How Long Do Tile Roofs Last?

By June 3, 2020Roof
How Long Do Tile Roofs Last?

Tile roofs are frequently used in the southwest of the United States. In general, tile roofs are more expensive due to their longevity, design, and labor for install. So how long do tile roofs last?

Tile roofs in general last about 30-40 years. Although some roofers or manufacturers may say 50 or 60 years, it is not guaranteed to last that long. You can have a tile roof last as few as 25 years, or as long as 45 years…

This is especially because of the maintenance, design, and environmental factors. Let’s dive in deeper.

There are two factors that allow tile roofs to have a longer life span.

  1. Tile Strength – Tiles are strong and heavy. Because of that, tiles are less affected by wind, hail, and rain.
  2. Sun Exposure – Shingles are super sensitive to the sun over time. Comparatively, tiles don’t really get damaged from the sun over time.

Tile Roof Maintenance for Longevity

FUN FACT: The tile is not your actual roof covering. Tiles are not water proof, and your roof underlayment is what is actually protecting your roof from leaks.

The underlayment is a lot more difficult to repair and maintain on its own. This is because tiles have to be removed and re-installed to get to the underlayment.

Therefore, when we are thinking about maintenance and longevity we need to think about protecting that underlayment.

Maintenance Items:

  • Fix cracked or broken tiles as soon as possible. Recommend a roofer or handyman repair every 1-2 years depending on weather.
  • Add gutters to your home.
  • Ensure all penetrations are secure with flashing every 1-2 years.

Tile Roof Design for Longevity

As previously mentioned, tile roofs are heavier, stronger, and are not affected by sun rays. This makes tiles a better roof for hurricane resistance, hail, and overall weather exposure.

Tile roofs are also shingled, meaning the tiles overlap each other so water never enters the top of the tile.

However, while shingles are made to be waterproof, tiles are not. There are many cracks in tiles which allow small amounts of water to get underneath.

Water entry below the tiles is by design, though. We just need to ensure water entry is kept to a minimum.

Furthermore, we need to ensure our roof underlayment is in good condition. The more we can protect the underlayment and complete a great install of the underlayment the better!

How do we protect the underlayment?

  • Keep a watchful eye for roof leaks.
  • Climb in the attic if you are capable.
  • Keep up with the roof maintenance mentioned above.

Environmental Factors

While tiles are typically installed in the southwest, tiles near the coasts could be exposed to hurricanes which includes high winds, hail, and lots of rain.

Because of our environment, as homeowners, we should be extra vigilant before and after high wind events like hurricanes or thunderstorms.

Having an inspection before and after a hurricane or high wind event is critical to extending the lifespan of your tile roof.

Other Items Affecting Tile Lifespan

How Much Does a Tile Roof Cost?

The cost depends on the type of tile, location, and the size of the home. You can expect to pay quite a bit more than shingle installs (a few thousand more, sometimes tens of thousands).

We will post more on this later. 🙂

Walking On Your Tile Roof

This subject can be very controversial.

Can you walk on your tile roof?

Yes, but you need to be experienced otherwise you may crack some tiles. Even experienced roofers and inspectors crack tiles sometimes. Although cracking tiles is not good, it’s an easy fix.

Being able to walk a tile roof will give the most thorough inspection. Viewing a roof from the ground or from a drone, does not give the same advantages as walking on the roof itself.

You should note, however, sometimes tile roofs cannot be walked on. In these cases, a drone would be your best option.

We will talk about how to walk on a tile roof in another post 🙂

Sealing or Coating Your Tile Roof

While there is a such thing as coating your tile roof, it is not always recommended.

What is sealing or coating your tile roof?

This is done by basically a roofing paint. The coating is a thick paint that is then rolled onto the roof. This creates a water tight barrier.

Coating your tile roof typically only lasts a few years due to sun and weather exposure. Furthermore, some insurance companies may not like the coated roof.

It may be a good idea to coat your tile roof if you are planning to replace the roof in a few years and you check with your insurance company. However, coating should not be in replacement of replacing your tile roof.

But My Roofer Said the Life Span was 50 to 60 Years?

Here is a quote from a fellow inspector… not me.

It’s a very misleading sales pitch. They will tell you 50 years, but they do not tell you the part that says if you want 50 years out of them, you have REMOVE tiles after 20 years, and REPLACE the UNDERLAYMENT and then reinstall said Tiles.

Fellow Inspector

Whether that inspector is right or wrong, is not my point. As a homeowner, you should just be aware, roofers are salesmen so their estimates may not always be accurate to the actual truth.

Concluding How Long Do Tile Roofs Last

So, how long to tile roofs last? Approximately 30-40 years, however, it depends on maintenance, install, and weather. If you are in Florida, your tile roof may only last 25 years. Even less if you are near the beach.

If your home experiences many hurricanes and you never have any inspections, you can expect your roof to last a lot less.

If you would like to read more about life expectancies in roofs, we have one on shingles and modified bitumen.

Aaron Shishilla

Author Aaron Shishilla

Aaron Shishilla is the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida. Coming from a family-owned home inspection company and now the marketing manager at Waypoint.

More posts by Aaron Shishilla

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