Clay Tile Roofing: Useful Information Guide

By Roof Online Staff • Last updated September 29, 2022

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Close-up of the clay tile on the Duomo in Florence, Italy

Pictures of Clay Tile Roofing

Clay Tile Roofing: Introduction

Clay tile roofing is a traditional and durable roofing option that has been used for centuries. Made from natural clay, these tiles are fired at high temperatures to create a strong and long-lasting material.

Clay tile roofing is resistant to fire, insects, and rot, making it a popular choice for both residential and commercial properties. It is also low maintenance and can last up to 50 years or more with proper care.

Clay tiles come in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, allowing homeowners to choose a design that complements their home’s aesthetic. They are also eco-friendly and can be recycled at the end of their lifespan.

Additionally, clay tile roofing is energy-efficient, helping to keep homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Overall, clay tile roofing is a durable, attractive, and sustainable option for any property.

Clay tile roofing is a popular choice for homes and buildings due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. The tiles are made from natural clay and can last for decades with proper maintenance. Clay tiles are also fire resistant and can help to insulate a building.

These tiles come in a variety of colors and styles, allowing for a unique and personalized look. One downside of clay tile roofing is that it can be heavy and may require additional structural support.

Types of Clay Roof Tiles

There are several different types of clay roof tiles, including:

  1. Flat clay tiles: These tiles are flat and have a smooth surface, making them a popular choice for modern architecture.
  2. Interlocking clay tiles: These tiles are designed to fit together securely, making them suitable for use in areas with high winds.
  3. Pan clay tiles: These tiles have a curved or pan-shaped profile and are often used in traditional or Mediterranean-style architecture.
  4. S-shaped clay tiles: These tiles have an S-shaped profile and are commonly used to create a more decorative look.
  5. Mission clay tiles: These tiles are a specific type of pan tile that are typically used in Spanish-style architecture.
  6. Double Roman clay tiles: These tiles are a specific type of interlocking tile that have a distinct shape and style, it is generally used to create a unique and decorative look.
Installing a clay tile roof at a shopping center in Texas.
Installing a clay tile roof at a shopping center in Texas.

Pros & Cons of Clay Tile Roofing

Pros of clay tile roofing include:

  • Durability: Clay tiles can last for 50 years or more with proper maintenance.
  • Low maintenance: Clay tiles are resistant to fire, rot, and insects, and do not require regular coatings or sealants.
  • Energy efficiency: Clay tiles can help keep a building cool in hot weather, reducing the need for air conditioning.
  • Aesthetics: Clay tiles come in a variety of colors and styles, and can add architectural interest to a building.

Cons of clay tile roofing include:

  • Cost: Clay tiles can be expensive to purchase and install.
  • Weight: Clay tiles are heavy, and may require additional support to be added to a building’s structure.
  • Installation: Clay tiles require a skilled installer, and may be difficult to find in some areas.
  • Weather: Clay tiles can be damaged by hail or heavy winds, and may require repairs or replacement.

1. General: For an in-depth general article about various roof systems, see this page at the Whole Building Design Guide site, which is maintained by the National Institute of Building Sciences.

2. Building Codes: “R905.3 Clay and Concrete Tile” from the 2021 International Residential Code and “1507.3 Clay and Concrete Tile” from the 2018 International Building Code. Both available at the UpCodes website.

3. Historic RoofingHistoric and Obsolete Roofing Tile – Preserving the History of Roofing Tiles by Vincent H. Hobson and Melvin Mann. “The only reference book ever compiled addressing the identification of old, historic and obsolete roofing tiles.”

4. Historic Roofing: Not a bad read, even if the article is old…”A Brief History of Roofing Tile Manufacture and Use“, from the website of the National Building Arts Center.

5. Historic Roofing: For a description of the clay tile manufacturing process from 1911, see “Mound City Roofing Tile” on the website of the National Building Arts Center.

6. Inspection of Tile Roofs: “Mastering Roof Inspections: Tile Roofs, Part 1” at the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors’ website is worth taking a look at. This tile roof inspection guide has five more parts, which can be accessed from this page.

7. Safety: See this material safety data sheet for health and safety information about clay roof tile at the Boral website. This is only an example and other products and brands may be different.

8. TechnicalTile roof installation guides, with construction details that show what’s going on in a tile roof system, are available at the Tile Roofing Industry Alliance’s website.

9. Technical: “The Preservation and Repair of Historic Clay Tile Roofs” is a comprehensive resource available on the US National Park Service’s Technical Preservation Services website.

10. Technical: See this product data page for the technical characteristics of clay roof tile at the MCA Clay Roof Tile website. This is only an example and other products and brands may be different.