Clay tile roofs, also known as terracotta shingle roofs or Spanish roofs, are some of the most popular options for Southwestern or Mediterranean-style homes. They cost more than standard asphalt shingles, but their durability, heat resistance, and aesthetic appeal can make them a worthy investment.
You can expect to pay $16,524 to $23,885 to install new clay tiles on a standard-sized roof. However, your actual cost will depend heavily on the size of your roof, where you live, and the exact type of clay tiles you choose.
We’ll go over everything you need to know about clay roofing materials, including their costs, major benefits, and designs. We analyzed information from industrial suppliers and real contractors to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information on clay roof tiles.
- Clay roofs are significantly more expensive than traditional asphalt-shingled roofs.
- Converting to a clay roof may also require you to invest in expensive new supports for your roof structure.
- However, clay roofs are distinctively beautiful and can last for as long as 100 years or more with the right care.
What Is the Cost of a Clay Roof?
The national average clay roof cost is between $9.72 and $14.05 per square foot, including labor, material, and overhead costs. For a 1,700-square-foot roof – a standard size in the United States – that means you can expect to pay $16,524 to $23,885.
This is usually a lot more than what a traditional asphalt shingle roof costs, which is around $12,500 on average.
Clay tiles also come in numerous styles and designs, which can affect your price. Some of these, like flat tiles, are less costly, while some are considered luxury options and will be much more expensive. Below we’ll break down the total cost ranges for clay roof installations, including material, overhead, and labor costs.
|Cost Level||Material cost||Installation cost||Total||Project total for a typical roof|
|High End||$9.60–$12.80||$5.40– $7.20||$15–$20+||$25,500–$34,000+|
Our cost data comes from RSMeans, a price estimator database for contractors. The estimates included in this article cover materials and average installation costs. Project totals reflect a 1,700-square-foot roof.
What Is the Cost of a Clay Roof by Type?
Several varieties of clay roof tiles are available for your next home roof replacement. Each style has unique looks and benefits, like better airflow, heavier weight, or a more economical price.
Flat roof tiles are the “baseline model” for any stone roof material. These tiles have a flat, simple design; this allows them to be quickly and efficiently installed, making them highly cost-effective. As such, these are the least expensive roof tiles available, typically costing between $8 to $9.75 per square foot to install. For a typical roof, that puts your total bill at around $13,600 to $16,575.
These are the most common type of clay tile available, typically seen in midwestern or Mediterranean climates, such as Florida and Utah. They have a rounded, barrel-like appearance and interlock, so when placed onto a home, they present a beautiful wave-like appearance. You can expect to pay between $9 and $14 per square foot for Spanish tiles. For a standard 1,700-square-foot roof, that means your total costs would be between $15,300 and $23,800.
Mission tiles, also known as “double-roman” tiles, have a similar appearance to the Spanish style but don’t overlap. Instead, mission tiles are nailed directly to the underlayment or battens. These tiles are thinner and have smaller channels, making them slightly more fragile and difficult to install. You can expect to pay between $9 to $12 per square foot for mission-style clay tiles. For a typical U.S. roof, that puts your final cost between $15,300 and $20,400.
Less common in the United States, French tiles are some of the most water-resistant stone roofing tiles. They interlock on all four sides and have a tighter seal against water, allowing less moisture to access the underlayment. They’re also some of the heaviest and most difficult to install. These are a pricier type of tile, typically costing between $10.90 to $15 per square foot. For a standard roof, your costs would likely be between $18,530 and $25,500.
Like Spanish-style tiles, barrel tiles have a round appearance but are much larger with more space beneath, making them heat and mold resistant. However, they’re heavy and challenging to manage, making them expensive. Barrel-style tiles typically cost between $15 and $20 per square foot. This puts your total cost on a standard roof between $25,500 and $34,000.
How Much Do Clay Roofs Cost by Roof Size?
Right after material type and tile design, the next most important factor in your clay roof installation cost will be the total square footage. The larger the roof, the more materials and labor hours are required to complete the job.
