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Guide to Clay Tile Roofs


Guide to Clay Tile Roofs

The Best Roof for Insulating your Home

Guide to Clay Tile Roofs

Clay roofing can be a beautiful addition to any building. Originating back in Ancient China, from as early as 10,000 B.C., clay has been used to shelter homes. See the following guide to clay tile roofs, for a full rundown on this roofing material.

What Are Clay Tile Roofs?

To start off our guide to clay tile roofs, it seems best to start with a basic definition. Simply put, this roof material is made up of tiles which are produced from moulded clay that is baked in ovens and then manufactured in various styles, shapes, textures, and sizes.

There are three main types:

  • Flat tiles – Shingles which may be attached to a roof with nails or joined together in overlapping patterns
  • Pantiles – Curved, rectangular s-shaped slabs designed to overlap each other and create a lighter roof compared to flat tiles
  • Ridge or Hip Tiles – Larger, more decorative blocks used on roof ridges

Choosing a Clay Tile Roof for your Toronto Home

There are countless housing types, both historical and contemporary, that mesh well with clay roofs: from authentic Latin-influenced abodes, Greek-Mediterranean villas, or New England colonial estates to Georgian and Romanesque Revival manors.

Photo 1- An elegant red clay roof on a Spanish Style home

Guide to Clay Tile Roofs

Photo 2 – South American colonial building with a pantile roof

Guide to Clay Tile Roofs

Photo 3 – A traditional Mediterranean styled home

Guide to Clay Tile Roofs

There’s no denying that clay roofing has a rustic look and rich natural colour which adds to its charm. The higher the slope of the roof the better, when it comes to highlighting its aesthetic.  Additionally, the bricks can be designed to simulate wooden shakes or other types of roof materials. The choice is yours as to which style works best for your home.

Clay Roofs for Toronto Weather


The growing popularity of clay as a roof throughout history seems to be linked heavily to its non-combustible quality. Clay tile roofs are so well-known for being resistant to ignition that even medieval Kings recognized their value. King John made them the stipulated roof for Londoners by royal decree, following the Great Fire of Southwark around 1212 AD. This ability to withstand fire makes them an ideal option for high temperature, low rainfall prone parts of Canada which are the most vulnerable to wildfires.

Overall, the roofs are immune to most weather conditions. From heavy rain, to windstorms, earthquakes, snow, hailstones or even hurricane force winds of over 150 mph, Clay is impenetrable. Comparable with the strength of concrete roofs, clay shingles have in some cases remained intact for over 1000 years! Unlike wooden shakes and asphalt shingles, Clay does not expand or shrink due to temperature changes -air flow properties keep your home cool in the summer and retain warmth in the winter.

Pros and Cons of Clay Tile Shingles – At a Glance

Advantages of Clay Tile Roofs Disadvantages of Clay Tile Roofs
Weather resistance Weight
Lower energy costs Requires sturdy structural support
Low maintenance Expense
Aesthetically pleasing Lengthy installation process
Not susceptible to mould or rot Fragility
Long lifespan
Available in a variety of colours and styles
Water-shedding ability
Ventilation ability
Ability to retain pigmentation
Easily repaired and replaced
Increased re-sale value


How to Install a Clay Roof – A Brief Overview


  • The first step is always having the length and width of your roof measured; this helps you to determine the measurements you’ll need to provide when ordering your new tiles.
  • When the time comes to buy the roof material, doing research to look for a trusted local supplier is your best plan. There are different grades of clay which provide varying levels of resistance to environmental conditions.
  • Hire a reliable roofing contractor who has expertise and experience with clay roofs.
  • Ensure that you form a solid underlay, using asphalt-coated material that is properly fastened.
  • Follow up with valleys, gutters, and corrosion-resistant flashing, around areas like chimneys and conduits
  • Start from the lower edge of the roof around the eaves, nailing in each tile to create the first layer then fill in the rest of the roof with interlocking layers.
  • Install edging to provide further weather protection and complete the outer appearance.

Conclusion – More Roof Alternatives


Clay roofs are ideal for homeowners who are concerned about their roof’s ability to shield their home from the external environment; they are excellent protection for both colder and hotter areas, providing the best insulation compared to any other roof.

While being slightly pricier than some the other possibilities, such as asphalt roofs, they are more visually pleasing – and arguably more cost effective in the long-term.

Enjoyed our guide to clay tile roofs? Learn more about other roof types like Asphalt Shingles, Slate Tiles, Metal Roofs, Concrete Tiles and more – or see Which is the Best Type of Roof for Me? for a comparison of the best known roof options!

Looking for a reliable roofing contractor? Look no further! Call us now for a free no obligation estimate at 1.855.582.7263 or fill in the form at the top of the page and we’ll get back to you soon!

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