Shingle vs. Tile Roofs: Benefits, Drawbacks, and Differences

By Updated February 6, 2024

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Shingles and tiles are two of the most popular materials for roofing projects. Both are relatively durable and transform your home’s look. However, there are some very important differences between the two, namely their durability, energy efficiency, and cost. Our article looks at how shingle roofs compare to tile roofs, what each material offers, and how to choose the right one for your home.


What Is a Shingle Roof?

Shingle roofs can be made of a few different materials, but the most common is asphalt. Thanks to their cost and ease of repair, asphalt shingle roofs are the most popular roofing choice in the United States, but they offer limited roofing options to homeowners seeking more custom architecture.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Shingle Roof

The biggest benefit of an asphalt shingle roof is its cost-effectiveness, but the main drawback is that you’ll need a roof replacement sooner.

➕ Affordable
➕ Easily repaired or replaced
➕ Lightweight

➖ Limited design options
➖ Not very energy-efficient
➖ Shorter life span compared to other roof types


What Is a Tile Roof?

A tile roof is a durable, energy-efficient option that gives your home a beautiful, distinct finish. Manufacturers create tiles from materials such as clay or concrete, which contain no preservatives and are easily recycled. They also come in many colors, shapes, and styles to help match your home’s aesthetic.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Tile Roof

While a tile roof can be a significant investment, it can easily last a century or more, thanks to its pest and weather resistance.

➕ Can last for 100 years
➕ Energy efficient and can help lower utility costs
➕ Extremely durable and weather resistant
➕ Retains color longer

➖ Brittle against pressure
➖ Heavier tiles require a strong roof structure
➖ Requires a larger up-front cost
➖ Roof must be at a steep enough slope for proper installation


Comparing Shingle and Tile Roofs

Shingle and tile roofs adequately shield your home’s upper exterior and offer a layered design that you can customize to some extent. The following sections cover how they compare when it comes to cost, durability, and more.

Cost

Shingle roofs cost an average of $5,000 to $18,000 for a 1,500-square-foot roof, making them more cost-effective for most homeowners. On the other hand, a tile roof will cost homeowners $8,000 to $23,000.

Durability

Both tile and asphalt roofs are durable and protect your home, but their longevity and strengths differ. Tile roofs are very weather resistant, helping to shield your home from perils such as high winds, fire, hail, pests, snow, and even seismic activity. Unfortunately, they can be easily cracked if you walk on the tiles or a tree limb falls on the roof.

Asphalt shingles are relatively durable and can be easily replaced when damaged. They’re not fire-resistant but can withstand moderate impacts and winds up to about 60 mph. They’re more susceptible to pests, mildew, and algae growth.

Energy Efficiency

Tile roofs are considered one of the most energy-efficient types of roofing materials. They provide excellent thermal protection and roof airflow that can keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter and even reduce your overall energy costs by up to 20%.

Asphalt shingle roofs are not known for being very energy efficient. You can increase your roof’s solar reflective properties and slightly improve performance by choosing a lighter color asphalt tile.

Installation

The asphalt and tile roof installation process is relatively simple. Both are overlapped and secured to the roof’s structure. Tiles are secured with clips, while asphalt shingles are nailed down or stapled to the decking.

Maintenance

Tile roofs are very low maintenance, but you’ll need to have them inspected occasionally and replace any cracked or broken tiles. You must inspect asphalt shingle roofs regularly to check for damage, missing tiles, and mold or mildew growth. If asphalt shingles are missing or damaged, you’ll need to replace the adjacent shingles or, in some cases, the entire roof.

Value

Your roof’s age, composition, and state can affect your current property value and resale value if you ever plan to sell. Asphalt roofs require a smaller up-front investment, but don’t expect it to add much value to your home if you sell. Since tile roofs can easily last a century or longer, provide greater energy efficiency, and even come with a decades-long warranty, they may add greater value to your property and make it more marketable.

Weight

Asphalt shingles are notably lighter than tiles, reducing the load weight on your home. They’re better for certain roof pitches and unreinforced structures because of their lighter weight, but this contributes to their limited durability. Clay tile roofs are much heavier and may require a roofing contractor to reinforce your roof before installation.


Other Types of Roofing Materials

Asphalt shingles and clay tiles aren’t the only roofing materials. Depending on your home’s layout and aesthetic, your budget, and even your climate, you can consider various other materials and types of shingles, such as:


Additional Considerations When Choosing a Roof

There are many factors to consider when planning to put a roof on a new or existing home. For instance, some materials are better suited to certain climates, and choosing the right roof material can improve energy efficiency and durability throughout the seasons.

You’ll need to consider the layout and structure of your home. Your roof’s pitch, design, and style may dictate which materials you can and can’t use. You may want to look around your neighborhood or town to find similar-style homes, comparing the different looks to find the one you want. Going for a heavier roof than you currently have may be possible, but it could require you to reinforce your roof’s structure first.


Our Recommendation

We recommend a tile roof if you can afford it because it will offer more longevity and better energy efficiency. However, an asphalt shingle roof is still a great choice if you live in an area with milder weather and want something more cost-effective. No matter which type you prefer, it’s still important to consult with a roofer to determine which is best for your climate and home.

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Shingle vs. Tile Roof FAQ

Is a tile roof better than shingles?

A tile roof is better than asphalt shingles for homeowners looking to maximize the life span of their roof. Clay or concrete tiles are durable, sustainable, and can easily last a century or more while giving you nearly limitless design and color options from which to choose. On the other hand, asphalt shingles are a popular, cost-effective, and lightweight option that you can install on nearly any type of home.

What is the most efficient u003ca href=u0022https://www.architecturaldigest.com/reviews/roofing/best-type-of-roofu0022u003etype of roofu003c/au003e?

Tiles are some of the most efficient roofing products available today, giving homeowners an energy-efficient option to help regulate their home’s temperature and reduce energy costs. Metal roofs are also very efficient, helping to reflect solar rays and keep your home cool.

Can you replace shingles with tiles?

Yes, you can replace an existing shingle roof with a tile roof if the roof has the right slope and is strong enough to withstand the added weight. Roofers may need to reinforce the current roof before they install a tile roof.

What kind of tiles are most durable?

Clay and concrete tiles are arguably the most durable roofing materials available today, easily lasting decades, if not centuries. They’re extremely weather, pest, and water damage resistant, and if a single tile is damaged, a roofer can easily replace it without impacting nearby tiles.

What is the most cost-effective roofing?

Asphalt u003ca href=u0022https://www.architecturaldigest.com/reviews/roofing/best-roof-shinglesu0022u003eshingle roofsu003c/au003e are the most cost-effective roofing material available. They’re affordable and simple to install and can withstand moderate weather, wind, and UV light for decades before they require replacing.