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The right roofing material adds personality to your home and increases curb appeal. Tile roofs have been used for 100s of years and continues to be one of the longest lasting, high quality roofing materials on the market.
The main point of roofing tiles and tile roofing systems, like any roofing material, is to keep the rain, wind and elements from coming into your property. They are traditionally made from locally available or recycled materials such as terracotta or slate. Modern roofing materials such as concrete, clay, and plastic are now sometimes used and some will have a waterproof glaze put on them. When it comes to the roof tiles themselves, they are hung from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. The tiles are typically hung in a parallel row, with each row overlapping the row below it to keep out any rainwater and to provide protection for the nails that hold the row below. There are also roof tiles that are used for special positions, especially where the planes of the several pitches meet called the ridge, hip and valley tiles. Therefore, this system should ensure a watertight seal while giving your property a beautifully classy look.
What is Tile Roofing?
Tile roofs are designed for long-term performance. Compared to other roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, tile roofing provides the longest track record over the century. Because modern engineering designs are intended to provide natural water shedding and ventilation features, it allows the roofing tiles to be the primary roof covering during the warm and cold weather. These modern designs also reduce the chances of ice damming that can be created after a snowstorm.
Colors in the tile roofing industry come from natural resources such as the color mixture of the clay used in clay tiles or from the iron oxide pigments in concrete tiles, both of which are extremely durable. However, a slight downfall that comes into play with tile roofing is that it experiences varying degrees of color softening after being exposed to a certain amount of elements over an extended period of time. However, the difference between other roofing tiles and roofing materials is that this color softening occurs to a lesser degree with clay. When it comes to clay roof tile manufacturers, they have a guarantee that their tiles won’t soften in color for at least 50 years.
Pros and Cons of Tile Roofing
The weight of a roofing tile is quite important because it provides superior durability and protection without the problems that other roofing materials may bring. With the architectural designs of homes today, they are now being built to hold and support the weight of a tile roof. However, many roofing manufacturers come up with synthetic slate that have developed a lightweight roofing tile in certain regions of the country that are good for new and replacement roofing projects. Tile is quickly becoming the re-roofing product of choice due not only to its durability, but also due to its ease of maintenance. Single tiles are much easier to repair than other roofing materials such as asphalt shingles. Clay and concrete roofing tiles are much more cost-effective compared to the other roofing tiles with a lifespan of 50 to 100 years with minimal maintenance needed.
Roofing systems in general require maintenance, and based on the climate that the homeowner is located, some roofing systems may require a lot more maintenance than others. The reason being that some roofing systems might have special issues that need addressing. However, under normal conditions, tile roofs have minimal maintenance. Their maintenance is mainly focused on the gutters, flashing and ventilation systems. While other roofing systems’ main focus is coating, painting, and sealing the roof’s surface, especially if your roofing system is part of a commercial roof.
Terracotta Roofing Tiles
Terracotta is found in southern Europe and has been historically used for sculptures and pottery as well as basic bricks and general construction. Terracotta roofing tiles are a very common roofing material that is used around the world. Terracotta tiles are available in its natural red-orange color and are sometimes glazed in order to provide a different color or finished look. The way that terracotta tiles are installed is that they are overlapped and interlocked as rows of tiles on the roof. They are also available in a range of different styles in order to blend in or compliment both modern and traditionally designed homes.
Terracotta roofing tiles are waterproof and fire resistant, which offers the home superior protection from the elements. The durability of a terracotta tiled roof also comes right down to how well it’s constructed and maintained. Regular maintenance will help prevent growth of lichen or moss and ensure that the tiles aren’t displaced or cracked, which in turn will ensure the ongoing strength of the roof. Terracotta tiles weigh quite a bit more than steel roofs, but are lighter than concrete tile roofs. Because the tiles have a history of being brittle, care must be taken when things like solar panels and solar predicament systems are installed on terracotta roofs.
Do terracotta roof tiles need sealing?
Terracotta tiles are made from clay, so when the tiny pores in the clay tile collect moisture from rainfall or the evening dew, the moisture then creates a thin layer of moisture that allows the tile to provide a natural air conditioning action during humid day and nights. Therefore, if you’re a homeowner that lives in a colder, wet climate, then it may be best to not leave your terracotta tiles uncoated or waterproofed.
