Types Of Roof Tiles – Everything You Need To Know

Types of roof tiles | Types of roofing tiles

A roof is a structure that covers the top of a building.

It is one of the most important parts of any building. It protects the interior of the building and its occupants from harsh weather elements such as rain, snow, sun, and heat.

Generally, there are two types of roofs commonly used: Flat roofs and Sloped roofs.

  • The flat roofs are used in places where the climate is arid and the water drainage on the roof is of secondary importance.
  • The sloped roofs are used in places where there is heavy rainfall or snow precipitation. These roofs can shed rainwater and snow, thereby preventing potential damage to the structure.

In addition to that, the sloped roof enhances the aesthetics of the structure. Hence, sloped roofs are commonly used in houses and offices. Nowadays it is a very common form of roof in America and many countries.

Choosing an external covering for the roof is also very important. There are a lot of things to consider before selecting a good roofing material. In this article, let’s discuss some of the most popular roof tiles.

1) Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in many countries. They are quick and easy to install. It is also really easy to repair or replace if needed.

It is made with a base mat of different materials such as organic materials or fiberglass, covered with asphalt and other mineral granules.

The shingles made with fiberglass are stronger and resist fire better than shingles made with organic materials.

There are three types of asphalt shingles available, they are

i) 3-tab asphalt shingles

These are the most basic type of asphalt shingle and are made of a single layer of asphalt. These are flat, lightweight, and uniform in color and shape.

Estimated Life span: Around 25 years

3-tab asphalt shingle
3-tab asphalt shingles

ii) Dimensional asphalt shingles

These shingles offer an attractive random pattern and are also known as Architectural shingles. It is made with two or more layers of asphalt to give a pattern and generally, they are thicker and stronger.

Cost: 15% more than the 3-tab asphalt shingles

Estimated Life span: Around 30 years

Architectural Asphalt shingle
Architectural asphalt shingles

iii) Luxury asphalt shingles

These are the highest quality shingles and have multiple layers of asphalt coating for better protection against weathering. These shingles are really heavy and can enhance the aesthetics of the structure.

Cost: Almost Double the cost of dimensional asphalt shingles

Estimated Life span: Around 50 years

3-tab asphalt shingle vs Architectural asphalt shingle vs Luxury Asphalt shingle

Note: The cost and life span of the material may vary depending upon the manufacturer.

2) Clay roof tiles

It is one of the most durable and natural roofing materials available in the market.

They are made from natural clay and are fired at high temperatures in the kiln for better durability.

Since they are made of clay, they can be molded into any shape. These tiles are classified based on the rise-to-width ratio.

However, these clay tiles can become fragile in very cold and very heat conditions. Hence these clay roofing tiles are suitable for regions having a Mediterranean climate.

Estimated Life span: Around 100 – 150 years

Clay roof tiles
Clay roof tiles

3) Slate roof tiles

Slate roof tiles are a premium roofing material that is made from a type of natural rock called metamorphic rock. In addition to that, it contains many minerals like carbon, haematite, iron, etc. These minerals play a crucial part in determining the color of the tiles.

These roofing tiles are very durable and one of the most beautiful ones in the market.

Unlike other roofing tiles, these tiles are not manufactured in 3-foot strips. These tiles are manufactured individually and are installed one by one.

However, these roof tiles are incredibly heavy and costly. Thus, one has to ensure that the roofing framework can support the weight of these tiles. Since these tiles are installed one by one, it takes a long time for installation and repair work.

Cost: Almost four times the cost of asphalt shingles

Estimated Life span: Around 100 years

Slate roof tile
Slate roof tiles

4) Concrete roof tiles

Concrete roof tiles are another one of the most popular and durable roofing materials. They are made from a mixture of cement, sand, water, and some pigments for various colors and textures.

Concrete roofing tiles are highly versatile and are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and colors according to the user’s needs.

These tiles are of high strength and possess good fire resistance properties. In addition to that, these tiles are less permeable, hence it absorbs less water when compared to other roofing materials.

However, these tiles can be a little heavier when compared to the other roofing tiles, hence one has to ensure that the roofing frame can withstand the additional load.

Estimated Life span: With proper maintenance, these tiles can last up to 75 – 100 years.

Concrete roof tiles
Concrete roof tiles

5) Metal roof tiles

Metal roof tiles are popular choices of roofing material for commercial buildings. Nowadays, it is also widely used in residential buildings. 

