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Сoncrete tile roof 101: A complete guide for homeowners

Are you looking for a suitable covering material for your next roofing project? Consider concrete roofing tiles. The inception of this material dates back to the 19th century when Bavarians used it to protect their homes from strong winds and pouring rains. Today, concrete tiles are also commonly seen on residential roofs as they offer long-term value and outstanding durability. Most roofing professionals compare this material with traditional clay roofing tiles, saying that the latest one has better performance and visual appeal. However, how realistic and unbiased are these opinions. These and other topics are highlighted in this article in detail, so you will be able to make your own decision about the benefits and drawbacks of installing concrete roofing tiles on your roof. Besides, we give a detailed cost overview to help you plan your roofing budget in advance.

Сoncrete tile roof 101: A complete guide for homeowners

Table of contents
1. What are concrete roofing tiles?
2. What are the pros and cons of installing a concrete roof on your home?
3. Concrete vs. clay roofing tiles - What is the best roofing option?
4. The national average сoncrete tile roof costs

What are concrete roofing tiles?

Concrete tiles have cement, water, sand, and iron oxide in their structure. All components are blended and then heated within molds, ensuring this roofing material's strength and water resistance. Thanks to a multi-staging manufacturing process and special treatment, tiles can easily withstand freeze-thaw cycles and harsh cold. 

The most sought-after concrete roof types include flat and curved ones, also called Spanish. The curved shingles are commonly seen on the roofs of traditional and rustic-style homes. The flat tiles, in their turn, offer a more advanced design, mimicking wood, clay, and slate roofing. 

Distinctive features

There are a few main characteristics that distinguish concrete from other roofing options. First off, it's significantly heavier than most traditional materials like wood, slate, or asphalt. That means your house should have a corresponding structure to withstand the load. Nevertheless, a considerable weight of tiles also improves their resistance to harsh weather conditions like winds over 150 miles per hour. Secondly, concrete roofing offers a variety of patterns, from high and low profile tiles to flat ones. A homeowner can always pick the right option depending on their home's exterior. Besides, most manufacturers of concrete roofing tiles confirm that their products possess a Class A fire rating. It has tremendous importance in areas with the highest wildfire risk. Another competitive advantage of concrete roofing is its energy efficiency. The material slowly absorbs and emits heat, lowering the restrain on the home's heating and cooling systems. Besides, concrete roofs are installed over battens, creating air channels underneath individual tiles. The added channels serve as a second layer of insulation that prevents air leakage and conserves energy. 

Underlayment

When it comes to concrete roof installation, its underlayment often becomes a deal breaker. Unfortunately, underlayment does not feature the same durability as tiles, lasting an average of 15-20 years. Make sure to consider that spending when choosing concrete roofing. 

Life expectancy

The average lifespan of a concrete roof is five decades. However, considering that some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty, your concrete-tiled roof can last even longer. The extended service life is explained by the inherent toughness of the material and its weatherproofing qualities. However, just like other roofing types, concrete tiles require professional installation and maintenance to serve for many years.

Installation 

To mount concrete tiles on the roof, you need to remove the existing roofing coverage and install new underlayment. Once the preparatory stage is over, the battens should be added to fasten the tiles. The process of concrete roof installation requires a professional approach as the material is heavy and complicated to work with. It's especially true for pitched roofs with skylights and chimneys. 

If you need someone to help you out with the installation process, let us know by leaving the request on the website. We will sort out the roofers in your region who're specialized in working with concrete roofing tiles and send you their price quotes. 

Maintenance

As we said before, concrete lines are meant to last for decades. However, proper upkeep is essential to make them preserve their original look. Don't neglect regular inspections and cleaning to prevent moss and algae growth. Other than replacing cracked tiles and removing leaves and dirt from gutters, you will also want your roof to preserve its color. If you have trees overhanging your roof, consider trimming them to prevent possible damage and lichen growth. Unlike traditional clay roofing tiles, concrete ones can be cleaned with a pressure washer. So, you can use this option for better and more efficient cleaning. 

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What are the pros and cons of installing a concrete roof on your home?

To make a well-judged decision on the roofing material, one should weigh its advantages and drawbacks, consider maintenance requirements, and install spending. Besides, it's essential to understand whether the picked roofing option meets the durability requirements and can withstand the climate extremes predominant in a particular region. 

Below you will find a detailed overview of all pros and cons of a concrete tile roof. Learn them carefully before heading to a roofing supply store. 

Top reasons to install a concrete roof

  • A long-term investment that pays off

If you seek to install a roof that will serve you for decades with little to no headache, concrete roofing is your best bet. While not requiring high upfront costs, this material features uncompromised quality and durability. Concrete roof tiles can stay intact for at least 50 years, giving you a high return on investment. 

