Terra cotta roof tiles are made from natural clay that has been fired in a kiln to remove moisture. They are known for their distinctive red coloring, and are often found on Mediterranean and Spanish style homes. While terra cotta tiles are a popular choice for mild climates, they are rarely used in areas that experience freezing temperatures. This is because clay tiles tend to freeze and crack in the winter, which can eventually cause the roof to fail. Fortunately there are many alternatives to terra cotta roof tiles that can be used in a wider variety of applications.
If you like the shape and style of terra cotta roof tiles but want a more durable and economical alternative, consider installing concrete roof tiles. Made from Portland cement, sand and water, these tiles cost roughly half as much as similar clay units. They also weigh less, and place less stress on roof framing and structural supports. Like terra cotta, concrete tiles are highly resistant to fire and moisture, but are also incredibly durable in all kinds of climates and temperatures. Concrete roofing is available in many different textures and colors, and can take the traditional "C" shape of terra cotta tiles or a flatter "S" shape to create a whole new look.
Slate tiles are made from natural stone, and are a good choice for those who like the low maintenance and strength of terra cotta, but may prefer a different color or finish. While slate roofing is similar in price to clay, it is also more versatile and strong. Slate will not crack when exposed to cold temperatures, and is unlikely to suffer damage due to wind or other elements. It also lasts for decades with little to no maintenance, and is available in tile or panel forms. Slate is known for its rich natural beauty and distinctive appearance. While it is usually gray in color, it can also be found in shades of deep blue, green, tan or black.
Metal roofing tiles or panels tend to be more affordable than terra cotta, and can be used on both steep and low-sloped roofs. These roofs are effective in any climate, and weigh much less than other roof tiles. They are also one of the few roofing tile products that can be self-installed by the average homeowner, which can greatly reduce the cost of new roofing. Metal roofs are usually made from steel or aluminum, both of which can be painted or embossed to create the desired finish. Copper roofs are another popular option, and are typically left unfinished to reveal the rich natural beauty and patina of the copper.
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