23rd Apr 2024 -

In today's construction landscape, concrete roof tiles have emerged as a desirable roofing material. Once primarily associated with traditional styles, concrete tiles have undergone a modern revamp. They offer a combination of functionality and versatility that caters to contemporary building projects. Here, we explore what concrete roof tiles offer for modern construction.

What is a concrete roof tile?

A concrete roof tile is made from a mixture of cement, sand, water and other additives. They are moulded into a specific shape and cured to achieve strength and durability. Concrete tiles are typically curved or flat and are designed to overlap and interlock when installed on a sloped roof surface. They are an attractive and long-lasting roofing solution, available in various colours and styles to complement a building's architecture. 

5 different concrete tiles for roofing

From the modern appeal of flat tiles to high-profile barrel tiles, the variety of concrete tile options balances aesthetics with functionality. Below, we explore the different types of concrete roof tiles and their ideal applications.

1. Flat tiles 

Flat concrete roof tiles are the most basic option. They feature a smooth, uniform surface and are typically rectangular. Also known as plain concrete roof tiles, they are best suited for simple, modern architectural designs. Flat tiles are well-suited for roofs with a low pitch or slope.

2. Low-profile tiles

Low-profile tiles mimic the appearance of natural slate or wood shakes. Also known as slate or shingle tiles, they have a textured surface and a thicker profile than flat tiles. Low-profile tiles are used in various architectural styles, from contemporary to traditional. They offer better resistance to weather elements and are suitable for most climates.

3. High-profile tiles

High-profile tiles, such as barrel tiles, feature a distinct curved or rounded shape that creates a textured roofline. These tiles are often associated with dry climates. Their intricate profiles provide excellent water-shedding capabilities and ventilation. This makes them a popular choice in regions prone to heavy rainfall or high humidity.

4. Interlocking tiles

Concrete interlocking roof tiles are designed with overlapping edges that create a watertight surface. These tiles are available in various profiles and are known for their superior resistance to water infiltration. Interlocking tiles are suitable for areas with extreme weather conditions. They are primarily used in coastal areas and exposed locations.

5. Composite tiles

Composite concrete tiles are a blend of cement and other materials, such as recycled plastics or fibres. These tiles are lightweight and durable with enhanced resistance to fading and moisture. Composite tiles are suitable for a wide range of architectural styles. They can be used in most climates, making them a versatile and eco-friendly choice.

What are the benefits of concrete roof tiling?

Concrete roof tiles are an excellent choice for modern construction projects. Here are the key benefits of concrete roof tiles to consider.

Longevity and durability 

The composition of concrete tiles makes them highly resistant to crack damage, warping or deterioration. This is caused by extreme temperatures, UV radiation and environmental factors. Plus, concrete tiles are resistant to rot, insect infestations and fire, ensuring long-lasting protection for the building envelope.

Low maintenance

Unlike asphalt shingles or metal roofing, concrete tiles require minimal upkeep. They are not susceptible to moss or mildew growth. Their colour is integrated throughout the tile, eliminating the need for frequent repainting or staining. Occasional cleaning with a garden hose or soft-bristled brush is all that is needed to maintain their appearance. 

Energy efficiency 

Tiling a roof with concrete tiles can help regulate indoor temperatures. During the day, the tiles absorb and store heat, gradually releasing it at night as the temperatures drop. 

This cooling effect reduces the need for air conditioning. Also, some concrete tiles like barrel and high-profile options are designed with integrated air channels that promote ventilation.

Weather resistance 

Concrete roof tiles are engineered to withstand extreme weather conditions. Their interlocking designs and weight provide superior resistance to wind uplift. Some specialist products are rated for winds up to 180 mph. Their composition also makes them highly resistant to hail impact. Class 4 impact ratings are common in many concrete tile products.

Fire safety 

With a non-combustible Class A fire rating, concrete tiles offer the highest level of fire resistance. This makes them an ideal choice for homes in regions with stringent fire codes. Concrete roof tiles prevent the spread of flames and can withstand intense heat, delivering a critical barrier against fire damage.

Do concrete roof tiles become porous?

Some minor porosity is inevitable over time because of weathering and ageing. However, concrete roof tiles are manufactured to minimise the risk of them becoming excessively porous. Here are some reasons why concrete roof tiles do not become overly porous.

