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Tile vs. Shingle Roof: Pros, Cons, and Differences

The main difference between a shingle roof and a tile roof is simple: The shingle roofs use either the asphalt shingles, wood, or slate and on the other hand the tiled roofs use the available tile which includes the clay or concrete one.  As a rule tile roofing is heavier than other types of roofing hence one would require more of the sub roofing.  

The main differences between asphalt shingles or tiles of all types are wide-ranging – durability, cost and maintenance. It is important to learn how these roof materials appear and how effectively they endure such climate to select possible kind that will be satisfactory.

Asphalt Shingles vs. Clay Tiles

Table of Contents

What Is an Asphalt Shingle Roof?

A shingle roof is one of the most common types of roofs which in this case, use shingles to cover the underlayment and sheathing. Shingle roofs are common as they are inexpensive, available in numerous colors and style and are relatively simple to put up and to fix.

Asphalt shingles are made of fiberglass and asphalt with a mineral surfaced layer to provide wear and appearance characteristics. The asphalt roof shingles are recyclable but most of them are dumped into the landfill, as such asphalt shingles do not have a friendly environment in the practices.



  • Cheap
  • Easy to install
  • Suitable for most climates
  • Low maintenance
  • Versatile
  • Increases resale value


  • Less durable
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Not eco-friendly
  • Limited style options

Types of Shingle Roofs

  1. Three-Tab Shingles: Three-tab shingles are also laid flat on the roof to form a uniform roof with a simple, common appearance. They are the least expensive but do not ripen as well as the other types, nor do they resist the changes in moisture and temperature.
  1. Architectural Shingles: These are more robust and durable than three tab shingles because they are built to possess architectural features. Secondly, most of them give the roof a more interlocking and depth grain appearance than the straight sheets do.
  1. Luxury Shingles: We also know that luxury shingles give an exciting appearance to the roof and the best durability. There are many kinds of natural, synthetic, and artificial types of clothes that can come in many styles and colors and tend to last a long time than the other two types.

Although the cost of them is higher, they can emulate the look of the real wood, slate, metal or ceramic tiles, while providing a more expensive look at a lower price.

What Is a Tile Roof?

A tile roof is a durable and energy-efficient option that gives a home a unique and attractive look. Manufacturers use materials like clay or concrete to create tiles. These materials contain no preservatives and can be easily recycled. Tiles are available in many colors, shapes, and styles to match a home’s design.



  • Durable
  • Long-lasting
  • Requires little maintenance
  • More eco-friendly
  • Versatile
  • Many styles to choose from
  • Increases resale value


  • May crack if walked on
  • Prone to moss growth
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to install
  • Not suitable for all climates

Types of Tile Roofs

There are four main types of clay tile roofs:

  1. Mission Tile Roof: Barrel-shaped tiles create a classic and timeless look, often seen in traditional Mediterranean or Spanish architecture. The wave-like pattern adds dimension to the roof.
mission tile roof
  1. Spanish Tile Roof: Look like mission tiles but have an S-shape. This pattern creates a classic and elegant look, commonly associated with southwestern states.
  1. French Tile Roof: Sit mostly flat on the roof but have a slight curvature to add dimension.
  1. Flat Tile Roof: Sit completely flat, with dimension coming from the overlapping tiles.

Differences Between Tile & Shingle Roofs


Shingle Roof: Most people are familiar with asphalt shingle roofs. They use flexible shingles that overlap. Thicker shingles add more dimension and can mimic materials like slate. They come in various colors and can have different textures or appear flat, depending on the brand and style.

Tile Roof: Offer more design options. Classic clay tiles are often installed in an S shape, creating a repeated, rounded pattern.

However, clay, concrete, and metal tiles come in many shapes, patterns, and colors. Options include the classic S pattern, half-round tiles, tiles that look like slate shingles, ridged tiles, and more. A tile roof allows for a unique or personalized look beyond just changing the color or thickness.



Whereas shingle and tile installation vary in their processes, the latter is based on the type of roof or tile that one chooses.

Shingle Roof: In general, asphalt shingles are pretty easy to install. Most have tabs that overlap one another and are only nailed down. In that regard, they are sealed. A felt underlayment is all that’s necessary beneath them as long as the roof deck itself is in good condition.

Tile Roof: Require some degree of roof reinforcement first. This is due to the weight involved. They also require an underlayment, but the installation itself is much slower and more involved.

Indeed, some patterns and tiles are much faster, such as interlocking tiles that fit neatly into place, while traditional S, scallop, and ridge patterns have to be cemented one by one into place, sometimes taking days to finish a roof with one of these patterns, depending, of course, on its size.

Concrete Roof Tile vs. Asphalt Shingle


Shingle Roof: Asphalt shingles are lightweight and appropriate for virtually every type of roof.

Tile Roof: Tiles can be very heavy, depending on the material. Composite tiles represent the lightest; metal and clay are the heaviest. All tile roofs are heavier than shingle roofs and require some degree of roof reinforcement, contributing to the higher costs. If your home cannot support a heavy roof or you cannot reinforce it, a shingle roof would be better.


Shingle Roof: Asphalt roofs will accommodate any type of climate.

Tile Roof: Since ordinary clay tiles will not stand freeze/thaw conditions, tile roofs are most prevalent in the southern, non-freeze/thaw parts of the country. New composite and metal tile roofs can obviously be installed anywhere. When working in freeze/thaw areas using tile roofs, use a tile material that is appropriate for the area in question.

Both tile and asphalt roofs can wear down faster in very dry, hot climates due to the constant heat. Always check on the roofing material that’s best for your climate.


Shingle Roof: Asphalt shingles should last from 15 to 30 years depending on its thickness, type and design. While the former is the architectural shingle, the later is the normal kind; the architectural shingles are thicker and thus tend to have a longer life span as compared to the three-tab shingle.

Tile Roof: Tile roof has the advantage of lasting longer than a shingle roof, by a margin of several years in the least. As for maintenance, it has been seen that tile roofs when maintained properly can last for anything between 25 to a hundred years based on the material used for tiles.

Usually metal and composite tiles are the most durable in the long run, however some clay tile roofs have been reported to last over a century.


In fact, shingle and tile roofs would need similar maintenance to be carried out on them. Check each roof annually for the visible signs of damages like; broken, cracked, or missing shingles or tiles. First, gently clean the buildings’ facade and walkways of all moss, without using a pressure washer.

Do not try and walk on clay tile roofs because the tiles will be brittle and shatter. If there is broken tile or broken shingle, it should be fixed immediately so as not to cause additional damage.

Environmental Concerns

Shingle Roof: Roofs are made out of a variety of materials; most commonly asphalt and therefore shingles are water-proof. That means asphalt which is in most shingles is from petroleum thus making the shingles unsustainable.

However, there are advantages of environmental protection for some of the asphalt shingles; for instance, there are white shingles with heat reflecting properties that make your home cooler hence less power consumption.

Tile Roof: Tiles unlike slabs can be produced from a number of materials natural clay inclusive. They generally have a longer life and therefore do not end up being dumped and contribute to formation of a landfill. Some of the raw materials that are used in tiles can be recycled thus making tiled products a slightly environmentally friendly product.

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