Concrete Roof Tiles – A Roof For All Occasions
Concrete roof tiles are made from portland cement, water and sand. Sometimes other materials like fly ash are added to these tiles. There are very minor differences in the tiles made by different manufacturers. They have similar shape, size and color. So, there isn’t much to choose between different companies making these tiles.
These tiles are usually either flat profile, low profile or high profile depending on the curve when viewed from the back of the tile. The higher the curve the higher the profile. If the rise to width ratio is greater than 1: 5 then they are considered as high profile concrete roof tiles.
Unlike solar roof tiles that available only in one color blue – concrete roof tiles are available in different colors and textures. You could choose between really smooth and rough texture and a host of colors. You will find that the color is part of the tile and it is not something slathered on top of the cement tile. This makes the color long lasting.
When buying concrete roof tiles you get a choice of light-weight or heavier tiles. Choose a tile that meets your local needs and that of your home. Light-weight tiles are not recommended as they easily break and it is tough to walk on them without damaging them. Even a little amount of snow can place undue stress on the lighter and thinner tiles. Heavier tiles on the other hand are durable and strong and can take higher loads with ease. Light weight tiles are in fact expensive and used by homeowners as they feel that the structure of their home can’t take the extra load.
But, experts recommend the heavier concrete roof tiles which are cheaper and use the money saved to strengthen the roofing structure in consultation with a structural engineer. These tiles are extremely long lasting. They are marketed with 50 year guarantees. Even though the roofing material – concrete is long lasting, the underlayment under the tiles will not last long and will need replacement in about 30-40 years. Coupled with bad installation procedures these underlying materials may not last very long. These means the life we are looking at is about a decade or less. The color also starts fading with time due to leaching by the rains and fading due to sunlight.
Concrete roof tiles is notorious for moisture penetration compared to other roofing types. This reason makes it doubly important for the installation to be perfect with right installation procedure to be following and all the underlying battens, flashing and underlayment used should be of good quality. These tiles are single ply roofing systems. And also all kinds of debris gets under the tiles. Rain, snow, leaves, mud, insects, small birds and animals easily get into the tile roof system. These factors are distinct disadvantages but not deal breakers as otherwise the roof is a perfectly good option for many homes.
The following facts explain concrete roof tiles in a nutshell
1. It is one of most difficult roofing types to install.
2. If the concrete tiles are installed properly and with appropriate materils then it works out to be more expensive than asphalt shingles but less costly than clay tiles. It compares with cedar shake shingles.
3. The whole process of installation is slow, time consuming and labor intensive. Cutting valleys is tough around roof bulges and needs a special saw to do this. If you attempt any other method you might end up damaging the tiles.
4. The roofer needs to be skilled craftsman with expertise to do this job right. It takes about 6 months on the job training for a new roofer to learn concrete roof tiles installation.
5. The tile being single ply allows easy penetration which is necessarily not a good characteristic for roofs. Careful drilling needs to be done when screwing or nailing in place.
6. Allows moisture penetration which is again not a good quality about this roofing option hence the stress on good underlayment.
7. Easy to repair and re-install damaged tiles
8. Walking on these tiles easily damages them hence limited walking only is allowed using proper techniques of walking.
9. Lasts from 30-40 years depending on the underlayment, batten and flashing used and how it is installed.
10. It is extremely resistant to fire and has Class A rating
11. Resistant to hail damage.
12. Does not blow off easily in windy conditions if nailed properly.
13. For small areas and for more complicated roofing types as the tiles can be easily cut or made to shape.
14. Snow and water easily slide off this roof.
15. The color starts fading fast and replacement tiles won’t blend in easily for years.
16. Finding replacements of the same color are difficult and you may have to make do with close matches.
17. Suitable for a variety of temperatures from 0 to 120 degrees.
18. The concrete roof tiles can get really slippery in wet weather. It is dangerous to walk on in wet weather.