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Tile Roofs In Miami – Concrete or Clay?

 For tile roofs in Miami which is better – concrete or clay? Roofers prefer concrete and I’ll tell you why. We just did two replacements, one in Miami Springs and the other in Coral Gables, that help make the case.

Concrete Tile Roof in Miami Springs

 When considering options for tile roofs in Miami there are three variables to consider– color, profile and “concrete or clay?” Follow our posts for a while and you’ll see a preference for white.
Shingles, tile, metal – it doesn’t matter – white is best for underlayment durability, reflectivity and energy efficiency. They do make painted white clay tiles but that’s just . . . weird . . .
Most clay tiles are a shade of terra cotta but that’s not the big issue with them.

Concrete Roof Tiles Are Stronger

The strength of concrete roof tiles is the #1 consideration which leads to its preference over clay. No need to study testing reports to know which are stronger having walked on thousands of each. We are comparing common, mainstream products used on residential roofing systems in South Florida. There are some clay tiles, Ludovici for one, which are comparable to concrete in strength but as I said, I am talking about mainstream products – Ludovici is expensive. You may have read that, pound-for-pound, clay tile is just as strong as concrete, if not stronger. That may be true, the problem is clay tiles are thinner and that is the main reason for their overall tendency to break. To put it to rest, I have been called many times by distraught homeowners who have had their clay tile roofs badly damaged after exterminators tented the home. I have never gotten such a call from someone with a concrete tile roof.

 Tile Roof Profiles

Concrete Spanish-S and especially double-S are stronger than clay Spanish S or flat concrete tiles. It’s all about the strength of the arch. So, it’s official. Roofer Mike likes white concrete tiles with a Spanish-S or double-S profile. I do, but that’s looking at it strictly from a roofer’s perspective in consideration of roof integrity. To me these benefits trump aesthetics and I’m not shy about bringing them to a client’s attention if they’re not sure about their selection.

I know, I know – those white tiles get dirty but the nano cleaners on the market are getting better all the time – just Spray and Forget (google that), no pressure-wash involved. To go off-topic a little, the dark flat tiles that are so popular right now look good, I must admit, but go against all other roofing principles concerning strength and energy efficiency. That said, if you insist, we have done some dark flat concrete tile roofs.

… Yes, We Do Clay Tile Roofs

While it is OK to be bold enough to suggest, you must respect a client’s preferences. In keeping with that general philosophy, we put the information out there and let the customer decide.  Some people just  haaate white tiles … and some love clay. Given that tile roofs in Miami are very attractive systems, I must respect a person’s decision if they put aesthetics first, as one of these customers did.

Clay Tile Roof in Coral Gables

One last thing – the point here is that you can have the strength of concrete and still get that classic clay tile look. As noted, one customer went with a Spanish-S clay tile and another chose concrete Spanish-S, also terra cotta. The photos are not captioned here. Can you tell which is which? Homeowners should just be aware that concrete tile manufacturers do a pretty good job of mimicking clay.  Click this … to browse some examples.

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