roofer installing red concrete roof tiles

What Every Snowbird Needs to Know About a Tile Roof

Many homeowners relocate — either for the winter or permanently — to the Valley from colder climes. They may be used to roofing options more typical for Northern states, like asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, standing-seam metal roofs, or even slate roof tiles.

While you do see roofs with these types of materials in the Phoenix metro area, tile is a common material installed on pitched roofs. Learn more about this roof material.

What Is a Tile Roof?

A tile roof consists of tiles installed over some type of waterproofing underlayment. Unlike a shingle roof, which typically will hold up perhaps 20–25 years, clay and concrete tile is intended to last for many decades (even centuries). In fact, tile is even fire-resistant. Be careful, however. You usually cannot walk on your roof to inspect it as you might with other types of roof systems. Tiles are particular and need stepping on in just the right way to avoid damage.

How Long Do Tile Roofs Last?

Tile roofs have been used for centuries throughout Europe and Asia and can last for hundreds of years. Here, in Arizona, you can reasonably expect the tiles on your roof to last from 50 to 100 years, giving you a great return on your investment.

Is a Tile Roof Easy to Repair?

The Valley may not usually get snow, but it does have monsoon season. Both clay and concrete tiles are weather-resistant, but if you notice broken tiles or water dripping into your home after a storm, call a professional to assess the situation. Many roofers offer free estimates on roofing repairs.

Repairing tile roofs is more complex than fixing a roof with asphalt shingles. Due to the nature of the tiles and the manner in which they are installed, it may take more effort to locate the source of the leak.

Do Different Styles of Tiles Exist?

Roofing tiles are available in concrete, clay, and sandcast. Concrete and clay are generally pre-formed, while sandcast is typically hand-made and sun-dried. Concrete tile are permitted to cure in a climate-controlled environment, and clay tile typically are kiln-cured. The curing process for both concrete and clay tile results in a durable and water-resistant final product. While tile is produced in a variety of shapes and sizes, three main shapes (or profiles) popular in Arizona are:

  • Flat. Flat clay roofing tiles are similar in size and shape to cedar shakes. They are installed in an overlapping manner to both protect the roof decking below and to create a pleasing design. They are sometimes referred as slab tiles, book tiles, or French tiles. Flat tile is available in both clay and concrete.
  • Barrel. Sometimes called pan or Mission tiles, this tile is rounded, like a cylinder (or a barrel) cut in half. When installed, one tile faces up and the next faces down so that they interlock and create an undulating surface on your roof that is pleasing to the eye. This profile is available in both a clay and sandcast tile.
  • S-tiles. A variation of the barrel tile, an S-tile is in the shape of a wave (sideways “S”). It recreates the look of barrel tiles. This profile is available in both clay and concrete.

If you’re unsure which tile product best suits your roof and budget, speak with a roofing professional.

Is an Asphalt Shingle Roof Replaceable With a Tile Roof?

Tile roofs weigh considerably more than asphalt shingle roofs (generally about 7 1/2 pounds more per square foot). Depending on how a home is constructed, additional support may be needed to adjust for the extra weight of tile. An engineer is generally involved in making the assessment of the load-bearing capacity of a roof structure. “Light-weight” tile are available to accommodate some roof structures.

Living in the Valley has its own learning curve. Heat, dust, and scorpions can all be a little hard to adjust to, but SUNVEK is here to help you with all your roofing needs. SUNVEK installs, maintains, and repairs all types of roofs. We provide courtesy estimates on roof tear offs and replacements. Call us today to learn more about our services and products or to ask any questions.

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