We may be compensated if you purchase through links on our website. Our Reviews Team is committed to delivering honest, objective, and independent reviews on home products and services.More
Red clay tile home with landscaping and large driveway on a sunny day.

A Guide to Clay Tile Roofs (2024 Guide)

Compare quotes from local roofing experts.

Invalid Zip Code

Join the 6,755 people who have received a free, no-obligation quote in the last 30 days

Default Author Icon Written by Angela Bunt Updated 06/19/2024

Homeowners who want stylish and durable roofing should consider clay tiles. They can last 100 years or more and are among the most durable and energy-efficient roofing materials available. Clay tiles are low maintenance and come in various colors, shapes, and designs to fit almost any architectural style. We’ll guide you through the history of clay tiles, the cost of installing a new roof, and available styles to help you decide whether this type of roofing is right for your home.

Get Your Roofing Project Quote Today
Compare quotes from local pros
Roof shingles with garret house on top of the house among a lot of trees. dark asphalt tiles on the roof background
Asphalt Shingle Roofing

The cost of asphalt shingle roof installation can range from $5,994–$9,791.

Man working on a flat roof
Roof Repair

Typically, the average cost of roof repair ranges between $379 and $1,755

House With a Metal Roof
Metal Roofing

A new metal roof costs an average of $9,150–$16,743.


What Are Clay Tile Roofs?

Clay tile roofs have been around for thousands of years and are typically made by filling tile molds that bake in extremely high temperatures in a kiln. Once made of slate, fired clay, or terra cotta, contemporary clay tile roofing is made from molded and tinted concrete. Clay roofing tiles come in many styles and shapes, such as curved, flat, fluted, and interlocking.


Clay tiles were first used in China in 10,000 B.C. during the Neolithic Age and expanded to Middle Eastern architecture not long after. Clay tile roofing then spread throughout Asia and Europe. It was commonly used by the Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans.

How Clay Tiles Are Made

Clay tiles are typically manufactured using a casting process and can be shaped by hand or by factory machines. Molds are filled with wet clay and then baked in a kiln until hardened. The three most common shapes are mission or barrel tiles, Spanish tiles, and flat tiles.

Pros and Cons of Clay Tile Roofs

Here are some arguments in favor of clay tile roofing and a few variables you should consider.

Clay tile roofs are fire-resistant and can withstand wind, hail, and extreme climates.
Clay tile roofs have superior insulating properties, helping keep your home comfortable and reducing energy bills.
Clay tile roofs last for more than 100 years.
Clay tiles and roof installation have a high upfront cost.
Clay tiles can break easily during installation.
Clay tiles are heavy, and your roof may require additional structural support.

Cost of Clay Tile Roofs

Clay tiles cost $3 to $7 per square foot for materials and $8 to $25 per square foot for installation. Additional factors that affect pricing are below.

  • Accessibility and permits: Roofs that are difficult to access can increase labor costs, as can roofing permits.
  • Professional installation: Professional labor by experienced roofers will add $5 to $18 per square foot.
  • Roof pitch and configuration: Roofs with a steep pitch or a complex configuration require specialized tools and more time to install.
  • Tile style and grade: The style and grade of the tiles affect the price of materials and installation, which increases labor costs.

*Cost data in this article was sourced from Angi.

Clay Tile Roof Styles

Clay tile roofs come in a number of styles and shapes.

Flat Tiles

Flat tiles lack barrels or rolls and can interlock or be double-thick to mimic the look of wood shakes. This style works best in regions with heavy rain or snow.

Interlocking Tiles

Interlocking tiles overlap and interlock on each side. This style is easy to install and is best for lower-pitched roofs.

Barrel Tiles

Barrel clay roof tiles, also known as mission tiles, are round and semi-circular and are often seen in Spanish and Mediterranean architecture. Barrel tiles interlock but alternate between facing up and facing down.

Clay Tile Roof Colors and Finishes

Clay tiles come in many different colors and finishes to achieve unique looks.

Natural Clay Colors

Natural clay tiles are typically available in earth tones, such as reddish-brown, gray, brown, beige, and orange. They’re also available in a weathered or aged finish, which gives them shine.

Glazing and Finishes

Clay tiles are available in matte, glossy, or metallic finishes and can be coated with paint and stains in nearly any color.

Clay Tile Roof Lifespan

Clay tile roofs can last more than 100 years when installed properly, much longer than most other roofing materials. Some manufacturers offer a 50- or 75-year warranty.

Clay Tile Roof Maintenance

Clay tiles require minimal maintenance, but you should regularly inspect your roof and keep it clear of debris. Here’s how to maintain your clay tile roof:

  • Inspect your roof at least once per year and pay to repair any damaged roof tiles.
  • Keep your roof clear of debris and moss with preventative maintenance.
  • Regularly clean the gutters to prevent water from pooling and damaging your roof.
  • Trim any tree branches hanging over the roof.

Is a Clay Tile Roof Right for You?

Clay tile roofs are expensive, but their durability and longevity make them a worthwhile investment. Not all roofing structures can support the heavy weight of tile, which is between 700 and 1,000 pounds per roofing square. You may need to reinforce your structure.

Our Conclusion

Clay tile roofs are durable, attractive, and energy-efficient, but they come at a cost. Shingle roofs are a less costly alternative, while metal roofing can range from less expensive to more pricey for luxury materials such as copper. We recommend consulting a structural engineer to determine whether your roofing system can support the weight of a clay tile roof before moving forward with installation.

Get Your Roofing Project Quote Today
Compare quotes from local pros

FAQ About Clay Tile Roofs

Are clay tiles good for roofs?

Clay tiles can protect your roof from weather conditions such as extreme heat, extreme cold, fire, high winds, and hail. Clay tiles can last decades, but your existing structure must be able to support its heavy weight.

What is the disadvantage of clay tile roofing?

The biggest disadvantage of clay tile roofing is the upfront cost. However, a clay tile roof could save you money on maintenance in the long run.

How many years does a clay tile roof last?

A clay tile roof can last more than 100 years when properly installed and maintained. Clay outlasts most other roofing materials.

What is a clay tile roof?

A clay tile roof is a roof constructed with baked and molded clay tiles. These tiles are either handmade or manufactured in a factory.

What are the benefits of a clay tile roof?

Clay tile roofs last longer than other types of roofing materials and have low maintenance requirements. Clay is also very durable and insulating.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.