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Shingle Roof vs. Tile Roof: What’s the Difference?

See how shingle and tile roofs compare on key factors to decide which is right for your home.

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Default Author Icon Written by Angela Bunt Updated 03/25/2024

Shingles and tiles are two of the most popular roof materials. Both are durable and have plenty of curb appeal, but they are different in appearance and performance. This guide compares shingle and tile roofs to help you determine the best type of roof for your home and budget.

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What Is the Difference Between Shingle and Tile?

The main difference between tile and shingle roofs is the material. Shingle roofs are primarily made from asphalt or a composite material, while tile roofs typically use more elegant, natural materials such as slate or terracotta. This results in different installation costs, lifespans, appearances, and more. Below is a breakdown of these key differences. 

Cost

Cost is a key factor for many homeowners when deciding between tile and shingle roofs. See the average costs for each option below.

Shingles are significantly less expensive than tile. Shingle roofs cost an average of $4,200 $7,900 for a 1,500 square foot roof, including labor and materials.* However, it’s normal for the price to range as low as $3,000 or as high as $15,000 depending on roof size and other factors. 
You can expect a new asphalt shingle roof to cost roughly $4 per square foot. If you’re replacing an existing roof, add at least $0.75 per square foot to cover removal costs.
Here’s a breakdown of the average cost for an asphalt shingle roof by house size. Choosing a more expensive type of shingle, such as composite, metal, or wood shingles, would increase the cost.
Roof Size (Square Feet)Average Cost (With Installation)

1,000

$2,800–$5,300

1,250

$3,500–$7,800

1,500

$4,200–$7,900

1,750

$4,900–$9,200

2,000

$5,600–$10,500

A tile roof costs significantly more than a shingle roof, with an average of between $15,000 and $35,000 for a 1,500 square foot roof. You could pay anywhere between $7 and $41 per square foot for a tile roof. Professional tile roof installation on a 2,000-square-foot home could cost well over $60,000.
See how much a tile roof costs for various home sizes below.
Roof Size (Square Feet)Average Cost (With Installation)

1,000

$7,400–$31,000

1,250

$8,600–$54,800

1,500

$10,200–$60,900

1,750

$13,200–$74,600

2,000

$14,100–$81,500

*Cost figures are based on contractor estimates used by Angi and Fixr.

Maintenance

Maintaining a tile roof is a lot less taxing and expensive than a shingle roof. This is partly because the material is so durable. The maintenance process for both roof types is similar: You should schedule an annual roof inspection to check for broken or missing shingles or tiles.

Never use a pressure washer on either type of roof. If you have a clay tile roof, avoid walking on it, as this could break the tiles. If you find a broken tile or shingle, replace it as soon as possible to avoid more widespread roof damage.

Durability and Lifespan

A well-maintained tile roof has a much longer lifespan than a shingle roof. Tile roofs last between 25 and 100 years, depending on the material. Metal and slate tiles last the longest, with slate potentially lasting more than a century. 

Basic three-tab asphalt shingles only last 15–20 years. Architectural and composite shingles last a bit longerup to 30 yearsbecause they’re thicker and use more durable materials, including fiberglass, asphalt, and recycled paper.

Climate

Both shingle and tile roofs work in all types of climates. However, you won’t find as many tile roofs in the northern United States because clay tiles may not stand up to freezing conditions well. Newer composite and metal tile roofs can handle any climate, so look for these materials if your home experiences a freeze-and-thaw cycle. 

Asphalt performs well in all climates, making it a popular option across the country. Unfortunately, dry, sweltering climates shorten the lifespan of both roof types. Ceramic tile or concrete roofs perform better in these climates. 

Installation Process

The installation process for shingle and tile roofs varies by material. Shingles are easy to install: tabs overlap and are nailed down and sealed. Roofers typically place underlayment beneath shingles. Underlayment is a layer of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) that lies between the shingles and roof deck, providing a second layer of protection from rain, snow, and wind. Without this, your roof will be more prone to water damage and may require more frequent repairs.

Tile roofs are slightly more challenging to install. Tiles weigh more than shingles and often require additional support and reinforcement. Tile roofs also require underlayment, but the installation process is slower and more involved than shingle roofs. For example, a terracotta tile roof must be cemented into place one tile at a time. This process often takes several days to complete, depending on the roof size, whereas asphalt shingle roof installation can often be completed in one day.

Return on Investment

Any new roof increases your home’s resale value. However, a tile roof’s quality and curb appeal provides a slightly higher return on investment (ROI) than a shingle roof. You’ll have an even lower ROI if you choose to lay new asphalt shingles over old ones to cut up-front costs.


Shingle Roofing

Shingles are the most popular type of roofing material in the United States because they’re affordable, easy to install, and low maintenance. Shingles vary in materials and thickness, with the most popular options being composite and asphalt shingles. Each shingle is a small rectangular sheet made of flexible material that’s installed in overlapping rows to keep out water and environmental hazards.