  • Exceptional protection from the elements

Is your state prone to hurricanes and harsh winters? Do you have an eternal summer with unbearable heat and often wildfires? Concrete roofing tiles can suit all climate variabilities. This material is robust enough to protect your house all year round, no matter the weather outside. It does not crack from heat and could hardly be blown off by the heavy wind. The rapid temperature drops also pose little threat to concrete roofing as it's made to withstand multiple freeze-thaw cycles. Besides, it's proven to survive earthquakes and has the highest fire-resistance rating. 

  • Diversity of styles to boost home's curb appeal

Concrete roof tiles come in a variety of styles and textures that can be a great advantage for homeowners looking to enhance their home's exterior and boost its sale value. Besides, concrete can simulate luxury roofing options like clay, natural wood, and slate while not compromising the overall roof quality and durability. 

  • Roofing that can be recycled and reused

Concrete is considered a green roofing material as it's made of organic components, requires only one replacement in 50 years, and can be easily recycled by the end of its service life. On top of that, concrete tiles are a good option for eco-conscious homeowners who want to minimize their electricity consumption. 

Reasons to give up the idea of installing a concrete roof

  • The weight that not every construction can handle

The average weight of concrete tiles ranges from 820 to 1.200 pounds per square, which means not every roof can handle them. Consider hiring an expert structural engineer to consult you on whether concrete roofing is suitable for your home. Even if the existing roof's construction is solid enough, you might be advised to make reinforcements before installation.

  • High vulnerability to damage

Despite its durability and excellent weatherproofing, concrete roofing is still vulnerable to external damage. Tiles can be easily cracked by falling tree branches and objects. Hailstorms and hurricane winds can also put their toll on concrete coverage. Damaged shingles should be replaced as soon as possible not to make roof underlayment vulnerable to moisture. 

  • Possible roof leakage issues

Concrete roofing has good water resistance, but it is not entirely waterproof and may absorb moisture. Water damages are imminent if the roof underlayment or tiles are installed poorly. Unfortunately, leakage problems tend to worsen over time, wreaking havoc on the house's structural integrity.

  • Tiles might become fade overtime

Roof tiles are most exposed to direct UV rays, making them vulnerable to premature fading. If you select contrast colors of concrete roofing like red or orange, you should be ready to repaint it every 5-7 years. Otherwise, tiles will look weathered and may ruin the house's curb appeal.  

Wrapping it up, we can say that concrete-tiled roofs are not for every homeowner. Someone will find them the best option because of their insulation properties and energy efficiency, while others continue searching for another lighter and cheaper roofing coverage

Concrete vs. clay roofing tiles - What is the best roofing option?

These roofing materials have similar properties and commonly substitute for each other. However, concrete tiles are considered a more budget-friendly alternative to clay roofing, and for a reason. Plunge into our comparative analysis to see the main difference between clay and concrete tiles. 

  • Average cost. A concrete tile roof costs 20-25% lower than clay ones. Depending on the rates of local installers and your roof structure, you can expect to pay from $700 to $1000 per square of clay roofing. 
  • Longevity. Both concrete and clay tiles are champions among durable and long-lasting roofing materials. However, clay offers a longer service life than concrete and can serve for about 100 years. 
  • Weight. As we said before, concrete is a heavyweight material that does not suit every roof. In percentage terms, it is almost 40% heavier than clay tiles that have a maximum weight of 600 pounds. 
  • Weatherproofing. Clay tiles cannot withstand rapid temperature changes and can shatter while freezing and thawing. On top of that, this roofing material is lightweight and can be easily thrown away from the roof under a storm. If you live in a cold climate, you better set your sights on concrete tiles, as they are best to handle cold temperatures and high winds.
  • Moisture resistance. Concrete roofing is more prone to water absorption than its clay counterpart. The water absorption of concrete tiles is about 13%, while clay has a two times lower index, making it a better material for areas with regular rains. 

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The national average сoncrete tile roof costs

The average price you can expect to spend on shingling a house of 1.500 square feet with concrete tiles ranges from $20.000 to $35.000. The pitch of a roof and tiles grade may affect the total estimate. Thus, the installation price of the decorative flat tiles with a distinctive texture and color may go up to $40.000 per project. However, if you don't aim for a sleek roof design, you may go for a basic concrete roofing without paint finish that usually costs around $3 per square foot. 

When it comes to installation, concrete roofing projects are the most complicated and time-consuming to handle, especially on roofs with extensive slopes. Roofers do not only replace the existing material but also install a new underlayment and seal areas around skylights and chimneys. The average installation price ranges from $350 to $780 per square. The final quote may greatly vary depending on your roof pitch and structure as well as the local labor rates. 

Make sure to verify the installation costs with roofing contractors operating in your area. The average local prices can be quickly revealed with the HomeQuote service that collects up-to-date quotations from roofers nationwide. 

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