Tile Roofs vs. Shingle Roofs (Differences, Pros, Cons With Images)

Tile roofs and shingle roofs are two popular choices for durable and long-lasting roofing. Both of these roofings outperform traditional roofs in terms of functionality as well as curb appeal! But which one has more lifespan, and which one will keep your pockets from burning?

Today we’ll analyze and compare different features of a tile roof and a shingle roof to help you choose the best roofing for your sweet home!

Key Takeaways

  • Tile and shingle roofs differ in durability and adaptability to different climates. Where tiles last about 60 – 70 years, shingles might warp after 20- 25 years.
  • Shingle roofs have a lower upfront cost but require frequent repairs and checks. But tiles have lower operating costs and save energy bills in the long run.
  • Roof tiles reduce the attic temperature, whereas shingles absorb and retain heat. So, they need artificial venting and insulation.
  • Shingles have high tensile strength, whereas tiles might break due to load or debris. But let’s compare some other significant differences to make the right choice!

What Is a Tile Roof?

Tile Roof

Roof tiles are interlocking terracotta or slate tiles on lighter roof deckings. They are thicker and heavier than shingles and use a sturdy ¼ – inch section. So, they adhere well and do not blow away, chip, or warp easily.

A tile roof is also more weather and wind resistant than shingles. And since it reflects most of the incident UV rays, it doesn’t discolor and lose its shine easily. It is also more durable and has less repair costs.

Moreover, tiles are energy-efficient and reduce air conditioning costs drastically. So, a tile roof is the best to lower the temperature and humidity in tropical areas.

But, being brittle, roof tiles might break with heavy chimney load and weather with rain, causing leakage. So, you must reglaze them with enamel or apply neem oil to reduce water absorption. You can also add a roof vent to keep them dry.

Average Cost$ 4 – 16 per square foot, or $ 11,000 – 25,000 for a medium-sized roof.
Average Lifespan70 – 80 years
Standard Sizes and Thicknesses170 X 270mm with a 1 – 1 ½ inch thickness

Inspect the roof and remove any clogged debris with a high-pressure water hose or vacuum. Or, dust the tiles with a soft brush if you live in a sandy area.

What Is a Shingle Roof?

Colored Roof Shingles

Shingle roofs are made of interlocking wood, asphalt or concrete slabs installed on the roof rafters. They are lightweight and can adapt to complex roof shapes and high pitches, unlike a tile roof. They are also faster to install, needing less labor and tools.

Shingles also have better heat retention, making them the best for temperate and chilly areas. But, you must add a roof gutter to drain the snow and save them from discoloring.

However, shingles might weather and catch fungus due to heavy moisture. So, you might need heavy repairs and replacements with this one. Or, you’ll need to install a roof flashing for protection.

Shingles also have better warranty coverage than roof tiles and reduce maintenance costs. But since they aren’t recyclable, it’s difficult to dispose of them after use. So, limit them to smaller decked or multi-layered roofs for the best performance.

Average Cost$4 – 5 per square foot; $12000 – 15000 for the whole roof
Average Lifespan15 – 30 years
Standard Sizes and Thicknesses16, 18, and 24-inch long shingles with varying widths

Use darker brown, black or red shingles to mask the dust and roof warping. You can also check popular shingle color ideas here.

Differences Between a Tile Roof & Shingle Roof

Both roof tiles and shingles are efficient roof covers but suit different climates, pitches and roof styles. So, let’s compare the two and pick the best roof cover for your home.

1. Appearance & Colors

Modern Cream House with Dark Green Roofs

Tile roofs are pretty traditional and design French, Spanish or country-side homes. But they have less color options than shingles, and mainly look dramatic.

In contrast, shingles are more versatile, designing a different decor with different colors. For instance, dark black or brown shingles look formal and classical. But red, green, or blue shingles look flashy and add a modern edge to the design.

Use asphalt or resin shingles for a modern look, but pick wooden or clay shingles for a traditional appearance.

2. Durability

Tile roofs are durable and last for 70 – 80 years without heavy repairs. Since they are thick and heavy, they won’t break or deform with the wind. And though a tile roof may catch fungus and turn greenish, it is easily reglazable with simple oil and paint.

But, shingles might warp and weather down after only 20 – 30 years. Plus, they are more sensitive to humidity and might slide or bend with rain. So, they are less durable and have high repair costs.

Caulk the shingles and use a vapor barrier to absorb the extra humidity and reduce warping.

3. Weight

Roof tiles are pretty heavy and weigh 9 – 12 pounds per square foot. So, you’ll need stronger roof trusses and rafters to hold them. But shingles are relatively lightweight and can work well with any structural system.

Reinforce the roof trusses with steel gusset plates and clamps to hold heavy roof tiles efficiently.

4. Ease of Installation & Repairs

Asphalt Shingles for Roofing

Shingles are very easy to install and can be DIY with simple screws and adhesives. Their low weight makes them even easier to lift, interlock or replace when damaged.

In contrast, roof tiles need more screwing, cementing, and caulking during installation. And since they might slide and break during heavy repairs, it’s best to call a professional for help!

Never walk or rest your equipments on the roof tiles as they might break and cause more damage due to the load.