Pros and Cons of Shingle Roofing

Affordable
Straightforward to install
Easy to customize with various colors and styles
Shorter lifespan than other roof types
Requires more maintenance than other roofs
Less energy efficient and insulating than other roof types

Tile Roofing

Though tile roofs are similar to shingle roofs in design, they use higher-quality materials such as clay, slate, or concrete. Roofing tiles hang in overlapping parallel rows to form a watertight seal. Tiles are more visually appealing, environmentally friendly, and durable than asphalt shingles. Tile roofs can easily last over 100 years, and many manufacturers offer a 50-year warranty. 

Pros and Cons of Tile Roofing

Long lifespan–up to 100 years
Resistant to rot and insect damage
More energy-efficient than asphalt shingles
May require installing additional roof support
Higher up-front cost than other roof types
Not suitable for all roof slopes and climates

Other Roof Types

If neither a traditional shingle nor tile roof fits your needs, consider the following alternative roofing options:

  • Built-up roofing (BUR) ($1.37–$3.91 per square foot): Built-up roofing, or BUR, is used primarily for flat roofs. The roof is made from multiple layers of asphalt, ply sheets, aggregate, and other materials. It protects from ultraviolet (UV) damage and has excellent waterproofing.
  • Cedar shakes ($5–$13.90 per square foot): Wooden shingles are similar to the other shingles mentioned in this guide, but wooden roofs can also be made from wooden shakes. A shake is hand-split on one side, creating a more rustic look, and they’re better in certain weather conditions, such as high winds. Cedar shakes are one of the most common wooden roofing materials.
  • Green roofing ($10–$35 per square foot): Green roofing is relatively new to the United States, but it’s growing in popularity. Green roofs use plants and other local foliage to create a high-value and unique roof. These roofs increase your home’s energy efficiency. The money you’ll save on energy costs can offset the high up-front investment.
  • Metal roofing ($4–$30 per square foot): Metal roofs have a life expectancy of 30–50 years, making them an excellent investment. They’re known to decrease energy bills, in turn increasing ROI. These roofs come in many styles and materials. All options are durable, easy to maintain, and fire and weather resistant.
  • Solar roofing ($20–$25 per square foot): Solar roofing is an excellent option for homeowners who are converting to solar power but want to maintain their home’s aesthetics. This roofing mimics traditional roofing but generates energy like traditional solar panels. If interested, you’ll want to work with a top solar company rather than a professional roofing company.

For a quick overview of the most popular roofing materials, check out the video below. General contractor Tom Silva compares the cost, durability, and pros and cons of four popular roofing materials—asphalt shingles, wood shingles, metal sheeting, and clay tiles.


Things To Consider When Choosing a Roof Type

Curb appeal matters when shopping for a new roof, but it’s not the only factor. Your roof contributes to almost everything that makes your home livable. Consider the following factors to determine the right roofing material for your home and lifestyle: 
Budget: Assess your finances to set a realistic budget. Different roofing materials can vary significantly in price, and you’ll want to account for labor, permits, and unexpected changes or repairs.
Climate: Pay attention to typical weather patterns in your area. Different materials have different levels of weather resistance, so find out how each roof type reacts to the elements and determine which options are best suited to your local climate.
Energy efficiency: Though more expensive up-front, energy-efficient roofs can save you money long-term. The ability of your roof to reflect heat can also make or break your indoor comfort, so research each option’s thermal properties.
Slope: Your roof must be able to drain water. Asphalt shingles are the most popular option, but only because most American residential roofs have a steep slope. If some of your roof’s slopes are low, use a specialized product that’s more leak-resistant when exposed to pooling water.
Weight: The material’s weight can affect your project’s timeline and labor cost. If you choose a heavier material than the one currently covering your home, structural adjustments might be necessary to ensure your home can support the added weight.

Our Conclusion

Ultimately, the best roofing material depends on your priorities. Shingles offer affordability and ease of installation, while tiles boast superior durability and aesthetic appeal, often at a higher cost. Weighing your budget, desired lifespan, and stylistic preferences will guide you towards the perfect roof for your home.

Once you know which roof type you want, contact multiple local roofing contractors for free estimates and comparison. Enter your ZIP code in our tool below to jumpstart the quote process.

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FAQ About Shingle Roofs vs. Tile Roofs

Can you replace shingles with tiles?

Yes, you can replace shingles with tiles if you’re willing to undergo a more intensive and expensive installation process. The end result is a more durable and attractive roof. 

Is a tile roof better than a shingle roof?

Whether or not a tile roof is better than a shingle roof depends on your wants and needs. Tile roofs are significantly more expensive than shingle roofs, but they last almost five times as long and require less maintenance. Tile roofs are also more energy-efficient and more resistant to rot. 

What is the most efficient house roof?

The most energy-efficient roof type is a metal roof, which is a form of tile roofing. Metal roofs are highly reflective, which helps keep your home cooler and reduces the strain on your HVAC system. Metal roofs typically result in lower energy bills. 

Why do Americans use shingles and not tiles?

Americans use shingles more often than tiles due to their affordability and ease of installation. Shingles are also more suitable for the steeper roof pitches that are common in the U.S. While tiles are more durable, their cost and weight often make them a less attractive option.

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