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Which Roof Tiles Are The Best?

Your roof protects your most valuable asset. It’s our first line of defence from the elements, so making sure you choose the right roof tiles is extremely important.

From a design stance, the roof is the single largest surface area of a house, forming the connection between the house and the street.

With lots to consider, including budget, functionality, style considerations (and sometimes heritage and streetscape issues, too), here are four of the best ideas for Australian homes.

How Popular Are Roof Tiles?

Roof tiles are among the oldest roofing materials used in the world.

Going as far back as five thousand years, we can see why roof tiles are a popular roofing material for roof replacements.

The first modern concrete roof tiles were manufactured in Europe in 1844. In Australia, manufacturing started in the 1920s.

Concrete Roof Tiles

Concrete roof tiles are made from a mixture of water, cement and sand.

The mixture is then molded under high pressure and extreme heat. Afterwards, the surface of the concrete roof tile may be finished with paint-like material.

If you happen to look throughout your neighbourhood, you’ll notice that concrete roof tiles remain one of the most popular roofing materials for Australian homeowners.

If you’re looking to recreate the sophisticated appearance of expensive terracotta tiles, (on a budget), there is simply no better option.

Despite the drawbacks of tiled roofs, concrete roof tiles come in a variety of colours, profiles and shapes that may complement and contrast your home’s aesthetics.

The surface of concrete roof tiles can be smooth or textured, and tile edges may be uniform or ragged. Better yet, your roof will easily withstand fire, wind, and hail when properly installed by a reputable roofing company.

Plus, with the advent of new production techniques, you can pick between a traditional look and something more modern.

If cost is a major consideration, then you’ll also be pleased to learn that concrete tiles are more cost-effective to install versus clay roofing tiles.

Clay Roof Tiles

By now you’re probably convinced that concrete roof tiles are the best thing since sliced bread.

But we wouldn’t want you to stop reading without knowing the benefits and limitations of clay roof tiles.

Clay roofing tiles are manufactured by baking molded clay. The density of your roofing tiles will depend on two factors:

(1) the temperature at which the roof tiles are heated

(2) the length of time they are heated.

Generally, clay tiles will come in a range of colours such as brown, yellow, orange and white. The most common clay roof tile colour is Terra-Cotta. One alternative to natural, earthy tones is to add enamels to the manufacturing process.

This allows you to make any colour of roof tile(s) and is known as ceramic.

By spraying enamel over the tile before baking it at high temperatures, you can bind a colour of choice which prevents fading or peeling.

As a result of ceramic binding in the kiln, you may choose from a larger variety of colours, profiles, styles and finishes.

An additional benefit of clay tiles is that they are manufactured from natural earth materials which allow for environmentally friendly recycling.

However, the largest drawback for homeowners of clay roof tiles is cost. Lastly, it’s important to remember that unlike concrete roofing tiles, clay tiles will be more fragile and likely to shatter if roof access is required.

Considerations for Choosing Roof Tiles

Roof tiles are a stylish and versatile choice, offering homeowners design flexibility to suit a range of architectural styles and specifications.

They are a low-maintenance option and offer sound reduction and insulation benefits as well as fire and wind resistance properties.

Consider The Roof Tiles’ Material

Roof tiles are available in ceramic, terracotta and concrete, and a homeowner’s choice will come down to a personal preference of shape (or profile), colour and finish. Boral ceramic, terracotta and concrete tiles are built to last, with a 60-year warranty on ceramic tiles, 50-year warranty on terracotta tiles and a 20-year guarantee on concrete tiles.

Ceramic and terracotta tiles are slightly smaller than concrete tiles, which mean there are differences in the number of tiles per square metre, as well as the system and pattern of aligning the tiles on the roof next to each other.

Select A Tile Profile That Complements The Overall Design

The profile refers to a tile’s shape and design at its cross-section. This can be either flat or shaped, with further design variations within these categories.

A key consideration when choosing a profile is the architectural style of the house as well as the pitch of the roof. For example, a flat profile will lend a more streamlined, contemporary look; if you are in a high rainfall area; however, the rain will run off faster on a steeper roof pitch.

Research Colour And Finish Options

Colour and finish can have a fundamental influence on the style, character and essence of a home. The architectural style and the home’s environment, including surrounding houses, is a major factor in choosing exterior colours and finishes.

When selecting roof colour and finish, consider guttering and fascia finish of the home and, as a general rule, look for colours that are in harmony or contrast. Boral ceramic, terracotta and concrete roof tiles are available in a range of warm, cool and neutral tones.

Choose Accessories

When it comes to roofing, accessories are not merely a case of optional extras.

Accessories are designed for their aesthetic qualities and, like everything else in the home, the right accompaniments can turn a generic feature into a standout one.

Work With A Qualified Installer

A good roof is dependent on good installation from a qualified installer. Make sure the roof is properly installed to specifications set out by the roof tile supplier.

roof tiles

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Roof Tiles

Are you looking to replace your roof tiles and aren’t sure where to start?

When it is time to start or repair your roof, you need to consider what you want before you call a roofing contractor. By making the right decision, you increase your homes visual appearance and its value.

Style of Your Home

The architectural style of your house will dictate the type of roofing tiles to use.

For instance, some roofing tiles are best suited for historic homes, while asphalt tiles are suitable for most architectural styles. Consult with your contractor to choose the roofing that matches your home’s aesthetics.

Roof Application

Are you applying the roof to a new structure, or is it a replacement roof? With new roofs, your choices are not limited to the existing components such as the roof structure composition or the roof pitch.

However, because of the cost of replacing a new roof entirely, if you are replacing a few broken tiles, it would be best if you retained the existing roof.

