Clay Roof Tile

How to Tell the Difference Between Clay and Concrete Roof Tiles

If you own a home or business in Florida, you know the importance of strong, well-constructed roofing systems. Options include Spanish tiles (made with clay), asphalt shingle roofs, concrete tiles, metal and more. In Northeast Florida, the choice commonly comes down to concrete or clay roof tiles. Although similar, they differ in significant ways. Below, we’ll discuss those differences and the benefits of each.

Have questions about your roof? Need more information about clay or concrete roofing systems? Call Elite Remodeling Services, a licensed and insured roofing contractor in northeast Florida, at (904) 657-8383.

Moisture Absorption

Concrete Roofing Tiles

Whether you live in St. Augustine, Palm Coast, or Flagler Beach, your home will face water and moisture. Concrete tiles absorb water at a rate of about 13%. Moisture absorption can result in mildew and water stains on your roof, and staining changes the long-term appearance of your home. But the impact goes beyond looks.

Moisture absorption results in more weight. Added weight puts more pressure on the overall structure of your roof, resulting in more long-term maintenance. Your contractor can prevent these issues by applying a high-quality finish to the tiles.

If you choose clay roof tiles, moisture absorption won’t impact your roof as much. With an absorption rate of only 6%, clay tiles minimize issues caused by water and moisture. Less moisture absorption increases the life of your roof.


When you consider the cost of a new roof, you should look at the initial cost and the long-term cost to maintain a roof. Although concrete tiles cost roughly 20% less upfront, they have higher maintenance costs over the roof’s life. Clay roofing, such as terracotta tiles, will cost more upfront. However, they have lower maintenance costs and can increase the value of your home.

Tile Weight

Concrete tiles weigh about 40% more than clay tiles. When considering a concrete roof, you need to ensure your home can handle the extra weight. The roof structure may need reinforcement to support the weight of concrete tiles.

Tile Durability

House With Clay Roof

Both clay and concrete tiles have higher durability than other roofing materials. Concrete tiles last between 30 and 50 years. You can expect an even longer life for clay tiles, considering terracotta roofs can last as long as 100 years. The longevity of clay tiles contributes to increased home value.

Long-Term Appearance

Roofing plays a significant role in your home’s appearance. If you want more roofing color options, concrete tiles are the way to go. Manufacturers can produce concrete tiles in more shapes and colors than they can with clay tiles. Depending on the color and design of your home, concrete may give you the variety you want when choosing a roof.

However, the porous make-up of concrete tiles causes them to change more in appearance over time — high porosity results in concrete tiles absorbing stains. Also, harsh weather conditions fade the manufactured color of these tiles.

Clay tiles, however, hold their natural color significantly longer. So, although clay tiles have limited design options, their natural coloring keeps your roof looking newer longer.

Energy Consumption

The materials used to build your home impact your energy use. Generally, clay tiles provide the extra airflow needed to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

However, clay tiles consume more energy during production. Concrete tile production consumes 30% less energy than clay tile production. Also, concrete tiles create less than half of the greenhouse gases generated by clay tiles.

Extreme Weather Impact

Contractors typically recommend concrete tiles in colder climates because of their ability to withstand the freezing and thawing process. Clay tiles, however, crack or shatter when exposed to sub-zero temperatures. However, for a homeowner living in northeast Florida, freezing temperatures play a minimal role in choosing roofing materials.

Concrete and clay roof tiles have many similarities and differences. Once you determine your budget and long-term plans as a homeowner, you’ll be ready to choose between the two. For roof repairs and replacement, work with a licensed and insured roofing contractor like us. Call Elite Remodeling Services in northeast Florida at (904) 657-8383.

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