There are a variety of advantages to sealing and waterproofing terracotta tiles. For one, doing so will increase the lifespan of the tiles. Moisture is clay’s worst enemy, and if clay roof tiles accumulate enough moisture within its pour without sufficiently drying out, the clay tile can become moldy and can eventually weaken and crumble over time. If you seal your terracotta roof tiles, it will help prevent the accumulation of the moisture, which will in turn increase the tiles’ lifespan. Having your terracotta tiles waterproof nature sealed will allow them to hold up better against heavier weather by preventing leaks and moisture buildup. This in turn helps to protect your home’s rafters and roofing frames and decks so that they can last longer.
Does moss & lichen damage terracotta roof tiles?
Moss, lichen and mold can build up on a terracotta roof, degrade the tiles and also restrict the water flow off the roof. The older the tiles are, the more brittle they become. A quality anti-fungal coating solution should be applied before any cleaning process is undertaken. This removes the unwanted moss, lichen and mold that has embedded into the tiles. Using a roof treatment is a better way to kill any kind of moss and lichens before a roof cleaning. When the anti-fungal treatment is applied, the tile surface should be high pressure cleaned using 3000 psi of water pressure.
Are terracotta roof tiles porous?
Tile roofs, just as any other roofing material, are exposed to all kinds of weather conditions. Even if tile roofs are designed to withstand wind, rain, snow, and sun, these are still factors that affect tiles in the long run. An issue that tile roofs have is that in about 25 years they start to look more porous, or develop tiny holes throughout its structure like a sponge. This usually happens when the rain slowly wears down the paint and the protective coating of the tile. With terracotta roof tiles, the tiles are made of a clay-based ceramic which easily becomes porous. However, the special glazing technology mentioned before fills in these pores and even when the glaze wears off after a few years, terracotta roof tiles will not return to their porous form.
What are the other different types of roof tiles?
Concrete tiles mimics the aesthetic appeal of clay and slate while also providing high levels of durability against the elements. They are one of the most popular tile types on the market and very cost effective when considering their performance levels. While the low-level maintenance makes concrete among one of the simplest tile materials to get , it must be noted that the roof structure will have to be ready to support the additional weight that comes with the installation of concrete tiles. In many cases, reinforced framing is going to be required to make sure that the structure can bear the load. Concrete roof tiles can be used on moderate to steep sloped roofs and also provide strong fire resistance.
As is the case with other metal roofs, metal tiles provide longevity, durability, and waterproofing while also providing a number of different style options as well. Metal roofing tiles can be made to look a lot like other roof tile materials including clay and slate. The metal is then given an acrylic coating that helps to protect the material further, while enhancing the look of the roof. Metal tiles are much thicker than asphalt shingles, but are still much lighter in weight than slate or concrete tiles, which makes them a sufficient alternative for homeowners that like the look of stone, but don’t want to strengthen their roof decks.
Ceramic (Clay) Tiles
Ceramic tiles have been a popular option for roofs around the country for a long time. Clay tiles are fireproof and fairly durable, requiring fewer repairs or replacements than asphalt roofs. Traditionally, clay roofs only came in one color, which was terracotta, and were used on spanish and southwestern style homes almost exclusively. Newer ceramic tile roofs, however, are available in a wide range of various colors, shapes, and sizes in order to ensure that the tiles complement a greater range of homes.
Bituminous tiles is a tile material for homeowners who want a lighter, more flexible tile that’s easier to install. Made of fiberglass or cellulose fiber that has been imprinted with bitumen, these flexible tiles are covered with granite or basalt chips on top. They’re hard wearing tiles that can give you some variation and texture for your roof. They’re installed using an adhesive, so no screws or fasteners are required, which makes them faster to install and less prone to leaks. Bituminous tiles are much thicker in appearance than asphalt roofing shingles, which can give your roof a more substantial look, as well as providing some additional texture and color variation at the same time.
The Polymer-sand tile is an alternative to ceramic tiles. It is created from a mixture of sand bonded together with polymers. These very stiff, durable tiles are produced in a mold. They can offer you the design and feel of a ceramic tile, but are much less susceptible to breakage. Which means that they require fewer repairs or replacements over the same lifetime as a ceramic tile. Like ceramic tiles, they're fire resistant, and are also lighter in weight than concrete or stone tiles. As more manufacturers begin to produce polymer-sand tiles, more options for looks and colors may begin to reach the market.Until then, they are more likely to be found in a terracotta color with the rounded shape more commonly associated with true clay tiles.
