Clay Roof Tiles: The Pros and Cons

When you’re picking your roof’s shingles, sometimes it’s overwhelming picking one material out of all the options out there. As mentioned in one of our earlier blogs, asphalt is the most popular roofing material in America. We’ve also talked about some of the benefits that metal shingles can provide homeowners.

Among roofing materials’ heavyweights, there’s a mainstay that’s been around for centuries – clay roof tiles. Terracotta clay shingles are known for their striking, red appearance. That, and a number of other advantages, have made them a favorite among designers and homeowners alike.

However, there’s no such thing as a perfect roof. Clay tiles come with their own drawbacks as well. If you’re interested in what good a clay roof can do for you and your home, read on:


Clay roofs offer their homeowners superior durability. Need proof? Well, if you check out Greek historical monuments’ roofs, you’ll find that many of their clay shingles are still intact. That’s right – still going strong hundreds of years later.

In addition, clay tiles – like metal roof tiles – are both impact-resistant and wind-resistant. Due to their layered, heavyweight structure, clay shingles can withstand winds up to 200 mph. That’s stronger than some F-3 tornadoes’ wind speeds.

As far as impact resistance goes, clay tiles get a Class 4 rating (the highest). For context, these shingles can take hits from 2-inch-thick hailstones. That’s golf ball-sized hail! It’s no wonder clay tiles’ average life expectancy ranges anywhere from 50 to 100 years.

Environmentally Friendly

Clay comes from naturally occurring compounds and materials. Due to their natural materials, clay tile production emits way less harmful chemicals into the environment. Also, like metal roof tiles, clay shingles can be recycled once they’re used up. Asphalt shingles’ tear-off waste can not be recycled and only add to the growing roofing waste problem.

Clay roof tiles help keep homes cool. For this reason, they’re the go-to roofing material for houses in warmer, tropical climates. Clay shingles and their high solar reflectance can curb moisture buildup under the roof. As mentioned in one of our earlier blogs, roofs that trap excess heat can speed up moisture buildup and cause water damage.


Due to clay tiles’ durability, they don’t need much as far as maintenance goes. If they’re professionally installed, you won’t need to do much after that. They often don’t need to be power-washed or recoated. Also, if your clay shingle splits or cracks, you can replace an individual shingle. In contrast, if it were an asphalt shingle, that whole section would need to be redone. 

Despite all the benefits of clay roof tiles, there are a few drawbacks.


Clay shingles’ weight plays into a lot of their benefits. However, their weight can present homeowners with many challenges as well. According to Roof Hippie, clay roofs can weigh anywhere between 788 to 1,780 lbs. per square. That’s easily double the weight of an asphalt roof. Thus, if you’re looking to make the switch from asphalt shingles to clay ones for your roof, you’ll probably need an inspection to find out whether your roof needs restructuring or not.


It’s no secret that clay tiles are pricey. They’re easily one of the most expensive roofing materials on the market. According to Roofing Calculator, clay tiles can cost close to $1,000 per square. That’s around $20,000 for an average-sized roof – well over double the price of what an asphalt roof would cost.

DIY Proof

Clay tiles are difficult to install. For this reason, we recommend that homeowners with clay roofs seek the help of licensed roofers whenever they need something fixed. A clay roof’s effectiveness hinges on how well it was installed – maybe more so than other materials. 

If you’re considering getting clay tiles on your roof, book a free inspection with us now.

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