concrete roof tiles pros and cons
Photo by Michael Jasmund

Should You Use Concrete Roof Tiles?

Concrete is strong and economically friendly, but it can also have pigments added to make it “match the neighborhood.” However, concrete roof tiles first came about in Bavaria during the 19th century.

Some of these initial homes that started using cement roof tiles are still standing, showing that these tiles can last a very long time.

Water, sand and cement are used to make concrete, and Europe quickly adopted the concrete roof tile. The builders at the time made all of the tiles by hand, so the process took a long time to complete. However, aesthetics was a major concern because it was important for the homes not to stand out.

Pigments were added to make the tiles look like clay.

Crown Roof Tiles
Flat Windsor Grey Crown Roof Tiles

Today, you’ll find multiple concrete / clay roof tile manufacturers, such as the Crown Roof Tile by Coma Cast Corp, which come in modern colors and are as beautiful as they are long-lasting.

How Long Does a Roof Last?

Replacing a roof is one of the highest costs of homeownership. A general rule of thumb for roof lifespans is:

  • Asphalt shingles or composites last 20 years
  • Wood shake roofs last 30 years
  • Copper, tile and shake roofs can last 50+ years

How Long Do Concrete Roof Tiles Last?

Concrete roof tiles often last the lifetime of the home, which means 50+ years for most owners.

However, some of the homes in Europe have had the same concrete tile roof for 100 years, and maintenance is minimal.

Concrete Roof Tile Pros and Cons

Concrete is like most materials, with pros and cons that need to be considered by homeowners and builders. If you’re considering cement roof tiles, the following are advantages of this type of roof tile:

#1 – Warranty

Most manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their concrete tiles. The lifetime warranty certainly comes with a few exceptions and stipulations, but it’s a testament to the longevity and life expectancy of the tiles.

#2 – Natural Resistance

Concrete is one of the more durable roofing materials, and it is:

  • Class A fire-rated, meaning that the home’s roof will be protected in a fire.
  • Resistant to hail damage, which is a rising concern in many areas. Minimum Class 3 resistance is offered.
  • Wind resistance of 125 miles per hour or higher.

Most roofing materials would rip off of the roof at these wind speeds, but not concrete. If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes or tornados, the high wind resistance is one of the perks of a concrete roof tile that you can’t ignore.

Additionally, many tiles are tested to exceed seismic load requirements, so it’s a highly resistant roofing option.

You also don’t need to worry about rot or mold, which is a concern with other types of roofing materials. Overall, concrete is one of the most resistant roofing options in the world and one that is ideal for anyone who wants to redo or install a roof that can last the lifetime of their ownership.

#3 – Low-Maintenance

Concrete is low maintenance, too. Very minimal upkeep is required to keep the roof tiles from breaking. You’ll still need to trim trees back and keep your roof tiles clean. You can pressure wash concrete, and this is an additional perk.

The pressure washer needs to be concrete rated, but it will help:

  • Keep tiles looking like new
  • Preserve the color

You won’t need to worry about rot or mold on the roof material, which are two benefits that most roofing materials do not offer.

If you do have a severe weather event, such as very high winds or an earthquake, you’ll want to inspect the tiles visually. It’s always a good idea to examine the tiles to ensure that none of them are loose, broken or cracked.

However, this is a process that you’ll need to follow with any roofing material that you choose.

#4 – Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is always a concern for homeowners, especially with rising heating costs. Concrete is a great material for energy efficiency, and there’s a reason that these tiles are used extensively in hot climates.

Concrete reflects more heat than most roofing materials.

Heat reflection means that the interior of the home remains at a cooler, more comfortable temperature. In hot climates, the savings on cooling costs are going to help owners recuperate some of the costs of installing the roof.

Another nice perk is that the tiles can be recycled when they reach the end of their lifespan. In terms of being environmentally friendly, this is one of the perks that must be considered during the building process, too.

One thing that must be considered is that concrete is a heavier roofing material, so you will need to have a home frame that can withstand the additional weight. Roofing companies should help you connect with an engineer or have one on staff so that they can inspect the current roof and structure to determine if any additional reinforcement will be necessary.

However, these inspections are always good to have so that you understand your roofing options.

The good news is that the roofing company will figure out all of these logistics for you. If your home cannot hold the additional weight of the tiles, a roofing company can stabilize the structure so that it can.

Always do your due diligence to find an installer that offers:

  • High-end work
  • Fair prices

Roofing is one of your home’s most vital elements. If an installer is offering prices that are far below other quotes you receive, you’ll want to consider not using them. A roof is something that you want done right the first time.

How Much Does Concrete Roof Tiles Cost to Install?

Installation prices are very difficult to narrow down due to location, roof type and any additional work that needs to be done. For example, if you have a common roof pitch, the installation will be cheaper than if you have a complex pitch.

However, we do have national average prices for a concrete roof, and they’re:

  • $12,000 – $21,500
  • $4 – $7.2 per square foot

If local labor costs are high or additional roof repairs must be made, these costs may be higher. Again, if you do need to have reinforcing done on the building, this will cost additional money. However, it’s something that any competent roof installer will bring to your attention and help you figure out beforehand.

Companies like Coma Cast Corp offer tiles that are both beautiful and functional. Their Crown tiles come in multiple profiles, including:

  • Sanibel
  • Tuscany
  • Windsor Slate
  • Windsor Shake

These concrete roof tiles offer the profile to match the look you want for your home and use concrete for superb durability and longevity. If you want your roof to look like it’s slate or shake, you can, thanks to the design concepts put into this tile collection.

There are a lot of reasons to choose concrete roof tiles. Your roof is exposed to the elements and is the only thing keeping the elements out of your home. Investing in concrete roof tiles will provide you with peace of mind that your roof will last half of a century or longer with minimal maintenance.

If you’re having a new roof installed or are considering replacing your roof, concrete is a material to consider.