How To Compare The Rewards And Risks Of Tile Roofing

What is Florida without its tile-bedecked homes? Spanish barrel tiles, Misson tiles, flat and Roman tiles all grace the semitropical architecture so popular in and around Tampa. What are the rewards of using concrete or ceramic tile, and what are the risks of having it on your home or business?

Rewards of Using Tile

Though we may seem biased, we do feel tile roofs offer far more rewards than risks. They look stunning. They last for decades, making them one of the few durable roofing options for most Floridians. They require minimal upkeep of the tiles themselves. They are historically appropriate for the vast majority of architectural styles seen in the southern regions of Florida.

Other great advantages of using concrete or ceramic tiles on your home or business include:

  • Styles — As mentioned at the start, tile roofing comes in so many styles, you can match your home or business to a distinct tile shape easily. Besides the Roman, Spanish, Mission and flat tiles, you can also choose French, interlocking shingle, Greek, English and ribbed tiles.
  • Color choices — While generally keeping with the natural earth palette, tile colors are now available in light tones, rainbow colors, and darker tones. You can find a color exactly right for your setting, and you can be sure the color will last the entire life of the tile.
  • Resistance to pests — Rodents and insects steer clear of tile roofs. Rodents cannot gnaw their way through ceramic or concrete, and insects find little refuge in the tight spaces.
  • Energy efficiency The Tile Roofing Industry Alliance points out that tile roofs are naturally energy efficient. They allow air to circulate between tile and sheathing so central air conditioning costs are dramatically lower than with most shingle roofs.
  • Boost resale value — A tile roof is a beautiful crown on your home. It fits architecturally and adds curb appeal.
  • Resistance to wind — Since tile is heavier per square foot than shingle, it is far more resistant to wind uplift.
  • Resistance to fire — Concrete and ceramic are fireproof.
  • Cost effective — Though initial installation is more, tile roofing’s lifetime costs are very low since a tile roof can last six or more decades.
  • Environmentally wise — Engineers and economists look to “embedded costs” when evaluating materials. Concrete or ceramic roof tiles use natural materials which are 100 percent recyclable, embed their energy and labor costs over decades, and have low environmental impact throughout their lifespans

A Word About Maintaining Tile Roofs

Many homeowners worry about maintaining a tile roof, which is one of the risks. They envision feet crunching on tiles and shattering them. They envision slapstick images of entire lines of tiles sliding down into the yard.

Those issues are unrealistic in most cases. Most people, though, do not realize exactly what the risk is. A tile roof’s actual tiles need hardly any upkeep. They do not react to heat and cold the way shingles do; they can withstand harsh winds and rain. What maintenance is required is beneath the surface, in these areas:

  • Gutters
  • Protrusion flashings
  • Ventilation
  • Underlayment
  • Furring strips
  • Sheathing

Walking on tile roofs is as much an art as a learned skill, we grant you that. With highly trained tile technicians, though, your concrete or ceramic tiles are safe. The sort of maintenance a tile roof requires can only be found with a special tile roofing contractor, not your run-of-the-mill Florida roofer. We view maintenance as both a reward and a risk of tile roofing.

Risks of Using Tile

Sidewalks are not made of porcelain. They are made of concrete, which gives you some indication of concrete’s strength. Of course, roof tiles are not the three- to five-inch thickness of sidewalks. So, one risk of using tile is its brittleness. It can crack and split when trod on by careless workers or teenagers retrieving Frisbees™.  

Other risks of tile roofing:

  • Weight According to experts at Home Advisor, typical concrete roof tiles weigh between 9.5 and 12 pounds per square foot, far more than fiberglass-asphalt shingles (at 2.5 to 4 pounds per square foot)
  • Installation cost — Due to their specialized installation, initial costs are higher for tile roofs, but that cost is spread out over a much longer lifespan than, say, a shingle roof
  • Roof slope or complexity — Round, conical, or steep roofs make installation more challenging and may require custom-made roof tiles
  • Expert installation — Not every Florida roofer has mastered the art and science of installing tile roofs (though they may tell you otherwise)

For truly expert advice on tile roofing, please contact us at Imperial Roofing Contractor. We are your local, dependable tile roofing professionals. We have been serving the people and businesses of the greater Tampa area since 1968.