Choosing the suitable roofing material for your next project has become dramatically easier in recent years, thanks to continuous roofing technology advancements. Despite this, the thought of settling on the wrong material can be daunting at best. However, if your priorities are style and durability, then concrete roof tiles are the material that you need.
Concrete roof tiles have been utilized for decades to substitute more traditional materials, such as clay and slate. It dates as far back as the Roman Empire, where they recognize it as remarkably durable and highly versatile. Even today, it is still considered one of the most popular roofing materials in the construction industry.
If you require replacing your home roof or installing a new one, concrete is a viable option for many reasons. However, as with any construction material, it still has its limitations and drawbacks.
Below are the primary pros and cons to consider. But first, allow us to tell you more about concrete roof tiles.
What are concrete roof tiles?
Concrete tiles are a cheaper but equally durable alternative to terracotta roofing tiles. They can mimic the appearance of other common materials such as wooden shingles, slate, and stone, making concrete a cost-effective substitute to these materials. Despite initially being an alternative, concrete often surpasses its predecessor in terms of durability and versatility.
In its early years, making concrete tiles was time-consuming and involved mixing concrete with water before pouring it into wooden or metal molds to harden. Today, they use a mixture of sand, Portland cement, and water under heat and high pressure in manufacturing.
Property owners choose concrete roof tiles for their durability and various style, where some recognize their ability to mimic old-world charm. Concrete tiles can also minimize external noise and ensure safety because they are made from organic materials and resistant to wind and fire. They also help stabilize heat by reflecting sunlight, and similarly, in cold climates, concrete tiles help insulate heat inside, which lessens heating expenses.
Pros of concrete roof tiles
Not only are concrete roof tiles extremely durable, but they are also dependable, sustainable, and can withstand even the most formidable forces of nature. Here are some significant weather-resistant characteristics of concrete tiles:
Overall, if you need exceptional protection from extreme weather, concrete tile is among the most suitable roofing materials you can buy.
The life expectancy of the roof will all depend on the materials used. Studies show that a concrete roof far exceeds any roofing material, with just one roof replacement needed within 75 years. That means that concrete tiles can outlast an asphalt shingle roof 3-4 times. They also get sturdier as they age, enabling concrete tiles to outperform other roofing materials when it comes to long-lasting durability,
With that in mind, roof tiles, in general, need to be appropriately maintained and handled with care. Depending on the property’s location and handling, tile roofing can become brittle and vulnerable if mishandled.
Style and Versatility
When it comes to roofing options, no material is more flexible than concrete. It can resemble its more expensive counterparts, such as slate and clay roofing tile and can even simulate the look of cedar shakes.
Concrete roof tile classifies into three profiles, namely:
With minimal depth, flat tile delivers a traditional look that can suit just about any property. On the other hand, medium tiles invoke Mediterranean architecture, and high profile tiles, or high barrels, capture the beauty of terracotta tiles found on old Spanish properties.
Alongside the tile profiles, concrete tiles also come in various colors to better match your needs. For instance, brown and copper shades easily mimic clay tiles, or you can opt for a more soft, pastel color or stand out with a multi-color blend.
Concrete roof tile is ahead of its game when it comes to sustainability and insulation. It has become a prime example of green initiatives through its recyclability and inherent energy efficiency properties. It is also composed of all-natural ingredients such as water, sand, cement, and iron oxide pigments, allowing manufacturers to reintroduce recycled content into the production of their tiles.
The production process and physical properties of concrete tiles enable it to be one of the most energy-efficient roofing systems on the market. Its fundamental organic properties allow the tiles to reflect sunlight and release heat instead of absorbing it and releasing it throughout the structure. Concrete tiles also have thermally insulative properties, resulting in 10 to 30 percent energy savings annually.
Cons of concrete roof tiles
Concrete tiles are more expensive than roof shingles or other roofing materials that will need an occasional replacement throughout their lifetime.
However, of the more durable roofing materials, concrete tiles are cheaper than clay and slate. For example, the expense of installing concrete tiles on a roof 2,000 square foot property will cost around $7,000 and $9,000. Its higher price range also stems from its very tedious installation process. Concrete tiles can be tricky to install on your own, so it is essential to have their property installed by hiring a professional roofer.
Concrete roof tiles weigh around 820 to 1,200 pounds per 100 square feet, and their substantial weight requires more reinforcement on your roof structure than other roof materials. Although many brands offer lightweight options, they can still weigh up to 600 pounds per 100 square feet, considerably heavier than traditional roof shingles.
Concrete tiles can withstand the sun’s harmful rays, but their pigmented color is vulnerable to harsh UV rays. Color fading isn’t an issue for some as long as it continues to serve as a formidable barrier against other harmful elements. However, if you choose to resolve your roof’s inconsistent tile color, you may, of course, hire an expert to paint your roof now and then.
Regular roof inspection and maintenance are critical in preserving and prolonging your roof’s lifespan. While other roofing materials only require thorough inspections, concrete roof tiles may require more extensive routine maintenance to maintain their durability and appearance. With that in mind, you also need to consider installing a sturdy roof hatch so that you can easily access your roofing system during an inspection, like aluminum roof hatches.
It is more prone to mold and mildew, which grows between the tiles, especially in wet-climate areas. Therefore, owners must wash their concrete roofs with a high-pressure washer at least once a year.
Another thing to consider is the roofing underlayment because, unlike your tiles, it can only last for about 20 years. The process of replacing the underlayment includes removing the concrete tiles, replacing the underlayment, and reinstalling the tiles. This tedious task is not only time-consuming; it may also leave a massive dent in your wallet. The chore of replacing the underlayment of a 1,500 ft. two concrete tile roof costs about $5,400 to $7,660, including labor.
The pros of installing concrete roof tiles still outweigh the cons. It makes sense that many property owners and contractors choose concrete over other roofing materials. It is remarkably durable, sustainable, and even aesthetically pleasing, assuring you that concrete roof tiles will give your property the protection it needs in the years to come.
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Chris Jackson is an experienced Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the construction industry. He is currently employed by Best Access Doors, an access door supplier in the US and Canada, and has been working for the company for more than 12 years now. His area of expertise is on Negotiation, Roofers, Sales, Project Estimation, and Facility Management (FM)
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