Spanish clay tile roofs are beautiful and are the signature look of many Mediterranean-style homes. The barrel shape of the tile gives the roof a contoured appearance while shedding water and providing better airflow than typical asphalt shingles. Part of their charm is that many of these roofs are the color of natural clay and remind the homeowner of days gone by when these barrel tiles would have been made by hand and sun-dried. In fact, there are still companies that make these tiles by hand and dry them in hand-operated kilns.
Spanish Tile Roof Life Expectancy
But what cost does this attractiveness come at? What is the average Spanish tile roof life expectancy? Are real clay tile roofs expensive to maintain?
The Pros And Cons Of Clay Spanish Tile Roofs
Clay tile’s popularity in the U.S. started in the 1700s around New York when it was discovered that they had a high resistance to fire. The fires that destroyed a large number of homes in London in the late 1600s were still fresh in the minds of homeowners in America, so the number of clay barrel tile roofs began to increase rapidly. Their popularity continued to grow as architects and designers started including barrel roofs in the Italian Villa designs as well as other Mediterranean grand homes. Today, Spanish tile roofs are seen on many homes in America and Europe.
Pros of Spanish Tile Roofs
In addition to being fire retardant, clay Spanish tile roofs have other positive points:
- Readily available in most areas, making it economical
- Can be glazed in different colors offering a variety of choices
- Can be recycled
- Easily emits the heat it absorbs back into the atmosphere, rather than transferring it to the decking of the home.
- Some manufacturers offer a 50-year warranty for their clay tiles.
Cons of Spanish Tile Roofs
One of the first questions asked by people considering natural barrel tile roofing is: “How long will clay tiles last on my roof?” This is a good question because the life expectancy of Spanish clay tiles is based on a number of factors. Even though they may have a 50-year warranty, there are issues that can cause the tiles to degrade long before the warranty has expired.
How much water do they absorb? Whether you are purchasing tile for a new roof project or considering buying a home with an older existing clay roof you will want to know what grade the tile is.
This is particularly important in areas that have extreme freeze/thaw cycles. The more water the clay absorbs, the faster it will deteriorate as the water freezes in the tile and expands. After this happens, the tiles are less resistant to future freezes. Only Class 1 clay tiles meet the specifications of ASTM C1167 and are made to withstand these types of temperature swings.
How often is maintenance performed on the roof?
Clay barrel tiles are strong as long as they are not resisting anything but wind and rain. However, they are brittle and can easily break when being walked on during maintenance. Broken tiles are difficult to repair without causing further damage.
Clay tiles are susceptible to damage from falling tree limbs or other heavy objects. Clay is strong but brittle. Replacing broken tiles can be very expensive.
Mold and algae buildup can cause water to dam on the roof and result in the tile chipping and deteriorating.
Synthetic Spanish Barrel Roof Tiles Are An Excellent Long-Life Alternative to Clay
You want the beauty and charm of barrel roof tiles on your home but there are a number of negatives associated with natural clay:
- Extremely heavy and can be costly to add the structure to your roof to support the extra weight
- Require expensive specialists to install them properly and safely.
Brava’s Synthetic Spanish Barrel tiles offer all of the advantages of real clay - and more - with none of the negatives.
- 50-year limited warranty
- Made entirely from recycled material - fully recyclable
- Class A fire rating
- Class 4 impact rating - highest in the industry
- Available in any color, and the color is throughout the tile, not just on the surface
- Installation does not require the use of specialists
- Not affected by freeze/thaw cycles
- Easy to maintain
- The only white composite tile on the market
All of our tiles are 3rd-party tested by accredited labs and are Miami-Dade County approved. All of our designs replicate the look of their natural counterpart including differing widths and thickness on the Cedar Shake and Old World Slate.