Below is a chart that details the total expected cost of a clay tile roof installation based on common national roof sizes. Remember, a typical roof comes in around 1,700 square feet. A professional roofing contractor can help you quickly determine the size of your roof.
|Roof Size (Square Feet)||Price Range||Average Cost|
|1,000||$9,720 – $14,050||$11,885|
|1,500||$14,580 – $21,075||$17,828|
|2,000||$19,440 – $28,100||$23,770|
|2,500||$24,300 – $35,125||$29,713|
|3,000||$29,160 – $42,150||$35,655|
|3,500||$34,020 – $49,175||$41,598|
|4,000||$38,880 – $56,200||$47,540|
|4,500||$43,740 – $63,225||$53,483|
|5,000||$48,600 – $70,250||$59,425|
How Much Does a Clay Roof Cost by Materials?
In most cases, your roofing contractor will handle buying all of the materials and will work this cost into the quote you receive. This makes up a substantial portion of your total price.
Roofing materials are typically sold in one of two ways: roofing squares or bundles. A roofing square contains enough materials to cover a 100-square-foot section, and a bundle is roughly one-third of a square.
The following table outlines clay tile roof material costs based on the size of your roof. A typical roof is about 1,700 square feet, meaning you’d need roughly 17 roofing squares.
|Number of Roofing Squares||Total Material Cost Range||Total Cost Average|
Which Factors Impact How Much a Clay Roof Costs?
The size of your roof and the specific materials you choose are the two most important cost factors in any roofing project. However, several other variables can impact your roof replacement cost. Things like a high-sloped roof or a roof that’s not prepared to handle the additional weight of clay tiles can inflate your bill.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at each of these cost factors and explain how they can impact the price of your roofing project.
Unless you have a flat roof, the total size of your roof will be significantly larger than your home’s first-level square footage. If you don’t account for your roof’s slope, you may be in for some sticker shock when the final bill comes due.
To find your roof’s true square footage, you’ll need to find the steepness of each sloped surface, otherwise known as its pitch. A roof’s pitch is calculated by its rise-over-run ratio, or how many inches its slope rises for every 12 inches it extends. For example, a roof that rises two inches for each horizontal foot has a slope of 4:12. Once you have your roof’s slope, you can plug it into a roofing calculator to find its true square footage.
When working with a professional roofing contractor, they’ll take exact measurements when assigning a quote. However, finding your roof pitch and size yourself can give you a better estimate of the cost of potential projects. You can often get a gauge of your roof pitch by climbing into your attic and examining the rafters. This video explains how that’s done.
Once you know your roof pitch, here’s a quick table showing just how much of an impact pitch can have on the size of your roof and how much it can change your project’s total cost.
|Base Square Footage of Home||Roof Pitch||Roof’s True Area in Square Feet||Slate Shingle Installation Cost|
Roof Reinforcement or Reframing
One of the few major downsides of clay roof tiles is their weight. On average, clay tiles weigh around 600 pounds per roofing square – more than twice as heavy as asphalt shingles. While some homes can withstand the increased load of clay tiles, others must be reframed or reinforced.
The exact cost of reframing or reinforcement of roof structures will vary depending on your home’s size, age, condition, and design. However, for a full roof reframing, most homeowners pay between $15,000 and $30,000.
Roof Repairs and Add-ons
When working on a project, roofers may come across damaged structures that must be repaired or replaced for construction to continue. When this happens, they’ll bring these damaged sections to the homeowner’s attention, generate an updated price estimate, and proceed with the repair. While some minor damage can be negligible cost-wise, others carry a hefty price tag.
Alternatively, a homeowner may request upgrades, repairs, or other services during a roof replacement project. This practice can be time and cost-efficient, since knocking this out during a roof replacement can kill two birds with one stone.
Commonly requested additional services include gutter replacements, adding skylights, replacement of flashing, and chimney repair.
Here is a quick list of most repairs and add-on services that can impact the cost of your roofing project.
- Repairing or replacing flashing: $10–$27 per linear foot.
- Roof sealing: $1–$4 per square foot.
- Gutter repair or replacement: $1,000–$7,000
- Adding a skylight: $900–$2,500
- Repairing a chimney: $150–$1,000
- Vent or ductwork repair: $150 to $900
- Replacing insulation: Between $2.14 and $4.30 per square foot, totaling between $1,500 to over $2,000.
- Roof underlayment replacement: Between $2 to $3 per square foot.
What Are the Benefits of Investing in a Clay Roof?
