In some parts of the country, a red clay tile roof can be seen on many homes and architecture. Clay tiles are one of the oldest roofing materials still in use today. Clay is heavy, durable, and lasts for more than 100 years when properly maintained.
Clay tiles can be found in several styles, shades, and colors. Depending on the tile weight and roof pitch, you may have a wide range of costs associated with the project.
The national average cost range for installing a clay tile roof is $20,000 to $40,000, with most people paying around $30,000 for a 2,000 sq.ft. terracotta clay tile roof installed in a French-style pattern. This project’s low cost is $16,000 for 2,000 sq.ft. of thin clay tile installed in a Mission-style pattern. The high cost is $60,000 for 2,000 sq.ft. of handmade Spanish-style tiles installed on a complex roof.
|Clay Tile Roof Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$30,000|
Clay tiles have a range of costs for the material and installation. The tile shape and thickness and the roof pitch and complexity impact the final cost. Clay tiles are also heavy, so you may have extra costs for reinforcements and installation if your roof is not designed to support them. The average costs for clay tiles are $5 to $15 a sq.ft. With installation, the average cost per square foot for a clay tile roof is $10 to $25.
|Roof Size||Average Costs (Installed)|
|800 sq.ft.||$8,000 - $20,000|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$10,000 - $25,000|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$15,000 - $37,500|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$20,000 - $50,000|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$25,000 - $62,500|
|3,000 sq.ft.||$30,000 - $75,000|
Most clay tiles today are made by a machine. They are extruded, shaped, and cut with limited human involvement. However, the first clay roof tiles were made by hand, and you can purchase handmade clay tiles today. These may be extruded by a machine and cut and finished by hand or shaped individually by hand. This makes the cost considerably more expensive than machine-made tiles.
|Type||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Machine-Made||$5 - $15|
|Handmade||$15 - $25|
The cost of machine-made clay tiles ranges from $5 to $15 a sq.ft. These are the most common clay roofing tiles. Machine-made tiles are less expensive to produce and the most uniform in size and shape. This makes them less expensive to purchase and easier and less expensive to install. Most clay tile types must interlock. This includes French, Spanish, and interlocking shingles. The tiles can be hard to lock if the tiles are not uniform, resulting in a more costly installation.
The cost of handmade clay roof tiles averages $15 to $25 a sq.ft. Handmade clay roof tiles are relatively uncommon. However, some companies still make these tiles using the same methods that first produced clay tiles centuries ago. Some are made by pressing the clay into molds by hand. Others drape the clay over forms and molds and then cut and shape. Some newer methods allow a machine to extrude and cut the clay while a person molds it into the final shape. Handmade tiles are generally more uneven in size and shape. This makes a more interesting roof, but it can also make it more costly to install.
Terracotta clay roof tiles are a subtype that may be found in machine-made and handmade styles. Terracotta refers to the clay type - a red clay with a high mineral content - and how the clay is formed and dried. Terracotta tiles are known as monocottura, meaning fired once. They are often allowed to dry in the sun first, hardening them. Terracotta tiles are typically red, but they also come in other shades, depending on the temperature the clay is fired to. Spanish-style tiles are nearly always terracotta, limiting the available colors.
The cost to install a clay tile roof averages $5 to $10 a sq.ft. in labor costs. Many things impact the cost of labor for a clay roof. This includes the roof pitch and complexity. Very steep roofs and roofs with dormers, valleys, and protrusions are more difficult to roof and cost more. If the pitch of your roof is less than 18 degrees from summit to gutter, water may collect rather than run off. If this happens, it can add too much weight to your roof.
The tile thickness can also impact costs. Thinner tiles are lighter and easier to work with, but they can be more fragile. Heavier tiles are more durable but take longer to install and may require you to reinforce the roof. In this case, expect to pay an additional $3 to $5 a sq.ft.
Finally, the tiles can impact the final cost of the installation. Most tiles interlock, but some overlap. Overlapping tiles are nailed down, while interlocking tiles fit together. Depending on how the tile was made and how even the tiles are, some interlocking tiles can be time-consuming to fasten properly, increasing costs.
Four clay roof styles are used today. Three are interlocking styles, and one is overlapping. Material costs do not vary tremendously based on the style, but there are some variations for tile thickness. Thinner tiles are less expensive than thicker tiles. Installation style can impact the total cost because overlapping tiles must be nailed down while interlocking tiles fit together. Two tile types - mission and Spanish - also require eave 1 closures, increasing the installation cost. Below are the average costs to install each type of tile roof.
|Style||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Mission||$9 - $11|
|Interlocking Shingle||$10 - $15|
|French||$10 - $18|
|Spanish||$12 - $25|
The cost of mission-style clay roof tiles is $9 to $11 a sq.ft. installed. Mission-style tiles are similar to the Spanish style and have similar roots. Mission-style originated in the U.S. during the late 1700s around Spanish colonies. These tend to be thinner overlapping tiles. They do not have a “lip,” so they have a cover and a pan. They are nailed directly to the roof.
