Types of Roof Tiles 2024 (with Pictures)

Have you settled on a tile roof? We know the dilemma can be overwhelming with so many varying styles and designs on the market. That is why we compiled this comprehensive list on your behalf. By the end of the article, you should be familiar with the different tiles available to make an informed choice.

What are the Different Types of Roof Tiles?

Tiles come in many shapes and sizes. Below, we examine the different types available in the market. If you are yet to decide what to buy, perhaps one of these will tickle your fancy.

1. Clay Tile Roof

Clay tiles have been around for centuries. They are long-lasting and can live for over 50 years. Sometimes they can even outlive the house if installed and maintained properly. They will also retain their original color all the while.

Clay tiles are also exceptionally beautiful. The subtle variations in texture and color among different tiles give them a rich character that is hard to imitate. Moreover, they come in many designs and colors to suit varying preferences.

2. Concrete Tile Roof

Concrete tiles are a cheaper alternative to clay and slate tiles. They may lack the natural appeal of their counterparts, but they can mimic the look of clay, slate, or shingles, thanks to technology. Concrete tiles are also available in many color options.

Concrete tiles perform better in colder environments than clay. However, their porous nature is a point of concern. They can certainly last as long as clay or slate. But we cannot say the same about their color. So, you might have to budget for a repaint job sometime in the future.

3. Slate Tile Roof

If you are looking for that classic gothic look, it does not get better than slate. Cut from naturally occurring rock, the tiles will differ in shape, size, texture, and color. The subtle variations are what give the tiles character.

Slate makes the heaviest roofing tiles. They are also the most expensive to buy. Furthermore, they require specialized knowledge and skills to install. That translates to high labor costs. Basically, be ready to dig deep into your pockets.

Slate roofing is most rewarding if you can bear the high initial costs. It is one of the most long-lasting and requires minimal repairs and maintenance. Moreover, installing a slate roof will increase the resale value of your home significantly.

4. Metal Tile Roof

Metal tile roofing offers flexibility in design. It can suit both modern and traditional architectural styles. Some profiles can even mimic traditional tiles like clay, slate, and concrete. Metal also comes with more options in color.

Metal tiles are lighter than traditional options. Installation is, therefore, a breeze-It is quicker and straightforward and thus less labor-intensive. Metal tile roofing is also cheaper compared to conventional materials. For one, you will not have to hire a professional to reinforce your roofing deck like in clay or concrete tile roofing.

Metal is not brittle like clay, slate, and concrete and will not crack or break under impact. It is also resistant to fire, pests, and mildew. However, it is susceptible to rusting and needs a thick coating to prevent oxidation. The color will also fade over time, making repainting a necessity.

5. Terracotta Tile Roof

Terracotta tiles also consist of clay. However, there are subtle differences between terracotta and clay tiles. The easily noticeable difference is the color. You can easily recognize Terracotta for its distinct red or orange hues. On the other hand, clay tiles feature a broad range of colors, including white, red, grey, etc.

There are different types of clay, each having varying properties. Examples include porcelain, stoneware, and earthenware. Terracotta is a type of clay that is easily accessible with rich red and orange colors. However, some people use the word to refer to all clay tiles with a reddish-orange color.

Lightweight Roof Tiles Types

Lightweight roofing tiles often consist of synthetic materials, not clay, concrete, or slate. They include the following:

6. Spanish Tile Roof (Synthetic Spanish Roof Tiles)

Spanish tiles feature a rounded “S” shape. When installed, they look like rows of waves interrupted by troughs that serve as water conduits. This design makes them appropriate for regions that experience heavy rain.

Synthetic Spanish tiles come in rubber or plastic materials. They are, therefore, lightweight and easier to install than their clay or concrete counterparts. Moreover, they are appropriate for all climates and are more impact-resistant. But their main advantage is their lower price tag.

Although synthetic tiles can last long, they are new in the market, and their longevity is still up in the air. Also, there are durability concerns since rubber and plastic can warp and curl. Of course, fire resistance is out of the question.

7. Rubber Tile Roof

Rubber tiles consist of rubber or other synthetic polymers. The materials come from recycled items such as old tires or sawdust, making the tiles environmentally friendly.

Rubber tiles can mimic traditional materials like slate. Unlike conventional tiles, they are lightweight, cheap, and easy to install. They are also impact-resistant and non-porous. However, they are susceptible to fires.

Rubber tiles can last for 30 to 50 years. Their longevity may not outperform conventional materials like clay or slate. However, they are more durable than asphalt shingles or wood shakes. They attract favorable warranties too.

8. Plastic Tile Roof

Plastic tiles roofs are manufactured from recycled plastic, making them eco-friendly. They are malleable and elastic and can last a decent while. However, they may not outlive traditional materials like slate or clay.

Like rubber, plastic tiles can also mimic conventional roofing materials. They are a lighter and cheaper alternative for consumers who love the look of clay or slate but may not afford the expenses.

