Skip to main content

Is your roof old or damaged? Get a free estimate today

« View All Posts

Shingle Styles

What Is A Clay Roof? (Price, Durability, and More)

December 8, 2021 | 3 min. read

Print/Save as PDF

Hearing the news that you need a new roof can send you spiraling. After all, there are so many decisions that need to be made.

Will you be able to secure a loan? Will insurance cover it? What materials do you need?

Finding a suitable shingle material for your home can feel like a nightmare. Rescue My Roof works with people going through this problem every day. We have dedicated our ten years in the industry to educating them so that the process isn’t draining, and they end up with results they love.

Are you searching for the right material for your home? You are in the right place. In this article, we will be covering everything you need to know about clay roofs. 

In the end, you may have discovered a shingle material that you love.

What is a Clay Roof?

A Clay Roof with Varying Shingle Colors

Clay roofs are a premium roofing system made out of clay tiles. These tiles are hand-shaped and then baked at high temperatures. 

Because of the iron content in clay, they are transformed into a red terracotta color when the tiles are baked. Different manufacturer techniques can produce different shades of red, adding a lot of depth to your roof. 

You will often see clay tiles in warmer climates as they can handle extremely high temperatures. If you live in an area prone to heat and wildfires, this may be the right material for you. 

Here’s What You Need to Know About Clay Roofs

1. Clay Roofs Require A Specialized Contractor

When it comes to clay roofs, they are best left to professionals.

Every aspect of this roof requires and experienced experts. Many clay tiles will have unique installation requirements that will vary with the design of the roof.

Additionally, adhering these tiles to the roof will require precision and experience. The fasteners can crack the tiles if they are not done correctly, which will make your roof prone to leaks. 

And depending on the shape of your roof, the shingles may need to be cut and angled during the process to shape them to your roof. If you want clean results, this will require a contractor specializing in clay roofing. 

When looking for the right contractor, ask for references and talk to previous clients. It is essential that they have completed quality work in the past, so you know they are worth the price. 

2. Clay Roofs are Heavy

When we say “heavy,” you might be thinking, “how heavy could it be?”

Very. Clay roofs are approximately three times heavier than a traditional asphalt roof. 

The framing of your home must be up to the challenge of handling the weight of a clay roof.

This may mean reframing parts of your home to add extra support to load-bearing walls. It also means hiring an engineer to inspect your home to ensure the final results are safe and that your roof will not collapse. 

Hiring an engineer and adding supports to your home are not expenses included in the estimate for your roof. If you have a low budget, you may want to steer clear of clay roofing systems. 

3. Clay Roofs Are Extremely Durable 

Clay shingles

Under the right conditions, clay roofs can last up to 75-100 years. 

The right conditions include not being walked on (which can damage the tiles), avoiding falling tree branches, and avoiding the extreme cold of northern climates. 

If these conditions are met, the tiles may outlast their underlayment and even the home. Underlayments will have to be replaced every 30 to 40 years, and then the clay tiles can be reused. 

4. Clay Roofs Can Be Pricey

Once installed, clay roofs can cost anywhere from $15 to $25 per square foot. 

They are much more expensive than asphalt shingles, but they are less expensive than the slate and concrete alternatives. 

However, reinforcing the structure of your home is a cost that should be factored into your budget. That work alone can cost up to $10,000. 

The upside is that you will get a roof that will stand the test of time. So if you want to replace a roof and never think about it again, the price may be worth it. 

Is A Clay Roof Right For You?

Beautiful Clay Tiles

Picking a roofing material can be challenging, but when it comes to clay roofing, there are two significant factors to consider: budget and the structure of your home.

If a clay roof appeals to you, one of the first steps should be calling an engineer to inspect your home. If your home is not up to the weighty challenge clay roofs present, you will need to beef up the structure of your home. 

This leads right to our next point: you need to evaluate your budget. You could easily spend upwards of $40,000 installing a clay roof. Examine your budget ahead of time to ensure this roof is financially feasible for you. 

If you’ve concluded that a clay roof is in your future, read more about the roof estimation and installation process with “What to Expect at Your Roof Estimation Appointment” and “7 Things to Complete Before Your Roof Replacement.”

Rescue My Roof does not install clay roofing, but if it is not the roof type for you or require other services, we are here to help! You can contact us today to get started with an estimate or guidance.