Concrete-based tiles and shakes are an incredibly common choice of roofing material here in northern Nevada, and they're not atypical in other parts of the country either (particularly in coastal applications thanks to their resistance to salt spray). As roof materials go, they have a few pros - good fire resistance, great resale value, decent hail damage resistance, decent resistance to general weathering and there's a certain aesthetic that lots of people like too - but more than a few cons too.
- The first big drawback to concrete-based tiles and shakes is the extreme weight. At 9-15 lbs/sq ft, the average roof weighs in around 36,000 pounds! Here in earthquake country, that seems downright treacherous (check out the shot of the home above, damaged during the big Northridge, CA quake). It's also an issue if you're considering concrete tile or shake as a replacement material and you don't currently have it, because structural engineering considerations may be required to support such a heavy load.
- Then there's the high wind factor. Again, here in northern Nevada, we're no strangers to high winds, and those concrete tile and shake roofs that builders are so fond of here require nails, slips and/or wiring to keep them from blowing off - despite their weight.
- Snow and ice can cause extreme damage too, because of their inherent brittleness, and environmentally, concrete-based roofs are just so-so.
- Extremely lightweight, about 1.4 lb/sq ft - so no structural considerations AND it can go over many existing roofing materials, eliminating the cost and environmental impact of tear-offs
- Excellent 120 mph wind and hail damage warranties
- Excellent resistance to damage from snow and ice, thanks to an interlocking design that resists ice damming
- Excellent limited lifetime warranties and resistance to general weathering
- Excellent environmentally - recyclable and made of recycled materials
- Excellent re-sale value