Terracotta vs. Concrete Roof Tiles

Whether you are building a new home, or simply replacing a roof on an existing home, there are many options available for roofing materials. Terracotta and concrete roofing tiles are two common options. Each type has its benefits, as well as special considerations that should be weighed before you choose the tile that is right for your home.


Terracotta roof tiles are typically much more expensive than concrete roof tiles. The manufacturing process is much different, and it takes more time and materials to make terracotta tiles. Concrete roof tiles are much easier to manufacture, and new processes have made these tiles very economical for the average homeowner.


When properly made, terracotta tiles can last for many years, maintaining their waterproof nature for decades. In fact, when it's correctly fired, terracotta can last for centuries. However, if something solid, such as a tree branch, falls on this tile, it can break. In areas where storms are common and trees are above the roof line, terracotta tiles may suffer from continued impact. Concrete tiles are typically durable and are estimated to last from around 30 to 50 years, depending on exterior conditions. Neither material rots easily, as long as it's properly constructed.

Environmental Factors

A roof is exposed to a constant barrage from the elements. What with sun, rain, wind, snow and hail, a roof can go through a lot. While terracotta tiles are waterproof, they can loosen and slip off, creating blank spots on the roof that are not appealing. While concrete may not be able to hold up to a hurricane, it can definitely withstand severe elements more efficiently than terracotta.

Visual Appeal

The visual appeal of terracotta is the main reason why many homes feature this style of roofing. In some areas with Spanish architecture--inspired homes, you will see dozens of houses with this roofing material. The look of terracotta is often worth the downsides for homeowners. Concrete roofing material, however, can be ordered in several different colours, including a convincing terracotta red, and it is gaining strides in popularity and use, thanks to these advances.

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About the Author

Kate McFarlin is a licensed insurance agent with extensive experience in covering topics related to marketing, small business, personal finance and home improvement. She began her career as a Web designer and also specializes in audio/video mixing and design.