Tile and Slate Roofing
Slate and tile roofing are rigid, natural products that offer great longevity and beauty, if installed properly and constantly maintained. Most of these products carry a warranty that backs the slate or tile indefinitely. This means, the slate or tile itself will not break down or offer problems if left alone to do its work. However, one large caveat remains— these products can be prone to problems with regard to tree debris and moss. In fact, some of these products, though used frequently in our environment, specifically do poorly in cases of moss and algae. They may require expensive and abrasive cleaning methods, so please consider this carefully before committing the substantial investment that these products require.
Concrete tile is one of the most beautiful products available. Tile is known for its substantial, hefty appearance, as well as a hefty weight. These products often weight 4-5 times more than heaviest asphalt composition products, so they must be installed on a structure that is designed for this heavy load.
One major concern regarding concrete tile in the Northwest is “single coverage.” Asphalt composition, cedar shakes, and most other roofing products are two layers thick. Concrete tiles are one layer thick. If water passes by the roof surface, it makes its way directly to the underlayment below. With 40 inches of rain a year, and with moss and algae clogging the water channels found in a tile roof, water can back-up into the roof assembly very early in a tile roof’s life, getting to the wood and the underlayment below. For this reason, concrete tiles require specialty installation in our climate. In our opinion, we are modifying a more southern product to “make-do” in a northwest environment.
Of the natural products, nothing speaks to quality and longevity like slate roofing. Slate roofing has been used all over the world, and can have a service life, depending on installation style, of hundreds of years. Slate is cut and shaped from slate quarries, and it truly lasts forever. It breathes well, and all accessories of a slate roof, including fasteners, are typically copper.
Slate weighs a great deal. Structures must be engineered for the weight of the product. Slate also has numerous sizes, shapes, and colors. From fish scale patterns to green-colored stone, slate can be the ultimate designer roof.
Lightweight Concrete Tile
Lightweight concrete tile are lightweight versions of the commonly used heavy concrete tiles. Lightweight tile have similar characteristics to standard concrete tile, but they do not require the structural support of a standard tile. The issue with lightweight tile is that they break easily, which provides major challenges to cleaning and maintenance efforts.
Clay tile are rarely seen in our climate. They often have a beautiful European, Southwestern or Mediterranean look. Clay tiles can come shaded or blended in a number of ways. They are also difficult to maintain in our environment, but some house styles simply demand this kind of product.