Tile roof in a sunny environment

Clay Tiles vs. Concrete Tiles in Commercial Roofing

As you plan your commercial roofing project, your decisions can have long term consequences. Tile roofs can be a great option, especially here under the Phoenix sun. Whether you’re considering clay roofing tiles or concrete roofing tiles, SUNVEK has pros and cons for each option so you can make the right choice for your commercial building. 


The way roofing tiles hold their color can impact your roof’s aesthetic. Weather events can require individual tile replacement and the more your tiles have faded in the sun, the more obvious those replacements will look. 

Clay: Retain color well!  If the clay color is not a natural tint, dyes will be added to the clay so the color is fully blended. 

Concrete: Can be color-through, meaning the concrete is tinted prior to molding the tile.  Less costly tiles will be painted, and these will fade.


While both clay and concrete roofing tiles are effective, they are also heavy. Whatever option you choose, you’ll want to ensure that your commercial structure can support the weight of the tiles. Before you invest in tile roofing, have an engineer assess your structural load capacity. 

Look at a 10 x 10 foot section: 

Clay: 800 – 1000 lbs *mortar set can add another 200 lbs

Concrete: 900 – 1.100 lbs


Determining the typical cost of your tiles helps you budget your roof replacement. (Keep in mind that many other factors can contribute to a roof’s overall cost.)

Clay: Average $7-$12 per ft2

Concrete: Average $7-$9 per ft2

*Specialty clay and concrete tiles will be more


Which option is more durable? Just one broken roofing tile can cause damage to the underlayment, positioned right underneath. If that becomes damaged, water can get in and ultimately cause costly roof damage.

Clay: Tends to be more brittle and prone to breakage

Concrete: More prone to have corners chip or break


While various elements can cause a much-needed roof replacement, it’s important to know how long roofing tiles are expected to last

Clay: If walked on correctly, these tiles have an average lifespan of 50-60+ years.

Concrete: These tiles can last 50-60 years. 

The Synopsis

Clay Roofing Tiles

  • Fades less
  • Weighs less
  • Lasts longer


  • Costs more
  • Lets more water underneath

Concrete Roofing Tiles

  • Less costly
  • Stronger


  • More likely to fade
  • Heavier
  • Doesn’t last as long

One thing they both have in common? Both commercial and clay roofing tiles look great, and can protect your commercial building for years to come. Either can be a consideration in adding to the attractiveness of your property.

Ready to Roof? 

When you’re ready for your commercial roofing endeavor, SUNVEK is here as your roofing tile experts. We’ve been at this since 1984, and know how to get the job done right. Click here to schedule a free Arizona roofing check online.

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