Copper roofs are well known for their longevity, lasting well over 100 years before needing a replacement. Formerly, copper roofs were produced from large sheets, which made insulation difficult and a specialized field. Copper tiles are more versatile now, allowing you to cover a greater number of roofs than you could with copper sheeting, while still providing the same durability and good looks. Like copper sheet roofs, copper tiles will darken and eventually develop a patina, which is caused by oxidation and gives copper that green rustic color, over the course of about 10 years. The biggest drawback is their expense, as well as how difficult the softer tiles can be to install for the roofing contractors who are not used to working with them. Copper tiles are much thinner than other metal tiles, however, which suggests that it’s unlikely you’ll have to reinforce your roof.
Composite tiles are a newer roofing tile in the industry. This is a multi-layered tile made from metal, acrylic, and stone granules on the highest layer. The texture and appearance of this tile is extremely popular and is in high demand from homeowners who want a more natural appearance for their roof, while maintaining the advantages of a metal roof. Composite tiles may look more like slate or clay tiles, which makes them popular amongst homeowners who want something a little different than your typical asphalt roof. Composite tiles are also lighter in weight than concrete or stone, which makes them a nice alternative for people who want a highly durable roof, but without the necessary reinforcements. As the popularity of this type of tile continues to grow, homeowners are more likely to find additional colors, styles, and roofing contractors who are capable of installing them.
Slate tiles are one of the oldest roofing tiles used in roofing history. It is also one of the longest lasting tiles on the market with some roofs lasting well over 100 years. Because no two slate tiles ever look exactly the same, it gives the roof a pleasing, natural variation of colors and textures that can add a lot to the curb appeal of the property. Slate tiles are a bit expensive and difficult to install, which is why many homeowners search for alternatives to maintain the quality of design, but without the added expense.It also may be necessary to take some time to search around for a roofing contractor who can work with slate tiles and install them properly. Slate tiles are very heavy, and require you to strengthen your roof with reinforcements before installation. However, the cost of a slate roof can be worth it because the look and texture of slate tiles are difficult to recreate using other methods, giving your home a unique, authentic, natural look.
Benefits of Roofing Tiles
Aside from the evident aesthetic and long lifespan of tile roofs, there are several other benefits from selecting tile roofs over a less expensive one. To start with, tile roofs perform better under harsh conditions compared to many other roofing materials. They resist damage caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other weather extremes better than most other options. Roof tiles are also fireproof, and almost all tiles carry a class A rating.
Tile roofing is a great insulator, which helps keep homes warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. Accessories for tile roofs are widely assorted, including bird stops, cloaked attic vents, hp starters, apexes, and multiple other options. Roof tile also has the unique ability of creating an accent or complement to the outside color or finish of any home or building. This in turn can be very appealing to prospective buyers. When combined with the range of designs and finishes, a tiled roof not only adds to the sweetness of a structure, but can increase its resale value.
Weighing Your Options
Drawbacks of Roofing Tiles
The most important drawback of tile roofs is its initial installation cost. When compared to asphalt shingles or even basic metal roofing, tile roofs can cost several times the maximum amount of asphalt to install. They are, however, similar in price to slate roofing, which is the only other roofing material that will last as long as or surpass the anticipated lifespan of tile. Additionally, tile roofs and slate roofs also aren't only heavy, but brittle. Not only might they require added structural reinforcement, but when a tile does break and need maintenance, it can be extremely difficult to fix since the individual tiles can break under the weight of a roofing contractor.
Should I seal my tile roof?
Re-sealing is the process of applying a water-proof coating to the surface of the tile in an attempt to keep rainwater off of the tile. Therefore, there are a couple of advantages to sealing roof tiles, but in our opinion they certainly do not outweigh the disadvantages.
When sealing roof tiles, it does prevent any water intrusions into the hairline cracks of the tiles where it could freeze and potentially crack the tile when it expands.
However, the disadvantage of sealing your roof tiles is that you will need to follow with a thorough cleaning using a pressure washer. When doing a pressure wash, the pressure strips the surface off many types of tiles and shortens the life expectancy of the tile. There is also a flood risk involved with pressure washing and of course the roofing contractor will need to walk all over the tiles, at least several times, increasing the chances of breaking the tiles.