The cost of interlocking shingle 2 clay tiles averages $10 to $15 a sq.ft. installed. These tiles have a flat and square appearance. They closely resemble other types of tiles or shingles in other materials than other clay tiles. They have the most contemporary appearance with a minimal appearance. They are lighter than most other clay tile types. They work best in dry climates because they are not channeled like French or Spanish tiles to help the roof drain.
The cost of a French-tile roof ranges from $10 to $18 a sq.ft. installed. French tiles interlock on all four sides. They are grooved to allow water to drain more effectively. They are the least common style installed on residential homes and more commonly found on commercial buildings. They are most effective in rainy climates because they have natural closures with interlocking sides. These are also some of the heaviest and most fragile clay tiles.
The cost of Spanish-style roof tiles is $12 to $25 a sq.ft. installed. Spanish-style clay roofs are some of the most common in the South and Southwest. They have a curved appearance similar to the Mission-style but interlock rather than overlap. They have channels between each tile to help the roof drain. They are available in very limited colors. The installation is the most complex of the four kinds, making them the most expensive.
Clay tile roofs are durable and can last for 100 years or more if properly maintained. However, they require a lot of upkeep and maintenance to reach this lifespan. They need the same care as shingle roofs, including yearly inspections, algae removal, and cleaning your gutters. Unlike shingle roofs, you can use a gentle pressure washer to keep the roof clean.
Periodically, the tiles should be removed so that the felt layer can be replaced. Then, the tiles can be reinstalled. This costs around $5 to $10 a sq.ft. This means clay tiles have some of the highest ongoing costs of roofing types.
Clay tile roofs are one of the more energy-efficient roofing types. This is one reason why they are frequently installed in warmer climates like the South and Southwest. Clay tiles are naturally thermal-resistant. They prevent heat from transferring to your attic, where it can become superheated. This means your air conditioner does not need to work as hard to cool the home.
Each tile also has a natural thermal barrier from the way they are installed. This air barrier creates even more thermal resistance for the roof.
This translates into a 70% reduction in thermal transfer to the room below compared to asphalt shingles.
Clay tile roofs are beautiful, energy-efficient, and long-lasting. When cared for properly, they can last 50 to 100 years. They work well in hot climates, with most also working well in rainy areas. This makes an ideal roof for many homes in places like Florida with heavy rainfall and hot temperatures.
Clay tiles can be fragile, however. Walking on the roof to install a satellite dish can damage them. They also have expensive upkeep costs because the underlayment must be replaced periodically. The material and installation are also extremely expensive, making this one of the more costly roofing styles.
An alternative to clay tiles is concrete. Concrete tiles are often found in many of the same styles and colors as clay tiles. They are often lighter, more durable, and easier to install than clay. Concrete tiles often have higher maintenance costs than clay tiles, meaning that while they are slightly less expensive to install, they have higher ongoing costs. Concrete becomes brittle, meaning it can crack more easily than clay. Therefore, you need to replace more of the concrete tiles and remove them to replace the underlayment 3. Concrete can also require more cleaning over time, translating to higher overall upkeep costs.
Both types are often found in similar areas. The biggest difference is that concrete tiles are available in more styles, including flat tiles that mimic other styles better than clay.
Overall upfront costs are similar, but concrete can be less costly on some projects than clay.
|Style||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Concrete||$20,000 - $35,000|
|Clay||$20,000 - $40,000|
One of the most common roofing types available is the shingle roof. Shingles come in many materials, including slate, wood shakes, and asphalt. Of these, asphalt is the most common and lowest in cost.
Clay tiles are often used in the South and Southwest and are much less common in other parts of the country. This is because they offer more benefits in hot climates than shingles, despite their higher costs.
Asphalt shingles have a much lower lifespan than clay tiles. Clay tiles can easily last 50 to 100 years without issue. Asphalt shingles can last 20 to 30 years if well maintained, with some architectural shingles having an average lifespan of 50 years. However, while clay tiles have many ongoing costs for their maintenance, shingles have lower total costs once installed.
Below is the average cost to install both materials on the average roof.
|Style||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Shingles||$5,250 - $15,250|
|Clay||$20,000 - $40,000|
If you live in an area prone to algae, your clay roof is susceptible. Have your roof cleaned periodically. This can be done using a low-power pressure washer and costs $0.30 to $0.75 a sq.ft.
Clay roof tiles weigh 600 to 650 pounds per 100 sq.ft. This is roughly twice the weight of an asphalt roof.
The minimum roof pitch for clay tiles is 18 degrees. This is from the weight and water runoff.
The average life expectancy of a clay roof is 50 to 100 years, provided it is properly maintained.
Tile roofs are expensive and difficult to install. They also weigh considerably more than asphalt roofs, meaning you might need to reinforce your roof to hold the weight.