Clay Tile vs. Concrete Tile for Phoenix, Arizona Roofs

Simply put: tile roofs are awesome. That's why it's hard to choose between clay and concrete-both beautiful types of tile roof material. But can we be honest? Each has their pros and cons. Clay Roof TilesLet's look at a few important factors to see if clay or concrete tile is right for your family's Arizona home.


We are always reluctant to talk lifespan when it comes to tile roofing. Yes, the roof tile will likely last a lifetime, but roof tile is the water shedding component of your roof system. The water proofing component of your roof is the tile underlayment, and that does not have the same lifespan. Thus the need for tile roof removal and replacement (R&R) usually every 13-16 years.

The average lifespans of tile roofs are as follows:

  • Concrete tile: 50-60 years
  • Clay tile: 50-60+ years

That's right, clay tile lasts the longest of all roofing materials (as long as you don't walk on them wrong, anyway).


Color fading makes a big difference when you have to replace a few tiles from a storm. The new tiles won't match the rest of your roof, making it look splotchy.

  • Concrete tile: Eventually fade in color in the hot, Arizona sun.
  • Clay tile: Usually won't fade in the sun and can be glazed to hold their color.


The cost of a tile roof will vary depending on the material:

  • Concrete tile: Generally costs $300 to $600 per square (new roof: $7,500 to $15,000)
  • Clay tile: Generally costs $700 to $1000 per square (new roof: $17,500 to $25,000)

Of course, the total cost of a new tile roof depends on several other factors besides the roof material, such as additional features that improve cosmetics and increase energy efficiency.

Learn more in our article: How Much Does a New Tile Roof Cost in Arizona?


Another factor you must consider is the weight of the tiles:

  • Concrete tile: 900 to 1.100 pounds per square
  • Clay tile: 800 to 1000 pounds per square

In some cases, neither tile is a good choice because of the extra weight-unless you have enough structural framing to support it. A professional roofer will be able to assess the condition of your roof and determine if it is suited for tiles.


Concrete is more durable than clay, so they're less likely to break during a storm or when someone walks on your roof. Tile durability is important because all it takes is a single broken tile to allow the underlayment to become damaged and allow water to invade and damage your roof.

The pros and cons of concrete vs. clay tiles are as follows:

Concrete tile pros:

  • Can cost far less than clay tile
  • More durable than clay tile, so you're less likely to get water damage due to broken tiles and damaged underlayment.

Concrete tile cons:

  • Color fades over time
  • Heavier than clay, so your current roof's frame may not be able to handle it

Clay tile pros:

  • Lasts the longest of all roofing materials
  • Weighs less than concrete
  • Can be glazed to prevent color fading

Clay tile cons:

  • Low durability
  • Costs significantly more than other roof materials

Let Us Install the Right Roof Material for You

Still undecided about what roof material is right for you? Talk to us about it. We'll be happy to help!