Ceramic tile is a durable, attractive roofing material that has been used for thousands of years. A tile rooftop provides the structure with fire-resistance, water shedding and additional insulation. Tile is also a long-lasting material; a tile rooftop can last for generations. Tile is brittle, though, and there are situations in which individual tiles may break and need to be replaced.
Longevity and Maintenance
Ceramic tile is made by shaping a mixture of fine clay into shingles, and then firing the clay at an extremely high temperature. The finished product is hard and strong. Modern innovations have helped to increase the tile's durability and its ability to shed water,and have reduced the weight of the material.
A tile rooftop should last much longer than a wooden, or an asphalt shingle roof. Most manufacturers of tile roofing will warranty their product for at least 50 years, and many warranty the product for the lifetime of the structure. Many historic buildings have tile roofing that has been in place for hundreds of years.
While it is very strong, tile can be brittle. Though the overall tile rooftop should last for many decades, individual tiles may periodically break and need to be repaired. Objects falling onto the rooftop--tree branches, for example--could cause tiles to break. Extremely high winds might blow tiles from a rooftop.
Compared with an asphalt or a wooden rooftop, walking on a tile rooftop may result in damage. When working on a tile rooftop, take care to displace the weight of the workers. Walkboards can be placed on the rooftop to diffuse the weight and avoid damaging the individual tiles.
Should a tile suffer damage, it is a relatively simple and generally inexpensive process to replace individual ceramic roofing tiles.
With periodic maintenance and replacement of the occasional broken tile, a tile rooftop can be expected to last a lifetime.