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What tiles to choose for the roof of the house? Natural? Mineral? Composite? Or maybe metal or flexible? The choice depends on many factors – let’s try to figure them out! 

Each family that started building their own home has its own unique circumstances, as well as each developer of a multi-storey building. Sometimes it is important to build a house quickly and cheaply, and sometimes time and price do not matter, and reliability, durability and beauty of the building become the main values. It cannot be said that any of these strategies is better or worse – they all have the right to life, and for each of them you can choose the perfect roofing material!


Types of tiles

The ancestor of a huge family of tiles is natural ceramic tiles. It is her characteristic appearance that imitates all other types of materials bearing the same name. Waves with a high or low profile give the roof volume and texture, and the pattern of seams between individual flat elements can serve as a decorative accent of the roof. You should remember that you need to find professional tile roofing contractors, who are well versed in the subject. We do not recommend making the cover yourself, as this may lead to its early failure or injury to you. You can choose suitable contractors and compare their prices on a specialized website.


The tile family includes:


  • ceramic tiles;
  • mineral tiles;
  • flexible tiles;
  • composite tiles;
  • metal tile.


Consider the different types of roof tiles in more detail.


Ceramic tiles

This type of tile is made of baked clay – a natural material. High-temperature processing makes the tile very durable, removes any volatile substances from its composition, provides resistance to water and aggressive chemicals, and reliably “seals” the selected color in the thickness of the material.


We can say that by the time of laying on the roof, natural tiles have already experienced the most severe tests, and now nothing can “scare” her.


Modern natural tile is a reliable massive coating, each element of which is securely connected to its neighbors with the help of special locks – horizontal and vertical. Do not be afraid of its weight – a well-designed roof can easily cope with such a load, and the solid thickness of the material will provide additional heat and sound insulation of the interior. The tile heats up slowly and cools down slowly, allowing, depending on the season, to save on both air conditioning and heating. By the way, the solid weight of the coating allows a new structure, especially a wooden one, to go through the “setting down” period faster. Window and door openings will stop warping much sooner!


Ceramic tiles are given the desired shade with the help of engobing and glazing technologies, or they are used in their natural form.


How are ceramic tiles laid?

The tiles are held on the roof by their own weight, only the rows located along the perimeter of each slope require additional fixation – along the cornice overhangs, ridges, gables, valleys, ridges. Fixing with special anti-wind clamps is also necessary on very steep pitched roofs and in areas with strong wind loads.


The composition of the roofing “pie”, in principle, is the same for any pitched roof, regardless of the chosen roofing.


The “pie” of a cold attic – a non-residential unheated room – is extremely simple and includes a waterproof film rolled out over the rafters, a ventilation gap formed by the lathing bars, and a roofing attached to them.


The “pie” of a residential attic is more complex in composition. On the inside of the roof, a vapor barrier layer is necessarily added to protect the vulnerable layers of the roof structure from water vapor, which invariably appears as a result of human activity. A layer of insulation is mounted between the rafters or on top of them.


Mineral tiles

Mineral tiles are also known as concrete or cement-sand tiles. It is made from natural raw materials, like ceramic, but its strength is provided by a different process – not high-temperature firing, but a softer concrete curing procedure. Therefore, the manufacture of this material is a more economical and environmentally friendly process.


The geometric dimensions of mineral tiles are more stable than those of ceramic tiles, they are more uniform in quality and shade. Unlike ceramic tiles, mineral tiles have only one lock – vertical, this is due to the peculiarities of the process of its production. However, this does not affect the reliability of the coating in any way – the role of the lock is perfectly performed by the overlap of rows of tiles, upper and lower.


Mineral tiles, like ceramic tiles, are equipped with additional accessories that allow you to decorate the roof in the same style. These can be ridge and ridge elements, as well as special tiles for the design of penetrations and junctions.


The installation of mineral tiles is similar to the installation of ceramic tiles, it is not complicated, but requires some professional skills.


Metal tile

Among the various types of tiles, metal tiles stand apart, because it … is not a tile at all! This coating does not consist of individual piece elements, but is a sheet of metal, whose appearance only imitates the profile of a classic tile. However, this roofing material is very popular, and for good reason! Metal tile is an inexpensive, affordable and beautiful coating. But that’s where its merits end.


The main problem that prevents metal tiles from conquering the professional roofing market is installation with self-tapping screws through holes. No matter how securely we try to seal them, leaks will not take long! In addition, the metal tile is subject to corrosion, if not in its bulk, covered with protective layers of zinc and polymers, then exactly in the places of trimming. And it is also very noisy – if a residential attic is covered with a metal tile, then it is quite difficult to fall asleep there in the rain.


Composite roof tiles

Composite tiles are a more “advanced” version of metal tiles. It is also based on a high-quality steel sheet, but there are many more additional layers. To protect against corrosion, not zinc is used, but aluminum and zinc alloy, a more effective alloy of zinc and aluminum. An acrylic layer is applied on top of it, into which basalt granules are “imprinted” like glue. From above they are additionally covered with a layer of acrylic glaze, securely fixing the granulate on the surface.


Composite tiles last longer than metal tiles. It is not as noisy, more wear-resistant and reliable. Large manufacturers of composite tiles also produce repair kits, which include a small container with acrylic glaze and granulate of the desired shade.


Flexible roof tiles

Flexible tiles are also sheet, not piece material. An elastic fiberglass base is impregnated with oxidized or modified bitumen, and then sprinkled with protective granules of basalt or quartz.


The flexible tile can be one – and multilayered. Of course, multi-layer tiles are more reliable – after installation, their layers, under the influence of solar heat, gradually sinter into a monolithic hermetic coating. It is more voluminous, heavier, more resistant to wind loads, while at the same time it does not differ much from a single-layer one at a price.


The shape and color of shingles is limited only by the imagination of the manufacturer. It can be classic rectangles, and various rhombuses, ovals, combinations of different shapes and shades.


Flexible tiles can cover the roof of the most bizarre shapes – cylindrical, conical, hipped, any! – the elasticity of the material will allow you to exactly repeat all the bends of the base. Serious disadvantages of such tiles include, perhaps, only its combustibility and the presence of a slight smell, which gradually disappears during operation. Also, over time, the material loses protective granules, but this is a natural process that does not affect the functionality of the roof, only the appearance suffers.