Tile Roofing for Your Home

Red tile roofing also called "Spanish Tile". roboriginal


Tile is a beautiful and durable roofing material used in residential and commercial applications. It is usually made from clay or concrete and typically comes in curved, fluted or flat shapes.

Clay tile is usually barrel shaped and red in color and is often called 'Spanish tile'. A version of clay tile that has more of a fluted design is called French tile. The primary roofing tile is called 'field tile' and consists of a main roof covering tile with a specialty edge to receive an overlapping / interlocking flat or curved tile.

These tiles come in many variations of style. They can look like wood shakes, clean edged contemporary shapes or European villa style roofing. This roof material, especially in concrete, can take on many styles and personalities.

Cost / Durability:

Tile roofs are some of the most expensive roofing options available but they can also last a lifetime. A clay tile roof system can cost 200% to 300% or more of an asphalt roofing system. Advantages of clay and concrete tile roofs are that they can withstand hail, high winds and even fires. They are truly a lifetime roofing option. Some other benefits of tile roofs include:

  • They are resistant to fire damage;
  • They are resistant to rot or insect damage;
  • They stand up to rain, snow or freezing and thawing cycles without damage;
  • Tile roofing can be recycled;
  • Helps to regulate your home's indoor temperature because of their thermal mass;
  • Virtually maintenance free.

    Clay Tiles:

    Clay tiles come in flat, flat / interlocking, French or Spanish styles. They have a minimum roof pitch requirement of 3:12 or 4:12. These roofing tiles cannot be used on slopes less than 3:12.

    Clay tile roofs are heavy. Spanish clay tile roofs usually weigh about 850 pounds per square (a square equals 100 square feet).

    In comparison an asphalt roof shingle weighs 225-325 pounds per square. As a result, roof structure must be designed to accommodate the weight of tile roofing.

    Clay tile roofing is attached with non-corrosive nails of sufficient length to penetrate at least 3/4” into the roof decking or battens.

    As with asphalt tabbed shingles, wood shakes or wood shingles, the amount of roofing exposed to weather will vary by size. For example, a 13-1/4" x 9-3/4" Spanish field tile will have about 10-1/2" of length and 8-1/4" of width exposed to the weather.

    The butt thickness (thick edge which fastens to the roof substrate) will vary by style of tile. Usually the flat tiles will have 3/8" minimum thickness, interlocking flat tiles have 7/8" minimum, Spanish tile has about 1/2" thick minimum and French tiles are thickest at about 2" thick.

    Tile roofs are typically laid over 30# to 45# roofing paper or roofing felt and have a plywood roof substrate or in some cases roof batten strips.

    Concrete Tile Roofing:
    Concrete tile roofs usually come in flat or barreled mission style shapes. They have a minimum roof pitch requirement of 4:12.  Concrete tile roofs are heavier than clay tile roofs and typically weigh in at about 950 pounds per square.

    Like clay tile roofs they also require proper roof structure design for these loads.

    Concrete tiles are fastened to the roof deck over one layer of 30# roof felt with 10 penny corrosion resistant or stainless steel nails that will penetrate at least 3/4" into the roof decking.

    Typical tile size is about 13" x 16" with a 1" butt thickness. Concrete tiles usually have about a 3" overlap.