  • Low water-cement ratio: Concrete roof tiles are made with a relatively low water-cement ratio, typically around 0.3 to 0.4. This low ratio results in a denser concrete matrix with fewer interconnected pores and capillaries.
  • Proper curing: Concrete roof tiles undergo a controlled curing process involving moisture and heat. Proper curing allows the cement to fully hydrate and gain strength, reducing porosity.
  • Admixtures: Manufacturers often add admixtures like fly ash and silica fume to the concrete mix. These admixtures react with the cement and fill in microscopic pores. This improves the tile's density and impermeability.
  • Surface treatments: Many concrete roof tiles are coated with specialised sealants, acrylics or other surface treatments. They help block pores and prevent water absorption.
  • Concrete mix design: The mix design for concrete roof tiles is optimised for strength and durability. It utilises high-quality aggregates, cement and mix proportions that result in a dense material.

How long do concrete roof tiles last?

While concrete roof tiles are renowned for their durability and long lifespan of approximately 50-100 years, proper maintenance is important to reach their full potential. Here are the 4 key maintenance techniques that contribute to the longevity of concrete tile roofs. 

1. Regular inspections and cleaning

One of the most effective maintenance practices is regular inspection and cleaning. It is recommended to conduct a visual inspection at least once a year. Check for any cracked, broken or displaced tiles. This allows for quick repair work and prevents further damage. 

Tiles should also be cleaned to remove accumulated debris, such as leaves, branches or dirt. It can be done with a soft-bristled brush or a low-pressure water hose, taking care not to dislodge or damage the tiles. Cleaning prevents the growth of moss and mildew that could potentially retain moisture. 

2. Ventilation and moisture management

Attic ventilation is essential for concrete tile roofs, as it helps regulate temperature and moisture levels, preventing condensation and potential damage. Ensure that vents and ridge caps are clear of obstructions, and consider installing additional ventilation systems if necessary.

It is also important to address any sources of moisture intrusion promptly, such as leaks around skylights, chimneys or other roof penetrations. Unresolved moisture issues will likely lead to premature deterioration of the tiles and underlying roof structure.

3. Repairing and replacing damaged tiles

Despite their durability, concrete tiles can become cracked or broken because of factors such as severe weather events or impact from fallen branches. When such damage occurs, it is crucial to repair or replace the affected tiles as soon as possible. Depending on the extent of the damage, individual tiles can be replaced, ensuring a seamless integration with the existing roof. You can fit new tiles using a drill, fasteners and tile adhesive.

4. Proper roof traffic management

Excessive foot traffic on a concrete tile roof system can lead to premature wear and damage. If access to the roof is necessary for maintenance, it is essential to use appropriate walkways or roof ladders. This distributes weight evenly and minimises the risk of cracking or dislodging tiles. Also, it is recommended to avoid unnecessary foot traffic on the roof, especially during inclement weather conditions or when the tiles are wet.

Are concrete roof tiles cost-effective?

When evaluating roofing options, understanding the cost considerations is crucial. The following table provides a direct comparison between clay tile roof vs concrete tile roof structures. We outline predicted UK costs across various aspects - from initial investment to installation, maintenance and repairs.

AspectConcrete Roof TilesClay Roof Tiles
Material costs (per m2)£40 - £70£60 - £100
Installation cost (per m2)£15 - £25£20 - £40
Total average material and installation cost (per m2)£55 - £95£80 - £140
Expected lifespan50 - 100 years30 - 50 years
Replacement frequencyOnce in a building's lifetimeEvery 30 - 50 years
Annual maintenance cost£50 - £100£100 - £200
Repair costs (per tile)£5 - £15£10 - £25

How to buy top-notch concrete tile roofing materials

We take pride in offering a comprehensive selection of high-quality grey, dark brown and red concrete roof tiles. From Redland to Sandtoft and Marley concrete roof tiles, all materials are sourced from leading manufacturers. Trust that your roofing project will benefit from the reliability and longevity of superb concrete roof tiles. 

For trade customers looking to simplify the process of buying materials, opening a trade account with us is the best solution. Our trade accounts offer convenient access to our extensive product range, competitive trade pricing and personalised service tailored to your requirements. Sign up today for a trade account or contact the team with your questions.

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