roofing types

Tile and Slate Roofs

tile roof

Residential Slate and Tile Roofs

Slate may be the answer if you are looking for a sophisticated roofing material for an upscale home. Advantages to slate include its natural appearance, fire resistance, invulnerability to rot, ease of maintenance and an expected life of 100 years. Slate is available in a variety of colors and styles.

Concrete and clay tiles come in a variety of colors and come in either glazed or unglazed finishes. The most common shapes are flat, fluted, and interlocking tiles to accommodate a variety of home designs. They can be designed to look like wood shakes for a more rustic look, or to have a more traditional european look. 

Clay, concrete, and slate roofs are impervious to fire and resistant to rot and insects. Most clay tile roofing can withstand extreme heat, and is resistant to the corrosion of salt air, making it a great choice for the Florida coast.

Slate and Tile Roof Styles

Spanish Tiles

The Spanish tiles look like rows on undulating waves with wide water courses between the tiles. They are most often found in places where, while rain may be infrequent, it’s often heavy. These “gully-washers” can make quick work of lesser materials as they saturate dried and porous materials. Clay, terracotta, and concrete, however, can weather these infrequent but intense assaults quite handily. Average cost: $2.00 to $4.00 per square foot.

Double Roman

While a Double Roman may look like Spanish tile at first glance, a further look will reveal that while Spanish tile looks like waves, Roman tile has distinct ribs that are very pronounced. Popular for a Mediterranean look, Roman tile has smaller water courses, but there are more of them. Roman tiles are often made of concrete, but can be found in clay and terracotta. Average cost: $2.25 to $4.80 per square foot.


Pantile roofs are made of clay tiles that resemble a flattened S. The visual effect is that of ripples. It provides a classic “Old World” look with ample run-off for water. Pantiles are significantly lighter than most other tiles. Average cost: $2.50 per square foot.

French Tile

The French tile, also called “Profile” by some, looks like a reversed version of the Roman Double with generous indents where the humps would be. This greatly increases the amount of water that can be shed during any given time period. Average cost: $3.20 to $3.90 per square foot.

Scandia Tiles

Scandia is essentially a Spanish tile turned upside down. The visual effect is that of sharp ridges with wide, smooth water courses. The cost is about the same as Spanish tile at $2.00 to $4.00 per square foot.

Flat Shake

These are most often found in concrete. They are made to resemble any number of shingle styles including granulated asphalt and wood shake. They have no water courses, but their flat surfaces more than suffice to avoid trapping rain water. The adaptability of the finished look makes these roofs very popular for pretty much any taste. Average cost: $2.29 to $2.49 per square foot.

Barrel Tile

While “barrel” is a term used to describe any semi-cylindrical tile such as Spanish and Roman, the true barrel tile is actually tapered, being wider at one end than the other. This is because barrel tiles were traditionally shaped over the clay worker’s leg. Today they are mass produced. Barrel tiles are often used on curved roofs because of their tapering shape. Average cost: $3.00 to $6.50 per square foot.


Again copying the popular Double Roman style, the Riviera is a flattened version. The water courses are the same, but where the Double Roman has rounded bumps, the Rivieras are flattened. This is popular where dramatic shading patterns are desired. Average cost: $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot.


tile roofs

On average, tile roofs cost $700 to $800 per square to install, though they can cost anywhere between $400 and $1,000 per square. Tiles come in clay or concrete but can be shaped in many different ways even to the point of looking like wood shake. Terracotta clay is a popular choice for clay roofs because, unlike regular clay or concrete, it won’t change color with age. Concrete will fade while clay will actually get darker, but terracotta can maintain its color because it gets baked into the clay. Many ancient terracotta artifacts still retain the color they had when they were first made.

When pricing roofing projects, it is important to remember that roofs are measured professionally not in square feet but in “squares”. The average roof in the United States has 22 to 26 squares. One square equals 100 square feet. While this was done originally as a sales trick to make a house sound larger, it has evolved into a more convenient way to communicate the area of a roof. Some builders will use squares to describe floor plans, but remember that roof will almost always be larger than the structure it covers.