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Roofing Materials

Which is Better: Clay or Concrete Roofing Tiles?

Deciding on a roofing tile material in Arizona usually amounts to a choice between clay or concrete. These are both excellent materials that create an appealing look for your home. However, there are advantages to each type of material, so this article will discuss the major pros and cons of clay and concrete tiling, respectively.

Clay vs Concrete Tile

Clay vs. concrete tile. Photo Credit:

Longevity of Tile Roofing

Roof installations often last the entire life of the home. The roof functions to shed water from the top of the structure. However, the underlying structures beneath the tile have a shorter lifespan, and they leak when damaged. Most tile roof replacements will occur between the 13th and 16th year after the original installation.

Keeping this in mind, here is a summary of the lifespan for concrete and clay tiles:

  • Concrete tile will typically last between 50 and 60 years after the original installation.
  • Clay tile will last at least 50 years, and in many cases, its lifespan will exceed 60 years after the original installation. This assumes that the tiles aren’t being walked on improperly or otherwise damaged.

Fading of Tile Colors

After major storms, you might need to replace some tiles, and this is where color fading really comes into the picture. If you are unable to get replacement tiles from the same manufacturer as your original roof, your new tiles won’t match the rest of the tiles after color fading occurs across your roof.

Here is a summary of the effects of color fading on concrete and clay tiles:

  • Concrete tile will visibly fade after prolonged exposure to the intense sunlight of Arizona.
  • Clay tiling maintains its color better, and it’s less likely to fade; glazing processes can also help to retain the original color.

Price of Tile

There are several factors that contribute to the total price of your roof tile, and the material selected is certainly a major one. Any installations or features that are designed to increase the home’s energy efficiency can also play a role in the total cost of the roofing because they must be circumvented when installing new tiles. This can include anything from a chimney to a skylight, for example.

Here is a summary of the effect of the roofing tile material on the price:

  • Concrete tile is priced at around $400 to $450 for each square; this will total at a price between $10,000 and $15,000 for a new roof.
  • Clay tile is priced at around $415 to $500 for each square; this will total at a price between $12,000 and $20,000 for a new roof.

Weight of Tile

The weight of tile plays a role in many specific aspects of the roofing installation. For example, the underlying structure must be capable of supporting the weight of the tile, and the type of material selected must be evaluated based on the weight. This will require the opinion of a professional roofing expert who can evaluate the potential weight-bearing capacity of your specific structure.

Here is a summary of the weight of concrete and clay roofing tiles:

  • Concrete tile can weigh anywhere between 900 and 1,100 pounds for each roofing square.
  • Clay tile can weigh anywhere between 800 and 1,000 pounds for each roofing square.

Roofing Material Durability

Durability is a major issue for homeowners in Arizona. The roofing material that you select will need to withstand the weather, sun and possible missteps by people when walking on your roof. Damage to even one shingle can also impair the waterproofing capacity of the underlayment. Water damage is more likely to occur once this underlayment has been compromised.

Pros and cons of concrete tiling:

  • Pros: Concrete tile is cheaper than clay; however, it’s also more durable than clay. This will reduce the likelihood of water damage as the underlayment is more likely to be preserved.
  • Cons: However, it weighs more than clay, so the roof’s underlying structure must be inspected to ensure that the proper supports exist.

Pros and cons of clay tiling:

  • Clay tile has the best longevity of any roofing material, and it’s lighter than concrete. Clay can also be glazed to help it to resist color fading.
  • Cons: However, this isn’t as durable as concrete, and the price tends to be higher.


Tile roofing offers many advantages to homeowners in Arizona. Tile is an amazing roofing material that lends itself to the most aesthetically pleasing home exterior. A new tile roof can increase the home’s equity and improve your chances of getting a favorable price when selling. Contact us for details.

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