5. Costs

Roof Vents for Attic Ventilation

Shingles are much more affordable than roof tiles and cost about $65 – 80 per square. Additionally, they’ll need about $1000 for the labor and $400 – 500 for the underlay and tools. So, the total cost ranges from $3000 – 3500.

Tile roofs, on the other hand, cost $120 – 250 per square. Plus, they’ll need additional $1000 – 2000 to reinforce the trusses and $500 for the cementing. So, the total cost ranges from $11,000 – 25,000 for a single tile roof.

Add a vapor barrier or felt and use lightweight metal or aluminum tiles to reduce the reinforcement costs.

Here are some more points to compare tile and shingle roofs:

ParameterTile RoofShingle Roof
Cost$ 4 – 16 per square foot; High upfront cost and low long-term cost$ 4 – 5 per square foot; Low upfront cost, but high long-term cost
Thickness1 – 1 ½ inch; Heavy3/16 inch; Lightweight
Roof Pitch15 – 30°12 – 45°
Popular colorsRed, Blue, Plum, GreenBlack, Brown, Red, Green
Average Weight9.5 – 12 pounds per square foot2 – 3.5 pounds per square foot
RetrofittingCan be installed over shinglesYou’ll need to tear off old shingles to place new ones
Energy Savings60 – 70% on air conditioning15 – 20% on electricity consumption
AvailabilityMetal and Concrete tiles are more readily available, but Clay and Terracotta ones are hard to getEasy to get at any local roofing store
AcousticsLow sound control; Might break with heavy vibrationsAbsorbs noise; Better Acoustics
ReuseEnvironment-friendly and recyclable up to 60%You cannot recycle or reuse shingles
Preferred ClimateWarm, Windy or TropicalChilly or Temperate
Resale Value3 – 4% depending on the tile material1 – 2% depending on the roof size

Which Is the Best Roof to Use in Extreme Climates?

Repairing a Metal Roof

Tile roofs are the best for sunny regions because they reflect heat and keep roofs cooler. And since they don’t blow away with the wind, you can use them in tropical areas too. But, they might weather down with rain and catch fungus in humid regions.

In contrast, shingles are better for temperate climates and don’t leak or bend with heavy rain and snow load.

Clean the roof tiles with a non-abrasive cleaner and coat them with paraffin or wax to reduce fungus.

Which Roof Has Better Energy Efficiency?

Tile roofs are more energy efficient than shingles and lower the exhaust flow by 60 – 70%. Their interlocking gaps and hollow sections let in more air and reduce the humidity. So, they reduce the total air conditioning costs by 10 – 12%.

On the other hand, shingles absorb heat. So, they need more air conditioning inside and hike energy use drastically.

Use solar or Class-A rated shingles to generate electricity and lower external energy use.

Which Roof Has the Best Fire Resistance?

Shingle roofing options

Tile roofs have a better Class A or B fire rating, making them resistant to forest fires and lightning strikes. So, you can use them for low-story roofs in dry or woody regions.

On the other hand, shingles are petroleum, wood, or asphalt-based. So they might catch fire and spread it to the attic.

Coat the shingles with a polymer-based fire retardant or mount a burn barrier to control the fire spread.

Which Roof Has Lower Maintenance?

Shingles have less maintenance and need simple cleaning with bleach or vinegar to remove the dust. And their underlayer eliminates the warping and fungus, lowering maintenance costs.

But, tile roofs are vulnerable to fungus and can’t stand heavy rains. So, you’ll need to scrub and replace the broken tiles from time to time. Or, you can coat them with wax or oil for better moisture control.

Add a vapor barrier or thick rigid foam insulation to absorb the extra moisture between the roof tiles and keep them dry.

Tips for Picking the Best Roof for Your House

  • You can use roof shingles for complex roof shapes and multi-layer roofs. But you must limit heavy roof tiles to simple, low-pitched roofs.
  • Pick roof tiles in dry, sunny regions, but use shingles for snowy houses.
  • Use shingles if you have olden roof rafters with inadequate bracing and decking.
  • Choose roof tiles for better durability and energy performance in tropical or windy areas.
  • Use shingles for easy, DIY roofs without professional help in the countryside.
  • Select roof tiles for better energy performance, but go with shingles for better curb appeal.

Do Tile, and Shingle Roofs Lower the Energy Costs?

Tile roofs are energy efficient and reflect about 70% of the incident light. So, they reduce cooling costs and save energy. In contrast, shingles absorb heat and increase cooling costs.

Do Tile and Shingle Roofs Need Insulation?

Shingle roofs need insulation to maintain the humidity and temperature inside. But tile roofs might turn humid or soggy with foam and work best if left uninsulated.

Can Tile Roofs Withstand Hail?

No, tile roofs break with hail and might slide or crack with heavy snow loads. So, you must add some roofing cement under them and seal their joints for better strength.

Tile and shingle roofs are efficient roof covers, but where shingles are more affordable, tiles are double the price! In contrast, tiles are more durable and don’t need heavy repairs, but shingles are less sturdier and break easily.

So, use our comparison table and guide to pick the best roofing for your climate and style! You can even go with easy-to-fix metal panels for a modern, urbane look. But are metal roofs better than shingles? Let’s compare them to know more!