Clay tile roofs are some of the world’s oldest roofing materials, dating back millennia. While there are numerous different types of clay terracotta roofs, Spanish-style tiles became quite popular in the American Southeast and Southwest due to their ability to efficiently transfer heat in warm climates such as Florida and California. 

Unlike similar-looking Mission-style clay barrel tiles, Spanish tiles are crafted into a rounded “S” shape. They also don’t feature pans and covers seen on Mission and other varieties of clay roofing tiles. Because they have a uniform design, Spanish tiles cannot be staggered and are typically more difficult to install. Like Mission-style clay tile roofs, Spanish tiles require eave closures to shield the roof deck from pests and moisture.

The Advantages

Attractive and durable, Spanish tile roofs offer many noteworthy benefits, including: 

Eco-friendly: Since Spanish tiles are made from natural materials, they are easily recycled and very environmentally friendly.

Heat and fire resistant: In addition to reflecting solar radiant heat, Spanish tiles insulate homes during colder months. Thanks to their curved structure, the tiles can ventilate better and keep hot air out. Clay tiles are also very fire-resistant, receiving a superior Class A fire rating.

Low maintenance: Installing Spanish tiles comes with heavy upfront costs, but you won’t have to spend very much on repairs. Even homeowners in volatile climates with tornadoes and hurricanes can rely on their Spanish clay tiles to withstand heavy winds.

Long lifespan: Thanks to their impressive durability, Spanish tiles can literally last a lifetime. Due mostly to this longevity, most companies will offer a 50-year or even 70-year material warranty.

Increased curb appeal: Because of their environmentally friendly materials, long lifespan and aesthetically pleasing rustic appearance, Spanish tiles can increase your property value by several thousands of  dollars. Homes with clay roofs also tend to sell faster than homes with other roofing products such as asphalt shingles. 

spanish tile roof

The Disadvantages

While they come with many benefits, Spanish tiles do have a few drawbacks, such as:

Cost: Perhaps the greatest downside to Spanish tiles is their high upfront cost. The materials are expensive, and installation is also more difficult, requiring a skilled contractor and higher labor costs.

Fragility: Although Spanish tiles are able to withstand very severe weather conditions; thry can break or crack in response to cold temperatures or heavy impact. For this reason, Spanish clay tiles tend to perform better in drier, warmer climates.

Weight: Because they are extremely heavy, Spanish tiles often require structural reinforcement. A single square of clay tiles can weigh 800 up to 1,250 pounds. Before installation, it’s recommended to check the underlayment and underlying roof system to make sure it will meet local building codes. If your home can’t support the weight of a clay roof, you will have to choose another roofing material or pay to have support structures added to your existing roofing system. 

Slope requirements: Most roofing materials have at least a minimum slope requirement based on warranty specifications and building codes. Many roofing materials, including Spanish clay tiles, usually require a 4:12 roof slope.

Are Spanish Tiles Right for Your Home?

Although they are pricier than most other roofing materials; Spanish tiles are also among the longest-lasting and most aesthetically pleasing materials available. A Spanish clay tile roof can withstand most types of severe weather, including hail, extreme heat and even hurricane winds. That said, they can also be easily damaged by foot traffic and falling debris. Nonetheless, Spanish tiles can be a worthy investment that increases your property value and remains durable for a lifetime. 

If you are interested in installing clay Spanish tiles on your roof, bear in mind that they perform best if your home is in a drier climate. Before you consider this or any other roofing option, however, it helps to get insight from an experienced local roofing contractor, such as A to Z Roofing and Exteriors.

Whether you need Spanish tiles, dyed concrete roofing tiles or some other kind of roofing material, A to Z is here to help. For decades we’ve provided Colorado homeowners and commercial businesses with top-quality roofing based on their unique needs. Whether you need a brand new roof, a thorough restoration or targeted repairs, we can do the job right, while working within your schedule and budget. Contact our attentive team to learn how we can restore, repair or replace your damaged or aging roof.