A Look At Spanish Tile Metal Roofing And A Better Alternative


Spanish barrel tiles are typically found on roofs of Spanish or Mediterranean style homes or buildings, but they have been around almost as long as humans have been creating structures. This traditional material has lots of benefits, but it also comes with some downsides that modern materials have worked to eliminate while maintaining the beauty and durability of Spanish tiles.

The History Of Spanish Tile For Roofing

Though commonly referred to as Spanish barrel tiles or Spanish tiles, the first use of clay roofing tile has been traced back to China and the Middle East around 10,000 B.C. The use of this material then spread through Asia and Europe and was used by ancient Egyptians and Babylonians as well as Greeks and Romans. Clay roofing tiles were brought to America in its early days and have been found in the remains of the 1585 Roanoke Island settlement.

According to the National Park Service, the first clay tiles were imported from Holland by Dutch settlers who then set up their own production in 1650. While the product was popular for its aesthetics, its fire resistant properties were what spurred its popularity in the face of devastating fires in the late 1600s.

Clay roofing tiles continued to be popular throughout history and though commonly associated with Spanish and Mediterranean style homes, could also be found on Victorian, Renaissance Revival, Gothic, and Georgian style homes among others.

Benefits Of Spanish Tile Roofing

This material offers a number of benefits, which explains why it’s been used for over 12,000 years.

Long-Lasting And Durable

Clay tiles typically last 50-100 years with proper maintenance, but some buildings boast clay tile roofs that have been intact for centuries. They maintain their color over time, so while the color may change or fade slightly after long-term exposure to the elements, the natural color variation adds to its beauty. This durability makes it a desirable material for homeowners who want long-lasting strength and beauty.

Weather Resistant

The barrel shape of clay tiles allows water to run off quickly and ventilates the roof to allow for air flow. They are also able to withstand winds of 150 mph.

Less Maintenance Than Other Materials

Clay tiles require more maintenance than other materials like metal or composite, but unlike wood, they don’t need to be sealed or painted, and are naturally fire resistant.

Single Tiles Make Repairs Easier

Spanish barrel tiles are installed as individual tiles, so if a tile needs to be replaced, less roofing will have to be removed than if the tiles or material were installed in larger sheets, as with metal or asphalt roofing.

Drawbacks Of Spanish Barrel Tile


The weight of Spanish barrel tiles can make structural reinforcement necessary. This can add cost and time to a roofing project.

Difficult To Maintain And Repair

Clay tiles require less maintenance than other materials, but when they need attention, repairs and maintenance should be performed by a roofing contractor experienced with clay roofs.


Clay barrel tile is one of the more expensive roofing material options, and maintenance costs can add up over the years.

Spanish Tile Metal Roofing

Spanish tile metal roofing is a modern alternative to a traditional material. To recreate the look of Spanish barrel tiles, metal roofing is formed into a barrel shape and produced in sheets that when installed, mimic the look of a clay tile roof.

Benefits of Spanish tile metal roofing include:

  • Highly durable and impact resistant

  • High water resistance because the material isn’t porous

  • Fire and wind resistant

  • Helps control the internal temperature of the home which helps lower heating and cooling costs

  • Can be made from recycled material and are recyclable themselves

  • Fewer maintenance requirements than Spanish tile roofs

Drawbacks of Spanish tile metal roofing include:

  • Metal is installed in sheets, so if part of the roof needs replacing, you may need to replace a larger portion then if individual tiles were installed

  • Can be more expensive than other materials

  • Can be noisy during storms or hail events

  • Thin sheets and shinier finish don’t exactly replicate the look and feel of barrel tiles

Composite Spanish Barrel Tiles By Brava Are A Great Alternative To Spanish Tile Metal Roofing

Composite barrel tiles allow you to achieve the look of authentic barrel tiles but without the weight and maintenance requirements. Composite roof tiles, unlike clay barrel tiles, don’t require specialized knowledge to install and Brava Spanish Barrel Tiles come with a 50-year limited transferable warranty.

Our wide selection of colors feature the warmth and variegated color patterns of authentic barrel tiles as well as the additional choices of greens and blacks that won’t fade over time. Our composite material allows us to create a thick profile that best captures the full aesthetic of clay, but without the weight.

Brava Spanish Barrel Tiles come with your choice of Class A and Class C fire ratings as well as a Class 4 impact rating, so they rival natural clay for fire resistance and durability.

Contact the experts at Brava today to discuss how our composite tiles compare to clay barrel tiles and request a sample to see the difference for yourself.