tile roof?

When you choose a clay tile roof, you will have advantages that many other roof materials do not offer, like the following: 

  • Colors: Available in many colors, but the terracotta is still the most popular, especially in the southwest. The other colors can match the architecture and style of any home. 
  • Designs:  Available in multiple design options including ridges and valleys for the traditional appearance of roofing shingles
  • Fire Resistant: Clay tile roof material can give any home an earthy aesthetic that has natural fire resistance.
  • Long Lifespan: A clay tile roof is one of the most durable materials, providing a long lifespan for the investment. How long does a clay tile roof last? A clay tile roof will last up to 75 years or more. 
  • Environmentally friendly: Clay tile roof is a 100% natural material and can be 100% recycled when its active roof life is completed.

In summary, the advantages of a clay tie roof are:

  • Durable
  • Long lifespan
  • Provides insulation
  • Weather resistance
  • Fire Resistant
  • Low to minimal maintenance
  • Adds aesthetic beauty 
  • Environmentally friendly

Are there any disadvantages to a clay tile roof?

As a homeowner, you know that there isn’t anything that is 100% perfect, including a clay tile roof. So, what disadvantages can you expect? 

  • Wind resistance: Yes, a clay tile roof is weather-resistant, but it is not 100% resistant when it comes to high winds. They will come loose, move around, and can even be blown off depending on the angle of the wind. 
  • Weight: Clay tile roof material is one of the heaviest materials. This factors into the cost of this material, and for a home that has never had a clay tile roof, an engineering report will be needed to make sure the structure can hold the weight. 
  • Fragile: Clay tile roofing material is not recommended for areas with cold weather. The cold, freezing temps can weaken the tile, make them brittle, and the slightest pressure can break or crack them. 
  • Cost: A clay tile roof is one of the more expensive choices in the roofing material for the reasons we’ve discussed here. However, the durability and longevity can offset that expense with a higher ROI by not having to replace the roof again for 75 years. 

Does clay tile roof repair need a lot of repairs?

You purchase a clay tile roof for the beauty and curb appeal, you certainly don’t want to be chipped, cracked, or broken tiles marring the appearance. Fortunately, repairs are infrequent, typically responding to a tree branch or limb falling on it, or a hailstone.  

Do clay tiles roofs leak easily?

Most clay tile roof leaks are due to poor workmanship of installation and/or repairs. Getting the under decking membrane installed properly is key to a leak-free clay tile roof. Never hire a roofing contractor that doesn’t have experience in clay tile and has recent references to share with you.

home with a dark gray clay tile roof

Ending Comments: Maintenance and Upkeep 

Once you’ve invested in a clay tile roof, you’ll want to keep the maintenance up to date, which will include cleaning it.  How do you maintain a clay tile roof? Fortunately, cleaning and making any necessary repairs are the only maintenance your clay tile roof will require. 

Keep trees trimmed back away from the roof. Monthly, check for any tree limbs, branches, leaves, or other types of debris, and remove them. The long these things sit on your roof; the more likely damage will occur.  

Is a clay tile roof easy to clean? Over time, your clay tile roof will gain some unsightly stains and streaks. These can be washed off using a mixture of detergent and water with a low-powered washer. Never use a high-powered washer will avoid having any clay tile broken or knocked loose.