Article No: 211

2007-06-04 10:20:43
Tile roofs provide decorative options for any home
By: Richard K. Olson, technical director, Tile Roofing Institute

Editor’s Note: Richard K. Olson is technical director for the Tile Roofing Institute (TRI). The association represents industry professionals involved in the manufacturing and installation of concrete and clay tile roofs in the U.S. and Canada, and works with national, state, and local building officials to develop installation techniques, codes, and standards for better roofing systems. Olson can be reached at Visit to learn more about how the Institute may benefit your business.

As businesspeople in concrete, we’re all aware of the myriad of ways in which concrete can be used decoratively to enhance the look and feel of a home. Stucco can be used on a home’s exterior walls for a distinctly Old World appearance. Stamped, colored concrete seems to be all the rage now for driveways and walkways. In a home’s interior, concrete floors and countertops are quite popular as there are virtually innumerable treatment applications with paint, pigments, finishes and insets, providing exciting and one-of-a-kind applications. Another product that is important to keep in mind and has applications for virtually every style of home imaginable is concrete roof tile.

Designs to fit any style of architecture
Whether concrete roof tile manufacturers like it or not, when tile roofing comes to mind, many people’s first thoughts go to the traditional red, S-shaped, Spanish-style roof tile. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s worth noting that concrete roof tile manufacturers produce tile that replicates practically every other style of roof on the market today, including Spanish-style, mortar-boosted, slate and split slate, shake, split and hand-split shake, English thatch and others. With so many varieties of roof tile available, consumers across the country—from California to Maine, and everywhere in between—can find a style of tile roof that will work for their building.

Beyond styles, concrete roof tile manufacturers produce their lines of tile in many different color lines and thousands of color variations, allowing home and business owners, along with designers, to choose the a palette which will complement the roofs surroundings. To illustrate the volume of color varieties available, a manufacturer at one point offered approximately 12,800 color variations.  

Added curb appeal means added value
Adding a concrete tile roof to a home definitely adds to the curb or drive-by appeal of a home. The enhanced look comes from the tile’s crisp, clean appearance and vibrant colors, providing a certain flair, style, and individuality not achieved through other roofing styles. From the street, a home with a concrete tile roof often has a panache not found in surrounding houses—that’s curb appeal.

But in addition to enhancing a home’s appearance, did you know that a concrete tile roof will actually add to its monetary bottom line? To illustrate this point, consider the following scenario. Two practically identical townhouse developments were built across the street from one another in Colorado. One development was constructed with traditional asphalt shingle roofs, and the other was constructed with shingle-style concrete roof tiles. Not only did the townhouses receive more consumer interest demonstrated by foot traffic through home showings, each unit with a concrete tile roof sold for an average of $15,000 more than the identical townhouses across the street which were built with asphalt roofs.

… and added protection, too
Besides increasing a home’s curb appeal and monetary value, a concrete tile roof also increases a house’s ability to withstand the fury of Mother Nature. Whether it’s providing Class A fire-rated protection from wildfires, resistance to hurricane-strength 125-mile-per-hour winds or the strength to take a pounding from storm-driven hailstones, concrete tile roofing gives a home added protection to stand up to some of the worst weather conditions.

Decorative tile can bring energy savings
In talking so much about the many ways in which decorative concrete tile roofing can enhance a home or commercial building, it’s easy to forget that homeowners can also save money on their energy bills, too.

Numerous studies have shown that concrete tile manufactured with white cement in the base of the tile increase a roof’s solar reflectivity. Translated into layman’s terms, a higher roof solar reflectivity rating means less heat is transferred into a home during the summer, which means that less energy will be used to cool a home.

While white and light-colored roofs are very energy efficient, they aren’t necessarily what homeowners are looking for. To combat this aversion, tile producers offer a wide variety of color options for white cement-based tile, as well as a wide variety of surface colorings to provide a full range of products that help reduce the solar reflectance of the roofing material. The greater range of colors means that more homeowners and business owners are likely to find energy-saving tiles a very attractive option—both aesthetically and in their bank accounts.