Clay and Concrete Shingles

Tile roofing is made of either clay or concrete. Along with the traditional barrel-shaped tile associated with Spanish-mission and West Coast architecture, you'll also find tile that looks like slate or hand-split wood shakes. Climate caveats. Tile is associated with warm, sunny climates, but it can be used in colder areas if you choose the proper material. In general, tile is porous and will absorb water, but some are more porous than others. The lower the porosity, the less likely the tile will be damaged during freeze/thaw cycles found in cold climates. Clay tile has a porosity of 2 to 10 percent; concrete tile ranges from 3 to 20 percent. If you live in a cold climate, look for the lowest porosity available. And make sure the manufacturer will honor the warranty in your locale. Cost. Clay tile is the high-end choice here. It's molded, fired and, in some cases, glazed. It comes with up to 75-year warranties and sells for $200 to $500 and up per installed square. Weight starts at about 600 lbs. per square, though most weigh more. Concrete tile is an extruded product that looks like clay from the ground, yet costs half as much (about $100 per square to start). A variation of concrete tile is fiber-cement. It's made of cement reinforced with either wood fibers or inorganic fibers for added strength. Though early formulations used asbestos, current products use safer substitutes. Fiber-cement tile costs a little more than concrete-about $200 per square. But at 260 to 580 lbs. per square, it is significantly lighter.
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