These roof tiles are very versatile and made from various metals like steel, copper, etc. In addition to that, they are lightweight and can reflect the heat from the roof.

Due to their versatility, they can be even substituted for a certain part of the roof in addition to the conventional one.

However, there are certain things that you might want to consider. They are,

  • These metal roof tiles are painted with a protective film to avoid contact with the atmosphere to prevent rusting. During installation or repair work, necessary care should be taken to avoid any scratches or damages.
  • It has been noticed that the metal roof produces a noisy sound when it rains. It is almost 50 decibels higher than the asphalt roof. So, you may want to provide additional insulation or underlayment to prevent additional sound.

Estimated Life span: With proper maintenance, these tiles can last up to 30 – 50 years.

Metal roof tiles
Metal roofing

6) Composite roof tiles

Composite roof tiles are relatively new roofing materials in the market and are used as an alternative to asphalt shingles. These tiles are made of plastics and recycled materials.

It is widely used nowadays because of its lightweight property which eliminates the need for heavy reinforcement of roofing truss.

They are also strong and durable and can resist a wide range of climatic conditions. They are available in different colors.

Estimated Life span: Around 50 years

Composite roof tiles
Composite roof tiles

7) Ceramic roof tiles

Ceramic roof tiles are made from sand, clay, and glass. It is one of the most popular roof tiles in the market.

Since these roof tiles are burned at klin at 1100°C, they are pretty strong, durable, and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Ceramic roof tiles can also add some insulating properties to your building by reflecting most of the heat. These roof tiles attract less dust and even possess fire-resistance properties.

However, these roof tiles are pretty heavy, and due care must be given during the installation and repair process.

Estimated Life span: Around 50 years

Ceramic roof tiles
Ceramic roof tiles

8) Polymeric roof tiles

It is a new type of roofing material entering the market and has good demand. Polymeric roof tiles are made up of high-quality washed sand, polymers, and dyes of certain types. The sand is highly washed to remove impurities like clay and some minerals from it.

These raw materials are properly mixed and processed in the ratio of 70,29, and 1%. The right mix has made the roof tiles to be extremely strong. It is so strong that it does not break during transportation and installation.

Unlike other traditional roofing materials, you can safely walk on the finished roof.

However, these roof tiles get damaged if it is frequently subjected to UV light. The UV light may destroy the polymeric chain in the polymers and that results in color fade, brittleness, etc.

Estimated Life span: Around 50 years

Polymeric roof tiles
Polymeric roof tiles

9) Terracotta roof tiles

It has been one of the most popular natural roofing materials throughout history. These tiles are made from clay, molded into the required shape, and fired in an oven or klin.

The burning process in an oven gives the roof tiles a natural dark orange color which enhances the aesthetics of a building.

In addition to that, the terracotta roofing tiles provide excellent heat insulation. These tiles can retain heat well and due to their light color, it reflects most of the heat.

However, these roof tiles are much heavier than other roofing materials and hence require slid roofing system to support them. When there is excessive moisture, these tiles can easily develop moss or fungus, thus periodic cleaning with the pressure washer is required.

Estimated Life span: Around 100 years

Terracotta roof tiles
Terracotta roof tiles

10) Pantile roof tiles

These roof tiles are most popular and significantly used where the weather is less severe. These pantile roof tiles are S-shaped in profile and are made from clay.

These pantile roof tiles are laid down in rows where it gets interlocked with adjacent tile.

However, these tiles may easily get porous with age and break apart. Heavier wind and moss growth can also affect and break the tiles.

These tiles are incredibly difficult to replace once they get broken. Whenever replacements are provided, they must have similar profiles and shape to match their originals. It is recommended to use original pantiles for repair work to have a uniform look.

Estimated Life span: Around 50 years

Pantile roof tiles
Pantile roof tiles

In conclusion, you may have to consider various factors such as weather conditions, durability, cost, and maintenance before choosing the correct roofing material that suits your needs.

The costs are not mentioned here because it varies according to region, manufacturers, etc. So it is always recommended to consult with a professional roofing contractor before making any important decisions.

Image Credits: Roofcooline.com, Indiaroofing.in, Ukslate.com, Billroganroofing.com, restoremastersllc.com, Constructofacilitator.com, archiexpo.com, Eagleroofing.com, Total-contractor.co.uk.

Read more:

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A Detailed Guide to Brick Wall Cracks & How to Repair Them.

25 Necessary Guidelines For Constructing A Good Quality Brick Wall.

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