The advantages of plastic roofing include high weather and impact resistance. However, they are highly flammable. Therefore, we don’t recommend them for areas that often experience natural fires.

9. Composite Tile Roof

Composite roof tiles consist of recycled materials such as plastic, paper, fiberglass, and asphalt. They are eco-friendly and a cheaper and lighter alternative to traditional slate or clay options. Due to their lightweight nature, composite tiles are quicker and easier to install. Also, they are unlikely to put a strain on your roofing deck. Therefore, no reinforcements are necessary before installation.

Composite tiles will last longer than asphalt shingles. Some manufacturers will even offer consumers a 50-year warranty. Longevity aside, the tiles are also more architectural and aesthetically pleasing. They can mimic the look of traditional tiles.

10. Ceramic Tile Roof

Ceramic tiles are a product of natural clay. However, they don’t possess the drawbacks associated with traditional clay tiles. For instance, they perform better with varying temperatures. Also, they don’t absorb water since their base material is natural white clay and not standard clay.

White clay has superior reflectivity, making it more energy-efficient. The tiles also incorporate an outer shell that offers extra protection against the weather while serving as a waterproof coating. That makes ceramic tiles appropriate for low and high slope roofs.

Ceramic tiles are lighter and more durable than traditional clay tiles. They last longer, and their color never fades. Some manufacturers will even offer a 30-year warranty on the color. Unlike red clay, white clay is not drawn to algae and fungus.

11. Stone Tile Roof

Traditionally, people relied on winter frost to naturally split rocks before dressing them to size and shape. Today, they use hand tools to do it manually due to time constraints. During installation, the smaller stones are placed further up, while the larger ones are lower.

Stone tiles are lapped during installation. Since they don’t lie flat on the batten-like slate, more coverage is needed to make them water-tight. As a result, only half the stone is usually visible. These tiles are porous and require steeper slopes than slates. The roof should have a minimum pitch of 45 degrees to ensure the rain falls off with ease.

They are also susceptible to moss build-up. Therefore, ensure you scrape it off early to avoid hefty repair bills in the future.

12. Barrel Roof Tiles

Barrel roof tiles refer to a type of roofing tile that features a convex, barrel-like shape. They often fall into two categories: Spanish roof tile and Mission tile.

The Spanish roof tile features a one-piece barrel design. When installed, they form a pattern of unique ripples across the roof. There are several types of barrel tiles, but the most common is the Terracotta barrel roof tile. You can recognize it by its rich reddish-orange color.

Mission tiles are sometimes called “true barrel tiles.” They are installed as separate barrels that form a series of alternating concave and convex shapes.

13. Flat Tile Roof

Flat tiles are usually made from concrete, a mixture of sand, cement, and water. They often have interlocking ribs on the edges to keep the water at bay.

Flat roofs and curved tiles have different benefits. For instance, curved tiles allow water to flow down with ease due to the presence of grooves.

When it snows, the weight distributes evenly on flat tiles. On the other hand, curved tiles will not hold the weight evenly. Instead, the valleys will shoulder most of it. That could make the curved tiles more susceptible to ice damming. Moreover, it is more difficult to repair the flashing on curved tiles compared to flat tiles.

Flat tiles can either be sand or smooth-faced. Smooth surfaces attract less dirt and are less susceptible to moss growth. You can use them on lower pitched roofs since they allow rainwater to flow more easily.

14. Interlocking Roof Tiles Types

As the name suggests, interlocking roof tiles interlock at their sides, making them waterproof. They are an alternative to double lapping, which requires more tiles to cover the same roofing area.

Moreover, interlocking tiles are larger. Therefore, fewer of them are needed to cover the entire roof. Another advantage of this type of tile is a quick and straightforward installation process. That means they are more cost-effective to install than plain tiles.

15. Japanese Roof Tiles

The first thing that comes to mind when you think about Japanese roofing is Kawara. Kawara refers to a type of clay tile that has been part of Japanese architecture for 1400 years. Around half of all roof tiles in Japan are Karawa.

Japanese tiles feature the traditional Smokey grey’ glaze. However, they are also available in various glazed colors. The tiles feature designs that enable them to withstand strong winds and typhoon rains, such as those experienced in Japan.

16. Chinese Roofing Tiles

The use of clay tiles in China started as early as 10,000 B.C. Glazed tiles have been in use as roofing materials in the country since 1046 B.C. They are available in two forms: tubular and plate.

As the name suggests, tubular glazed tiles feature a tubular design that looks like a semi-circle. Glazed plate tiles are lapped, with only 30% of the tile being visible. That makes the tiles waterproof even when cracks develop.


There are many benefits of tile roofing. They are long-lasting, energy-efficient, and aesthetically pleasing. However, not all tiles are created equal. There are varying designs and materials to choose from, and they have different strengths and weaknesses. We hope you have found one or more that fits your unique roofing needs and budget.




Leave a Comment