There are many style and color options available with concrete tile.
There are many style and color options available with concrete tile.

What are concrete roof tiles?

Do you want the appearance of a tile roof but not the high cost? Consider beautiful, long-lasting, and economical concrete roofing tiles. In the middle of 19th-century Bavaria, a mixture of cement, sand, and water was first used to form roof tiles out of concrete. Many homes built with these first concrete roof tiles still remain, proving their durability. In the early 1900s, coloring pigments were added to concrete roofing tiles in Europe to simulate the appearance of clay. Although these early concrete tiles were handmade or made with semi-automated machines, innovation over the past century has automated production, making concrete tile more economical than other roofing products on a life-cycle basis.

What are the advantages of concrete roof tiles?

Concrete roof tiles most often last the lifetime of a house, typically carrying a limited lifetime, nonprorated, transferable warranty. Compare this to the limited warranties that accompany most composition shingles, and also how shorter lived products tend to over-fill precious landfill space. Concrete tiles are Class A fire rated and resistant to damage from hail and high winds, typically achieving a minimum of a Class 3 hail resistance rating. Concrete tiles can sustain winds in excess of 125 mph that would strip off most other roofing materials. Testing also has shown concrete tile roofing systems, when installed according to building code standards, exceed current seismic load requirements for building materials.

How much do concrete roof tiles cost?

Concrete tiles have grown more competitive in price, due in part to the rising costs of petroleum-based products such as asphalt shingles. Compared to unsightly weather-beaten asphalt shingles and their replacement costs, concrete roof tiles offer an affordable and economical alternative, especially when considering their life-cycle cost. Concrete tile roofs have experienced 100-year lives in Europe.

What options do I have in selecting concrete roof tiles?

There are many style and color options available with concrete tile. Not limited to Sunbelt construction, concrete tiles can be used in cold climates provided specific installation precautions are followed. Modern concrete tile designs can simulate the appearance of traditional clay tiles, wood shake, slate, and stone. Concrete tile surfaces can be textured or smooth, tile edges can be uniform or ragged, and architects may select tiles of all one color, blended colors, or combinations of two or more shades placed in a uniform or random pattern. Portland cement also is available in white. Pigments can be blended with either white or gray cement to allow for virtually any desired color. Lightweight concrete tiles are available in regions of the country for reroofing applications where the roof structure is insufficient to support standard concrete tiles.

What's the bottom line?

Concrete roof tiles are designed to last the lifetime of a house. Choose a reputable manufacturer with a strong warranty. Make sure the product you choose is appropriate to your climate and will withstand the natural forces that could affect the roof. Also be sure to select an installer familiar with manufacturer specifications for quality.