Ceramic Tile Shingles

Published: Oct. 9, 2018
ceramic tile roof

Ceramic tile shingles or clay shingles are produced using a series of specialized processes. The clay is ground and milled to achieve a consistency and homogeneity in particle size. Additives like water and sand are then mixed with the clay. The shaping process consists of custom-designed molds that are filled with the clay mixture to form clay tile shingles in different shapes and sizes. The shingles are then dried in a dryer. Once dried, the shingles are fired at a high temperature in a kiln. The high temperature is essential to establish the required durability and fire-resistance associated with roofing products. The shingles are then packaged and sent out for delivery.

History of Ceramic Tile Shingles

Mosaic tiles have been used in Spain for hundreds of years. In modern North American history, Spanish style roofing earned its reputation among contemporary builders starting in Florida. Ceramic roof tiles were installed in an overlying pattern to create water channels and provide an aesthetic appeal that stood out from flat and dark asphalt shingles.

Underlayment and structural enhancements were made to the ceramic shingles over time to improve their durability and performance. Ceramic and concrete are dyed to provide varied color options.

Advantages of Ceramic Tile Shingles

  • Aesthetic Appeal:

Ceramic tile shingles come in a wide variety of colors. They can also be glazed or unglazed. Their shapes include flat, interlocking and fluted tiles.

  • Increased Durability:

With the use of ceramic tile shingles, roofs can endure harsh weather temperatures with ease.

  • Good Insulation:

Because air can circulate under ceramic tile shingles, ceramic tile roofs help keep temperatures warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

  • Guarantees:

Ceramic tile shingles are durable and enhance the longevity of a property’s roof. Ceramic tile shingles usually come with a guarantee of at least 50 years and can even last up to 100 years.

  • Increase in Property Value:

Ceramic tile roofs provide an attractive finish and their ability to withstand harsh temperatures is enough to impress prospective buyers. Ceramic tile shingles may also increase the price of a property when it’s time to be sold.

  • Water, Frost and Fire Resistant

Since ceramic tile shingles are made from clay, they do not absorb water. Ceramic tile shingles can also be glazed giving them added durability and making them fire resistant.

  • Environmental Impact:

Ceramic tile roofs have the lowest life-cycle costs. They have no chemical preservatives and all waste can be recycled.

Disadvantages Of Ceramic Tile Shingles

  • Installation Considerations

Ceramic tile shingle roofs need to be installed by experienced roofing contractors. The process of installing clay tile shingles involves selecting the right underlayment and measuring the roof precisely prior to purchasing the supplies. The tiles also need to be installed in a specific pattern to prevent leakage and damage.

  • Maintenance:

The underlying material in ceramic tile roofs requires maintenance and may need to be replaced every eight to 20 years. This process requires professional expertise.

  • Costs:

A clay tile roof can cost up to double the price of an asphalt roof. An average clay tile roof can cost anywhere between $675 to $1400 per square for 100 SF of roof area. Replacing the underlayment is also an additional cost.

  • Unglazed Tile Issues:

Not all ceramic tile shingles are glazed. Unglazed tiles have the tendency to absorb water which can be a cause of mold and moss growth in the long run.

  • Weight and Fragility:

Ceramic tile shingles can be heavy to the point where additional roofing support may be required prior to installation. Clay tile shingles are fragile and can be damaged when walked upon. Extra care is required during the maintenance process. Both factors add to maintenance and replacement costs.

  • Not Suitable for all Roofs:

Clay tile shingles are not suitable for all roof slopes and work well for roofs that have relatively sharp slopes. They are not recommended for roofs that have pitches less than 4:12.

Alternatives to Ceramic Tile Shingles

Fiber Cement Slate

Fiber cement slate tiles are lightweight, very durable and easy to install. They are also an affordable alternative to ceramic tile shingles and are 100% recyclable.

Tile-Look Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles that look like ceramic or clay tiles are a good alternative to ceramic tiles. They are affordable and also durable.

Stone-Coated Steel Roof

Panels of stone-coated steel roofs include shake, tile and shingles. Stone-coated steel roofs add curb appeal to any property. They come in a variety of styles and can offer the premium ceramic look.

Concrete Roofing

Concrete roofing consists of concrete that is cast into clay tile shapes. Concrete roofs are resistant to fire, mold, insects and water damage.


A ceramic tile roof system provides two layers of protection. The tile prevents protection from water and the underlayment works as a shield and protects the roof in the event of a bad hailstorm. Ceramic tile roofs can resist damage from hailstones that are as large as 2”. Clay tiles have been tested according to the FM 4473 standard for hail resistance ratings.

Ceramic tile shingles also come with a Class A fire rating and are designed to meet 150 mph wind speeds.

Solar Reflectance

Independent testing carried out at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has proved that tile roofs have the tendency to reduce the transfer of heat compared to other roofing alternatives like asphalt shingles by up to 70%.


On average, ceramic tile roofs can cost anywhere between $675 to $1400 per square for 100 square feet of roof area.