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Concrete Tile Roofing: Is It Worth The Extra Cost?

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When it comes time to choose a new roof, many homeowners go with asphalt shingles simply because they are the cheapest. However, if you can afford to pay a little more up front for a concrete tile roof, you'll reap many benefits in the long run. Whether or not a concrete tile roof is worth the extra cost to you will depend on your preferences and life situation. Examining the following benefits and drawbacks of concrete tile roofs will help you decide.

Note: An asphalt shingle roof will cost between $1 and $4 per square foot, whereas as basic concrete tile roofs average between $4.50 and $9 per square foot. Customized, deluxe tiles can cost up to $10 per square foot.

Benefits of Concrete Tile Roofs

Concrete tiles last a long time.

A standard asphalt roof will last about 20 years; some specialty shingles may last for 50 years. According to the National Association of Home Builders, however, concrete tile roofs can be expected to last for 100 years or more. This is a similar life expectancy to slate roofing, which is more expensive and difficult to install than concrete tiles. Basically, you can pay for one concrete tile roof now, or pay for three or four asphalt roofs over the coming years. You'll save money in the long run by choosing concrete tiles -- and you'll never have to replace your roof again.

Concrete tiles can be customized to match your home's architecture.

Even the best asphalt shingles still look like shingles. Concrete tiles, on the other hand, can be custom designed to look like whatever you want. They can be made to look like wood shakes, slate slabs or bricks. You can choose several different colors and have them arranged in a pattern, or choose one solid color -- most every color imaginable is available. Not only will this give your home the look you dream of, but an attractive roof will increase your home's value.

Concrete tiles are fire-proof.

If you live in an area where forest fires are common or are concerned about fires spreading from other sources, then concrete tiles are a safe choice. Though some asphalt shingles are treated to make them less flammable, some asphalt shingles (in particular, the "green" ones made from organic materials that are so popular today) will catch fire under the right conditions. Concrete tiles won't; they're made of processed stone.

They won't be lifted off your home in storms and snowy conditions.

A heavy gust of wind can pick asphalt shingles up off of the roof. Melted and re-frozen snow can also pry shingles away from the underlayment, leading to leaks. Concrete tiles are simply too heavy for either of these issues to occur. This makes them a very good choice in storm zones and climates with harsh winters.

Drawbacks of Concrete Tiles

Some older homes may not be able to support the weight.

If your home was built several decades ago, you'll need to have an engineer test the walls to ensure they can support the weight of a concrete tile roof. Though most homes won't have this issue, there are some older homes that won't remain structurally sound with such a heavy roofing material.

It's difficult or impossible to do repairs yourself.

Most homeowners with basic DIY skills can replace missing shingles and patch an asphalt roof. However, concrete tile roofs are a lot harder to repair and should be worked on by a professional. It is very challenging to maneuver on the roof without damaging additional tiles. (They are likely to crack under your weight.) Professionals have undergone extensive training to learn just how to replace roofing tiles, gutters, and other elements without damaging the other tiles.

If your home can support the weight and you don't mind hiring someone to replace tiles as they crack, a concrete tile roof can be a very worthwhile investment. Contact a company like Drey Roofing for more information.