This OR That: Tile VS Shingle Roof?

Ben Home Design Ideas, This OR That, Tile VS Shingle Leave a Comment

A roof is a roof is a roof, right?  WRONG!  There really are superior roofing materials available.  When most people think of a roof, they think of shingles. But actually, traditional asphalt shingles aren’t the only option. Now, many homeowners opt for tile roofs instead.If you are trying to decide what kind of material to use on your roof here are some facts about the differences between using tile and shingles for a new roof. If you’re weighing tile roofs vs. shingle roofs, you should compare them closely to make a decision for your home. Environmental impact, weather resistance, and aesthetics are all factors that come into play.

What is Tile Roofing?

Although most homes in the United States have shingles, if you compare tile roofs vs. shingle roofs on a global scale, you’ll find that tile is actually more popular worldwide. Tile has been in use for over a century, even longer than modern asphalt shingles.

In the US, tile roofs are most commonly seen on homes that borrow elements from Spanish architecture. The roofing tiles themselves are generally made from terracotta or slate, and they hang in parallel rows, overlapping to keep out rainwater.

The high weight and strength of the tile gives it good endurance. Most modern homes are structurally strong enough to support a tile roof, but there are also lightweight tile options available. Tile roofing can last for up to a century before it needs to be completely replaced, and most manufacturers offer 50-year warranties.

What is Shingle Roofing?

Shingles are the most common roofing material in North America. They can be made from a wide variety of materials, such as slate, plastic, and composites, but they are most commonly made out of asphalt. Each roofing shingle is small and rectangular. When installed, they overlap to keep out water. Asphalt is used because of its waterproof properties. They’re popular

because the up-front cost is relatively low, and the installation itself is fairly easy and straightforward for professional roofers. When homeowners on a budget compare tile roofs vs. shingle roofs, they often choose shingles because of the price.Roofing shingles come in a variety of shapes, textures, and colors, making them architecturally versatile. They reflect sunlight well, which is an advantage in hot climates, and they’re also designed to resist both fire damage and algae growth. They can deteriorate from moss growth and accumulated debris, so shingle roofs need to be cleaned with specialized solutions.


When comparing tile roofs and shingle roofs, the first noticeable difference is the price. Tile is more expensive than shingles, usually at least double the price. However, the life expectancy of tile ends up being about double that of shingles, so it works out to be about even in that regard. One consideration is that high winds and bad weather can knock off your shingles much more easily than with tiles. Tiles are more durable and can withstand a lot more strain.


An important consideration to think about is your climate. If you are in an easier climate, weather-wise, it may not be a bad idea to go with shingles. Especially if money is tight at the moment, then it’s not really a disadvantage to you at all as the buyer. However, if you do live in the southeast of the United States, as well as other snow-ridden areas, it may be a wise choice to go with tiles when possible.  Tiles do perform well in cold climates.  They are not just for warm, sunny regions.  Snow easily slides from their surface and they are good conductors.

Some say that tile roofs can last for as long as 50 years, whereas shingles last about 20 years. Either way, with some maintenance, you are getting a lot of life for your roof, regardless of whether you choose shingles or tile. There are all types of warranties for each roof depending on the contractor and the manufacture of the material. However, normally tile roof systems have a longer warranty.  


Another consideration that needs to be examined is the sturdiness of your roof. Not every roof can take the weight of a heavy tile roof. You want to consult with one of our roofing contractors to see what the carrying capacity of your roof really is, and then choose based on your budget, climate and your end goal.

Tile is definitely an advantage when looking to resell your home. It isn’t as important as having a nice roof, in general; however, if you have the option, ask your real estate agent about comparable homes in your area and the kind of roofs they have, to see if there is any difference in which kind of homes sell quicker and for a higher price. In some areas, you will find it to be very important, and in other areas it’s not that important at all. 

When you choose between tile and shingles, you’ll need to consider the cost, your climate, and the carrying capacity of your home’s overall structure. Both options are perfectly viable, and in some cases, it can come down to either cost or aesthetic preference.


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