A clay tile roof is one of the most elegant, durable, and energy-efficient roofing options. However, these benefits come at a cost. If you are considering a clay tile roof, you might be wondering how much it will cost to buy and install.
In this article, we break down the prices of different clay tile roofs. We also include several factors that determine the cost of a clay tile roof. Read on to learn more.
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How Much Do Clay Tiles Cost?
How much you spend installing a clay tile roof will depend on the style you go for and other factors. On average, it will cost you $8 to $25 per square foot to buy and install a clay tile roof.
Buying materials alone will cost you $3 to $7 per square foot, while labor ranges between $5 and $18 per square foot. The following table compares the cost of clay to other types of tiles.
Type of tile
Cost (per square foot)
$8 to $25
$10 to $30
$9 to $18
$10 to $25
$10 to $14
$4 to $6
Clay Roof Tiles Types
Clay tiles are available in different designs since you can mold them into different shapes during manufacturing. That makes them appropriate for different types of roofs, whether tapered, curved or irregularly shaped.
Spanish tiles are “S” shaped. Each tile features a pan and cover that enables it to interlock with adjacent tiles. When installed, the tiles resemble rows of waves on the roof. Their unique style makes it impossible to stagger them. To keep the roof moisture-proof, they need eave closures and venting.
French tiles interlock on all sides thanks to the locks on the top and sides. They feature two grooves on the surface that allow for adequate water drainage while also producing a shadow effect for aesthetic purposes. These types of tiles are suitable for areas that experience heavy rain.
Riviera tiles feature flat instead of rounded ribs. The bumps create striking diagonal shadow lines to create a unique aesthetic effect. They are perfect if you are looking for a more symmetrical look for your roof.
Flat clay tiles resemble asphalt shingles with no protrusions or water pans. They combine the minimalist effect of shingles with the sophistication of clay. They are appropriate for warmer and drier climates.
As the name suggests, these tiles feature a semi-circular design and resemble barrels. Installation involves alternating the convex and concave shapes. The style creates distinctive shadows that alter the look and feel of your roof as the sun changes position.
Pantile tiles feature a flattened “S” shape that creates a ripple effect on the roof. They are lighter than most tiles and appropriate for areas that do not experience severe weather conditions.
Clay Roof Tiles Prices
The different styles of clay tiles differ in cost. The following table lists each type and its corresponding cost per square foot.
Price (per square foot)
$8 – $10
$9 – $11
$9 – $11
$8 – $9
$10 – $13
$8 – $10
Is DIY an Option?
Installing clay tiles or any other type of tiles is a complicated process that requires unique skills and experience. Moreover, the tiles are usually heavy, and you will need to hire a structural engineer to ensure the deck can handle the weight.
DIY is, therefore, out of the question, however cost-effective it may seem. Instead, hire professional installers who have experience installing clay tile roofs. Improper installation can lead to costly failures down the road.
Installing underlayment is also another cost you should consider. The cost to install or replace will depend on the type of underlayment and how many layers you need. On average, you should expect to part with $2 to $3 per square foot.
Your installer should determine whether your roof needs one or two layers depending on the slope. Most clay tile roofs require a minimum pitch of 2.5:12. These will require two layers of underlayment. One layer will suffice for homes with slopes of 4:12 or higher.
If you are re-roofing your house or building, you have to factor in the cost of removing existing materials. It can range from $0.50 to $1 per square foot.
Some manufacturers and retailers will include transportation costs in the overall price. But that is not always the case. Clay tiles are heavy and thus difficult to transport. So, you may need to cough up between $600 and $1,000 to get them home.
Clay tiles are durable. Therefore, repairs are rare save for a few cracked or sliding tiles here and there. Repairing a clay tile roof is a straightforward process since you only need to replace damaged tiles. You will pay around $1000. However, the cost will be significantly higher if extreme weather blows off or damages large sections of your roof.
Factors that Impact Tile Roofing Cost
The costs of clay tile roofing are not cast in stone. They will vary depending on a variety of factors. These include the following.
The cost of labor will vary depending on where you live in the United States. The cost of obtaining permits & licenses will also differ from state to state. These factors will impact the overall cost of installing your clay roof.
Additionally, different areas will have varying climatic conditions. These will determine the type of clay roof tile you can install and the installation process. Ultimately, the choices will affect the overall cost.
The labor costs will be higher if it is difficult for installers to access your roof. Remember, they need to carry materials up and down as well.
While most homes have easy-to-access roofs, it is not uncommon for obstacles to get in the way. Examples include tree branches and power lines. The height of the house could also be an impediment.
The pitch or slope of your roof also influences the cost of labor. For instance, it takes more time to install tiles on a steep slope than a flat one. Consequently, installation costs will be higher. Furthermore, a steep slope poses more danger to the installers. They will usually charge more to acquire additional safety equipment. That translates to additional labor costs.
Size of the Roof
The amount of square footage of your roof will determine how many materials you need and the amount of time and labor required for the job. This factor may seem obvious. However, some ignore aspects such as the pitch and height of the roof when estimating the installation cost.
Contractors will have different operating expenses. These often determine the prices they charge you for the installation. That’s why the cost of hiring contractors varies, even if they come from one location.
There is always the temptation to hire the cheapest installer available. That is a wrong move, considering the challenges involved in installing a clay tile roof. Always consider experience first before you move to price.
Installing a clay tile roof is one of the best decisions you could make for your home. However, you need to plan your budget accordingly since it is not as cheap as installing a shingle roof. We hope this article has shed light on what you should expect regarding the price of materials, labor costs, and other additional expenses.
Remember, these prices will vary depending on the factors we listed above. Therefore, it is imperative to be flexible in your budgeting.