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clay tile roofs in Florida

Clay Tile Roofs Pros and Cons

Tile roofs are an extremely popular luxury roofing material in Tampa Bay. But more than just choosing between Spanish style or French style, you also need to choose between the two types of tile roof: clay and concrete. We already did a deep dive into concrete tiles, so now it’s time to show you what you can expect from clay tile roofs in Tampa Bay.

At Classic Roofing and Construction, we’ve been installing and repairing clay tile roofs in Florida for over 20 years. And while we know that there’s no such thing as a “best” roofing material, clay roofing tiles have a lot to offer local homeowners. But let’s start off by talking about what a clay roofing tile is, exactly.

What Are Clay Roof Tiles?

What Are Clay Roof Tiles

Clay roofing tiles have been in use since roughly 10,000 B.C. in China, but they also pop up throughout history across the globe. And this roofing material has stayed popular across eras and cultures because it efficiently keeps structures safe and dry. But how does it work, exactly?

With a clay tile roofing system, natural clay is molded into rectangular or rounded roofing tiles. These tiles then come together to create a barrier over your structure that allows water to run off the sides rather than into your home.


This is how the clay tile roofs of antiquity worked, but modern tile roofs have built-in reinforcement. These include the wooden decking of your structure which supports it and acts as an additional barrier, and it also includes a water-resistant underlayment to further water-proof your home.

The end result is a robust roofing system that can protect your home from both the heat and the elements. Now, let’s take a look at the advantages that a clay tile roof can offer you.

Pros of Clay Tile Roofs

There’s a reason that clay roofing tiles have stayed popular for thousands of years: they work. Clay roofing systems offer protection that is both long-lasting and comprehensive. But to give you the full picture, let’s talk about some of their biggest features individually.

Unmatched Longevity

Of any roofing material, clay tiles last the longest. Where asphalt shingles rarely last longer than 25 years, a clay tile roof can last for a century or more. This makes it a great investment for homeowners who don’t want to be bothered by frequent repairs or multiple roof replacements over the years.

That said, individual tiles can break on occasion. But because they’re strong and durable, this rarely happens. And when it does happen, replacing broken clay roofing tiles is a simple, quick repair that shouldn’t cause any disruption to your schedule.

Perfect Protection for Tampa Bay

Perfect Protection for Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay regularly sees extreme weather events like tropical storms and hurricanes. But clay tile roofs are uniquely suited to stand up to our local weather patterns. This is because clay roofing tiles are:

  • Heavy and resistant to winds of up to 150mph, which is at the upper end of a category four hurricane’s wind speeds
  • Fire-resistant and have a Class A fire rating
  • Immune to rot and highly resistant to damage from insects and other pests
  • Resistant to impact damage from flying debris
  • Reflective of the sun’s rays, protecting your roof and cooling your home

All of these issues are serious roofing problems that Tampa Bay homes have to deal with. And thanks to their unique resiliency, clay tile roofs handle it all without showing any signs of damage.

Fantastic Curb Appeal

Clay tile roofs are experiencing a renaissance in Tampa Bay, and especially in Pinellas County. Clay roofing tiles create a luxurious aesthetic that can be perfectly tailored to your home based on the kind of tile that you choose. And with a variety of styles to choose from, you can customize your new roof to suit your tastes exactly.

But regardless of what type of clay roofing tile you pick, your home will certainly benefit from increased curb appeal. This can make a clay tile roof an excellent investment if you plan on one day selling your property.

Cons of Clay Tile Roofs

While clay tile roofs have many advantages, no roofing material is perfect. Every type of roofing will have certain drawbacks, and knowing these cons is essential to making an informed choice about your new roof. So let’s cover the downsides of clay tile roofs for Florida homes.

Luxury Roofing Means Luxury Costs

Clay tile roofs are among the most expensive roofing options in all of Tampa Bay. Not only are the tiles themselves expensive, but it also takes an experienced crew to install them, which can increase your labor costs.

It can be difficult to say how much a tile roof will cost without knowing the specific features of your roof or the tiles that you want. But in general, we’d advise budgeting at least $25,000 for a clay tile roof.

Clay Roofing Tiles Are Heavy

Part of what makes clay tile roofs so resistant to wind uplift is their weight. Specifically, clay roofing tiles weigh between 600 and 1,500 pounds per 100 square feet (also called a roofing square). But this heavy weight also means that not all structures can support a tile roof. In cases like this, your home’s wooden decking may need to be reinforced to support the weight of a tile roof.

But not every home needs alterations to support a tile roof. At Classic, we conduct in-person roof inspections to provide you with a free roofing estimate. So when we complete your inspection, we’ll also check to make sure that your home can support the weight of your new clay tile roof.

It’s Not the Most Water-Resistant

Clay tiles are not, by themselves, especially good at keeping water out of your home. But this isn’t a problem, because your home will have a water-resistant underlayment beneath the tiles to keep your home dry and protected. So what’s this doing on the cons list?

The con is that while your clay tiles can last for a century or more, the underlayment won’t last much longer than 20 years. This means that every 20 years, you will need to have the underlayment replaced. This is not nearly as expensive as having a clay tile roof replacement, but it will still cost several thousands of dollars, so it’s important to know that this expense will be waiting down the line.

Clay Tile Roofs – The Video

Start the Roof Replacement Process

Clay tile roofs have a lot of great features and benefits, but they’re not perfect. So whether or not a new clay tile roof is right for you is something that only you can decide. But if you do choose to go with a tile roof replacement, then you should choose Tampa Bay’s most trusted tile roofers.

At Classic, we have hundreds of reviews detailing how we help people with every step of the roof replacement process. And with 20 years of experience, we’ve worked on every type of roof across Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Lee Counties. So you can trust us to show up and do excellent work for you and your home. Give us a chance and see why after 20 years of service, we still do things the Classic way.

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