On average, clay tiles have a useful life of 50 to 100 years or more with proper care and maintenance. This lifespan is comparable with stone roofing materials like slate and concrete. However, unlike these other materials, clay is weather resistant and comparatively light – concrete and slate are susceptible to rain and about one and a half times as heavy as clay.
Here are some additional benefits of clay tile roofs. These roofs are:
- Eco-friendly: Clay tile roofs are made of natural stone materials and are recycled when replaced, keeping them out of landfills.
- Energy-efficient: The design of most clay roofs gives them a natural airflow between the tiles and the underlayment. This system creates ventilation that helps the roofs resist heat, making them far more energy efficient than standard asphalt shingles.
- Mold- and mildew-resistant: Some stone shingles, like concrete, tend to collect mold, mildew, and algae. However, the natural ventilation of clay tile roofs helps them resist these problems.
- Beautiful: One of the most impressive benefits of clay tiles is their aesthetic appeal. Their striking color and rich selection of styles allow homeowners to have an attractive and gorgeous roof.
- Low-maintenance: Clay is one of the best low-maintenance roof options available to homeowners. Clay roofs are resistant to mold and mildew and don’t lose tiles often, meaning upkeep consists solely of an occasional roof inspection.
- Water-resistant: The gutter-like channels inside clay roofs allow for efficient water runoff, diverting moisture from the roof deck.
What Does DIY Clay Roofing Cost?
Installing a clay roof is typically not a DIY job. You cannot understate the importance of a proper roof installation. An incorrectly constructed roof can lead to water damage, pest infestations, and thousands of wasted dollars.
When it comes to clay, slate, and concrete tiles, they’re too heavy to be lifted, managed, and installed without a trained team and special equipment. As such, homeowners should always hire a professional for clay roof replacements over a DIY approach.
Hiring a Professional for a Clay Roof Installation
Finding the right roofing company for your next project can be difficult and stressful. While not common, fraudulent companies exist, and you’ll want to avoid them at all costs. Thankfully, by following these simple steps, you can find a reliable, skilled roofing company for your clay roof replacement.
- Find local experts near you: First, you’ll want to find local contractors offering clay roofing tile installations.
- Check their background and credentials: Before scheduling appointments, look into their backgrounds, work history, and customer reviews – we recommend checking their Google My Business account, Better Business Bureau Page, and Yelp Reviews.
- Get a quote from a few options: Schedule appointments with the top companies you’ve vetted to obtain multiple quotes – by going with more than one quote, you can get a better idea of your project’s true price and find the best deal.
- Consult them about their recommendations: During the quote process, ask questions about the project — this will give you a better idea of issues or problems that may arise.
So, Are Clay Roofs Worth the Cost?
Clay roofs are more expensive than asphalt shingles but are a middle-of-the-road option for stone materials. This price lines up with their overall quality and lifespan. They’ll last far longer than any asphalt shingle but are second best, right behind slate, for total lifespan. However, they’re much less heavy than other stone roofing materials and have unique benefits (like mold, water, and heat resistance), making them an excellent choice.
All in all, clay roofs are typically well worth their price tag. They last up to 100 years, have a unique and beautiful appearance, and are highly energy efficient. But homeowners should consider their downsides as well. Namely, they can be fragile, heavy, and expensive to replace or repair in the event of damage.
FAQs About Clay Roof Costs
What are the disadvantages of clay tile roofing?
The primary disadvantage of clay tile roofs is that they’re heavy and expensive. Some roofs may need special reinforcement to be able to handle their weight. Additionally, while weather resistant, they’re physically fragile, and impacts from hail or tree branches can lead to broken tiles.
What is the life expectancy of a clay roof?
Most clay roofs last 50 to 100 years in the right conditions with proper care.
Are clay tile roofs more expensive than shingles?
Yes, clay tile roofs are significantly more expensive than a traditional shingled roof. A clay tile roof typically costs between $16,524 to $23,885, while the average asphalt shingle roof costs an average of $12,500.
Which is better, clay tile or slate roofing?
Slate and clay roofs have their own benefits and downsides. Slate is more durable and has a longer lifespan but is more expensive and heavier than clay. Clay is more weather resistant, lighter, and inexpensive but will break easier when exposed to impacts.