Photograph of  really worn out asphalt roof shingles Concrete Roofing Types, Product Sources, Installation, Defects, Repairs
     


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This article describes concrete roofing materials: concrete roof tiles & poured concrete roofs, choices, installations, inspection, defects, roofing repairs, and concrete roof tile product sources. Our photo (above) shows a flat concrete roof under construction in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This article describes several approaches to constructing concrete roofs, including flat concrete roofs, low-slope concrete roofs, and a steep pitch concrete roof.

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Concrete Roofing Materials, Choices, Costs, Life Expectancy, Characteristics

Concrete roofing examples (C) Daniel FriedmanAs detailed in Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction (printed text) and online at CLAY, CONCRETE, FIBER CEMENT TILE INSTALLATION,

Concrete tiles were introduced to the United States in the early 1900s, but they did not catch on until the 1960s. They now account for more than half the tiles sold in the United States.

In Europe, over 90% of new houses have concrete tile roofs. Concrete tiles cost as little as half as much as clay and offer both traditional and flat styles that simulate slate roofing and wood shakes.

High-quality concrete tiles should last up to 50 years in arid climates and up to 30 years in hot, humid climates. While some early products faced problems with freeze-thaw cycling, most newer formulations are made to withstand winter weather. In cold climates, make sure the product is warranted for freeze-thaw durability.

Concrete roofing examples (C) Daniel Friedman

Special lightweight concrete tiles weighing under 600 lb per square are gaining in popularity.

Although they cost more than standard concrete tiles and are more prone to breakage, they are easier to handle and suitable for applications where the roof structure cannot support the weight of standard tiles.

Lightweight tiles cannot support foot traffic without adding walking pads to distribute weight or filling the space under the tiles with polyurethane foam. They are also not recommended for high-snow regions.

The concrete roof approach shown at above left is the structure supporting the flat concrete roof being poured and finished at the top of this page.

The El Charco concrete roof approach shown above was stained brown to resemble an antique thatch roof used on other slopes of the same building. This roof, located in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, incorporates a large concrete gutter that collects rainwater for local use.

The concrete Taboada Hot Springs (Guanajuato, Mexico) roof approach shown below has been in use in central Mexico since at least 1740 and combines fired clay tiles (below right), concrete or wood rafters, and a top pour of concrete (below left).

Concrete roofing examples (C) Daniel Friedman Concrete roofing examples (C) Daniel Friedman

Guide to Concrete, Clay, or Metal Roof Tile Shapes, Colors & Types

Color Choices in Concrete Roofing Tiles

Continuing from from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction:

Concrete tiles can be surface colored with a slurry of iron-oxide pigments applied to the surface or have the color added to the concrete mix for a more durable, and expensive, through-color. Through-color choices are more limited, and the colors are more subdued. Either type of concrete tile is also sealed with a clear acrylic spray to help with curing and efflorescence.

While the color-through concrete roof tile will hold its color better than the slurry type, particularly under freeze-thaw cycling, all concrete tile coloring can be expected to fade and soften over time. Surface textures can also be added to flat concrete roofing tiles to simulate wood shakes or shingles.

Types of concrete roof tiles (C) Carson Dunlop Associates

The illustration of of types or styles of concrete roof tiles (left) was provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates and illustrates

  1. Curved roof tiles
  2. Spanish Style roof tiles
  3. Flat Interlocking roof tiles
  4. Flat shingle style roof tiles

 

 


Types of concrete roof tiles (C) Carson Dunlop Associates Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction describes three roof tile profiles classified as high-profile, low-profile, or flat and illustrates them in Figure 2-17

  1. Flat profile concrete roof tiles (the roof tile surface rises by up to 1/2 inch) - these roof tiles often resemble slate or even wood shakes.
  2. Low profile concrete roof tiles: the height of the tile is 1/5 the tile width or less
  3. High profile concrete roof tiles: the height of the roof tile is more than1/5 its width

Common high-profile roofing tiles include two-piece pan-and-cover Mission tile and one-piece Spanish S-tiles.

Low profile roof tile styles include a wide variety, many with a double-S shape that creates multiple water courses.

Many flat roof tiles are shaped and colored to simulate slate or wood shakes. In general, patterns using smaller tiles cost more per square for both materials and labor than patterns using larger tiles.

-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.

 

How Concrete Roof Tiles are Secured to the Roof Deck

Concrete roof tile nailing schedule (C) Carson Dunlop Associates

 

As Carson Dunlop's drawing shows, concrete roof tiles are secured to the roof deck using one of three methods:

The concrete roof tiles are nailed to roof battens running parallel to the roof eaves. Gaps are left in the battens so that water passing through the tiles drains down tothe eaves, and a waterproof membrane is below the battens.

Concrete roof tiles may be secured by a combination of nailing to the roof deck and concrete. This is the method used also to secure clay roof tiles on some Florida homes such as the Boca Raton Roof shown here.

Hurricane clips are recommended or often required by local building codes in hurricane prone areas. The clips are fastened to the roof deck, usually with multiple fasteners, and clip to edges of the roof tiles. In high wind and hurricane areas the number of fasteners is also increased.

On older clay and concrete tile roofs it was common practice to nail only every fourth tile, and in areas where high winds are not common, such as on these homes in Patzcuarso Mexico, only the tiles at the roof perimeter are secured at all.

Details about installation of concrete roofing tiles in high wind areas, areas of hurricanes or seismic areas, see the roofing tile connecction methods discussed at CLAY TILE WIND & SEISMIC CONNECTORS

Concrete Roof Tile Sources

Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction lists these producers and sources of concrete roofing tilies:

  • Bartile Roofs, website: www.bartile.com
  • Eagle Roofing Products, website: www.eagleroofing.com
  • Entegra Roof Tile, website: www.entegra.com
  • MonierLifetile, website: www.monierlifetile.com
  • Vande Hey-Raleigh, website: www.vhr-roof-tile.com
  • Westile, website: www.westile.com

-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.

Sketch of types of concrete roof tiles provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.

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