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Concrete roof tile is made of sand, cement, and water. The exact materials vary somewhat with each manufacturer but basically contain Portland cement, blended hydraulic cements and fly ash, sand, and other aggregates. The products from most manufacturers look very similar in size and shapes and colors. There are several manufacturers of concrete tile.
Concrete roof tile has three main appearances based on their profiles:
Concrete tile is available in several different colors and a couple of textures. The surface texture of the tile can be smooth or rough. Most are color impregnated rather than just slurry coated.
Concrete tile is available in standard weight and lightweight tile. It is advisable to stay away from lightweight tile if you can. They are much weaker and hard to walk on without breaking some and are very susceptible to breakage from hail and heavy snow loads compared to standard weight Concrete tile. Lightweight tile costs more than standard weight. In my opinion it would be better money spent to use the extra money it would cost for lightweight tile for consultation fees of a structural engineer and use the standard weight tile.
When specifying Concrete Tile make sure to state the Manufacturer, Name of the tile, Color, and Type. Example: Acme, Moab, Sunset Orange, High Profile Tile. (Made up names for tile used in example)
The life expectancy for a concrete tile roof is marketed as a 50 year roof. However, the underlayment and batten system, even if good material and the proper installation procedure was used, will not last that long and will have to be replaced generally around 30 to 40 years. Many tile roof underlayments and battens must be replaced much sooner because of the inferior materials and installation procedures used - sometimes within the first five to eight years. The concrete tile also loses color and some surface texture after several years.
Tile roofs are prone to moisture penetration from wind driven rain or snow more than any other type of roofing product. That is why the underlayment, batten system, and flashing and how they are installed is so very important and is the key to how long a tile roof lasts. Most Concrete Tile roofs are only single ply roof systems where Asphalt Shingles are 2 plies, and Wood Shakes and Shingles are 2 and 3 plies. Almost everything gets in under a tile roof from rain and snow to leaves, dirt, and even small birds, animals and their nests and of course insects like wasps and bees. I found a snakeskin once that had been shed. However, a concrete tile roof can be a very good roof, but only if it and the underlayments, battens, and flashings are installed correctly.
Photo of a staggard Shake type/style Concrete Tile Roof
Photo of a S type/style Concrete Tile Roof
Photo of a Slate type/style Concrete Tile Roof
Photo of a another kind of Tile Roofing Material, a Pan and Cover type/style Clay Tile Roof