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Clay vs cement roof tiles

Updated July 19, 2017

Tile roofing has grown to be a very popular choice for homes and buildings in the UK. This is mainly because of a tile roof's attractiveness. Aside from aesthetic qualities of tile, it is a naturally fire-resistant, durable option that will often outlast the owners. There are two main types of tile available, concrete and clay, and they are different in many ways.

Cost

Both concrete and clay tiles tend to be more costly than other roofing materials; this is because of their timely manufacturing processes. Clay tile is a sought-after material because it best achieves the Mediterranean look that is so desirable in parts of the UK. These tiles can be quite expensive, starting at around 30 percent more than concrete tiles, which average around £2.37 to £5.25 per 0.09 square metres (1 square foot) (2009).

Installation

Tile roofing requires a more involved installation process than other roofing types. Both concrete and clay will commonly require parallel wood battens to run under the tiles to help prevent them from being crushed when walked on. Beyond that, concrete tiles tend to be easier to install than clay because concrete tiles need only tile nails driven through preformed holes to hold them in place. Clay tiles, on the other hand, are often nailed, then adhered to each other with an application of concrete.

Lifespan

Concrete tiles are very durable and have been known to last with little to no maintenance for 30 to 50 years, though they may suffer from colour fading in sunny areas. Clay tiles are naturally resistant to fading and can last for more than 100 years in some cases. Reclaimed clay tiles have grown to be a popular option for roofing high-end custom homes; these very pricey tiles are usually at least 40 years old.

Durability

Under typical conditions, both types of tile are very durable compared with other roofing materials. Their heavy weight and density offer protection against most weather conditions. The only time these roofing materials fall into jeopardy is from human contact. Concrete tiles are usually thicker than clay, and can better resist crushing when walked on.

Repair and replacement

Under typical conditions, both types of tile are very durable compared with other roofing materials. Their heavy weight and density offer protection against most weather conditions. The only time these roofing materials fall into jeopardy is from human contact. Concrete tiles are usually thicker than clay, and can better resist crushing when walked on.

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About the Author

J. Cavan Barry is an architecture student with over a decade of experience in the general construction field, and four years in architecture. Barry also has nearly a decade of automotive repair experience and is an avid auto enthusiast. After finding an interest in creative writing, he began writing a novel and recently finished the first draft.