Clay Tile Roofs

A clay tile roofis one of the oldest types of roofing in the world. They date back at least 12,000 years, and were used in some of the oldest buildings known to man. Clay tile roofing was used in both the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations. In the modern world, tile roofs are most popular in Spanish influenced architecture. They are also well suited to hot climates, but can be installed just about anywhere using modern technology.

clay tile roof

“A clay tile roof is adds beautiful architectural detail to your home. If you love Spanish inspired architecture, clay tile roofs are the perfect addition to a stucco home. They require more maintenance, but have a unique look that is impossible to achieve with any other type of roofing.”

Clay Tile Roof Advantages

Clay tiles are not the most durable and indestructible roofing material. They must be handled properly to prevent them from cracking or breaking. Tiles can be broken in a number of ways. If they are not packaged and carefully shipped, they can break before they even make it to your roof for installation. The installation process is also difficult because the roofing contractors have to take care not to break the tiles when they install them.

With proper care, this roofing can last up to 100 years. The firing process of making clay makes it very strong, and resistant to weather. They will retain their color throughout their lifetime, and have reflective properties that make them more energy efficient. Clay tiles are very heavy, and will not get blown off of your home during wind storms. They can also be more fire resistant than most types of roofs. A clay tile roof can handle a majority of climates, except for high moisture regions.

Styles & Options
The most common type is locking terra cotta tiles, but there are many other options of tiles to choose from. You can get clay tiles that are flat, and overlapping that looks more like conventional asphalt shingles. Pan tiles are s-shaped and look half rounded on the roof, which gives tile roofs a rippled look.

You can also get the clay tile roof glazed, so the tiles have a unique color rather than the terra cotta red that is the natural color of the tiles. You can get just about any color of tile that you want. Glaze also has the benefit of creating a more watertight seal, which will help the tiles from absorbing moisture.

Clay Toof Tile Price

Entry To Mid Range: $6.50 to $8.75 psf
Homeowners can expect the materials and labor to run between $650 and $875 per square.

Mid To High End: $8.75 to $11.00 psf
Homeowners can expect the materials and labor to run between $875 to $1,100 per square.

Read more on clay tile roof cost.


Clay tile roofing can also easily crack in stormy weather, if a tree branch falls on it, or if there is large hail. You also can’t just go up and walk on the roof, or you would break the tile. Because clay tile breaks so easily, you have to regularly inspect it for damage, which can be difficult to do without walking on the roof. The best way to do this is by using binoculars to inspect the roof, or by hiring a professional to take care of the maintenance. Use our roof inspection checklist.

Avoid Half Fired Tiles
You also have to make sure you choose the right tiles when you are choosing a tile for installation. The strongest and most durable tiles have been fired all the way through. Many roofing contractors may try to sell you cheaper tiles that are only fired or baked halfway through. The half fired tiles are not as strong and durable as those that have been completely fired. Learn more on roof maintenance.

Clay tile roofs can last a long time, but only if you take care of them properly. You have to regularly inspect your tiles for problems, and replace any broken, loose, or cracked. This is not something that you can easily do yourself. You need a properly trained specialist who has experience dealing with clay roofs to take care of installing, repairing, and maintaining your tiles.