Tile roofs add character and color to commercial buildings. They closely mimic historic clay tiles and enhance a company's unique architecture. With clay tiles, your commercial building attracts the eye and the customers.

Learn more about tile roofs by scheduling a meeting with your roofing professional. Have your roof inspected, and discuss any concerns you have about tile roofing installation. In the meantime, here are some facts about tile roofs to get you started.

History of Clay and Tile Roofs

People have found surviving fragments of clay roofing tiles used as early as 2,500 B.C. in China and the Near East. The roofing style spread over the centuries from Asia to Europe to the New World. By the mid-17th century, colonists were making their own tiles.

Clay tiles were once sought after due to their fire resistance. By the early 1800s, new materials replaced tiles. After that time, builders used clay tiles most often when trying to mimic the looks of Italian Renaissance and Romanesque structures. Today, most clay tile roofs in the U.S. are installed on Southwestern style homes or in coastal areas where the air is salt-laden and hot.

Types of Tile Roofs

Modern roofing tiles are made of several types of materials. You can choose from traditional terra cotta, colored concrete, slate, and rubber-composite-type tiles.

Several architectural styles of tiles are available to achieve the look you want. These styles include:

  • Mission half-barrel shape
  • Spanish S-shaped
  • Shingle-type Interlocking
  • French grooved shingles
  • Pantile diamond shaped
  • Clay rectangular shaped

Rustic, hand finished clay styles are popular new tile choices to create an aged look on a new or historic structure. Choose colors in the grey and blue tones to use alone or mix with traditional red clay to create a unique look.

Each of the various tile shapes creates a textured, rich look on commercial buildings. Choose a roofing color that accents the exterior wall colors and surrounding scenery of your business for the best results. If your business wants to promote a gothic, magical, elegant, or mysterious image, consult with your roofing professional to learn how to create the tile-roof look that suits your brand.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Tile Roofs

Tile roofs are considered cool roofs because they provide good thermal mass. Tiles can be coated or treated at the factory to make them even more energy-efficient. Tile roofs are also considered long-lasting roofs because they can last from 50 to 100 years or more. After use, the tiles can be repurposed or recycled. When clay tiles are installed correctly, the tiles are waterproof, bug proof and mold-proof. Maintenance costs are low.

However, tile roofs are heavier than roofs made of other materials. They provide great protection for your building, but they require a strong support structure. You also need a roof with a fairly steep pitch for tile-shingle application to work. 

Costs for installing a tile roof are also higher than for other types of roofs. The tiles can be brittle and snap when hit by debris, large hail, or falling branches. If you don't have a few extra tiles on hand, costs for replacement tiles can be high.

Installation of Tile Roofs

Before placing the tiles, roofers attach underlayment to the roof sheathing, providing an extra barrier over your structure. The underlayment may be made of felt saturated with asphalt. Other types of underlayment for tile include non-bitumen synthetic barriers and rubberized asphalt sheeting.

Both underlayment and tiles should be secured with nails that don't corrode. Copper nails are a good choice for tiles. Some tiles are kept in place by gravity. Lugs on the ends of the shingles hang off the shingle below. These tiles can be doubly secured with nails in windy or other risky environments.

Roofers install flashing over the underlayment and under the tiles wherever there is a protrusion from the roof. Flashing is used around chimneys and vents. Drip-edge flashing and ridge caps are installed at all edges and roof ridges. 

Keeping Tile Roofs Safe 

Keep your tile roof safe in winter by having your roofing professional install your roof to be as wind-resistant as possible. You can orient tile shape and add extra fasteners and edge reinforcements to increase your roof's wind rating.

Trim overhanging limbs and branches that could fall on the roof and break tiles. Clean leaves and debris from the roof and gutters on a regular basis. A clean roof cuts down the formation of ice dams and ice pockets that cause damage to tiles and underlayment.

Steep-sloped roofs are less likely to collect snow except at the bottoms of the roof edges and any angled corners of the roof. Have a system in place to safely remove snow. Avoid the buildup of icicles snow at the gutters to keep people and property safe.

Contact the roofing professionals at Moriarty Roofing & Sheet Metal today. We install roofing of all types on commercial and residential buildings in the Colorado Springs region. We're available to handle your commercial roofing emergencies, inspections, repairs and new roofing construction.