Your Budget

As a roof of thumb, choose a roofing material that is neither too expensive nor too cheap. The price will vary depending on the material. Always avoid cheap roofing materials, as they are costly to maintain due to frequent replacements.

Do not base your decision on price alone.


Your choice on roof tile types should be guided by durability. The durable roof tile will cost more, but it will be worth it since the maintenance cost will be low. Most homeowners will prefer steel or aluminum roofing materials as they can last up to 50 years or more.

If that doesn’t work for you, you can always opt for the slate which can last for more than a century.


How is the climate in your locale? Your roof should be sturdy enough to withstand even the most extreme temperatures in your area. For example, if your locale is predominantly hot, refrain from using rubber material instead choose asphalt tiles.

Areas that have high precipitation can try metal roofs as they are waterproof and rust-resistant.

Energy Efficiency

Be sure not to pick a roofing material that will require you to spend more on energy costs. Preferably, choose a material that is energy efficient. This will reduce your energy costs.

roof tiles


Best Roof Tiles and Roof Options For Australian Homes

Steel Roofing

Australia’s architectural vernacular is punctuated with steel roofs and for a good reason! Not only do they look great with all kinds of exterior cladding, but steel sheeting is also rugged, non-combustible and Wolverine-strong, holding up to harsh climate conditions. A steel roof can last at least three to four decades, and the baked-on painted finish should withstand at least two decades of soaring heat before flaking.

As for energy efficiency, Lisa suggests foregoing the charcoal trend for lighter neutral and grey colours that reflect, rather than absorb, heat. Also, keep an eye out for steel with a specialty finish that is primed for reflecting the sun’s heat, as this will help to keep your home cooler.

Steel roofing is relatively quick to install. A 210 square-metre, the single-storey home takes about one week to finish, weather permitting. But before calling the tradies in, it’s wise to contact the council as there may be height limits, the boundary setbacks and restrictions in place.

Terracotta And Concrete Tile Roofing

Tiles are low maintenance, highly insulating and long-wearing, with a minimum life span of 50 years for terracotta and 20 years for concrete. Terracotta tiles are formed from kiln-fired natural clay topped with glaze. The colour is locked in, which means they don’t tend to show their age.

Concrete tiles are made from sand and cement, with a pigmented colour coat on top or with pigment mixed through for longer wear. Concrete is unglazed, and UV rays and pollution can dull the colour over time, though a coat of enamel spray revives concrete, unlike terracotta.

A yearly professional high-pressure clean prevents lichen and moss on tiles. A discolouration called efflorescence can affect concrete, but a sealant will help.

Zinc And Copper Cladding Roofing

When a home requires more than just a roof overhead, specialty metals are a seriously stylish option. Copper and zinc are durable, robust and, unlike other roof materials, the patina gets better with age with just an optional wash down required if leaves and dirt build-up.

Bluestone And Synthetic Slate Roof

Bluestone or slate is up there with hardwood floors and high ceilings as an architectural classic. The beauty of this building material is in the subtler variations of textures, drawn from the unique landscape where it was formed. The disadvantages are that slate is heavy, expensive and very fiddly to install.

roof tiles


What Are the Main Types of Roof Tiles?

Once you know the factors to consider, it is time to make a decision. Consider all the available choices of roofing tiles before you contact your roofer for roof restoration. Here are the main roofing tiles.

Metal Tiles

Metal tiles are similar to metal roofs in that they share most of the advantages. These include longevity, very few leaks, and durability. The upside to using metal tiles as opposed to metal roofs is that metal tiles have more styles to choose from.

Nowadays, metal tiles can be fabricated to look like slate tiles, clay tiles, and several other roofing tiles. They are then applied an acrylic coating to protect and enhance the look. Such tiles are suitable for homeowners who are not looking to add reinforcements to their roof decks.

This is because metal tiles are lighter than concrete tiles but thicker than asphalt tiles.

Copper Tiles

Copper roofs are known to last for more than a century before they need to be replaced. Copper tiles offer the same durability as copper roofs, but they are more versatile, which makes compatible with different roof styles. The biggest downside to using copper tiles is that they require professionals to install.

They are also expensive to maintain.

Stone Tiles

Slate tiles have been around for centuries, primarily due to their longevity and pleasant colours. They can last up to 100 years. They also have a unique colour variation that adds a pleasant look to a building.

Slate tiles are expensive and difficult to install, which is one of the reasons that homeowners prefer to avoid them. Finding an experienced roofer to install the slate tiles will also be a problem. However, the authentic look you get from these tiles is worth the hustle.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are known for their fireproofing abilities and to some extent their durability. They were first exclusively used in Southwestern and Spanish style homes but now they are almost everywhere. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colours which makes them ideal for a wide range of homes.

Polymer-Sand Tiles

Polymer-sand tiles are made from mixing sand and binding them with polymers. They are considered to be the most suitable alternative to the use of ceramic tiles. They look similar to ceramic tiles, but they are more durable and less likely to break.

Once installed, polymer-sand tiles require very little maintenance or replacements.

Similar to ceramic tiles, polymer-sand tiles are fireproof and weigh less than slate tiles and concrete tile. Your options regarding size and colour will be limited to just a few since the number of polymer-sand tile manufacturers is still small.

Composite Tiles

Composite tile roofing is a multi-layered tile that comprises of acrylic, metal, and stone. The demand for such tiles is soaring as the need for a more natural appearance continues to increase. Composite tiles look similar to slate and clay tiles but are lighter than stone and concrete tile.

This makes them suitable for roofs with the required reinforcement for heavy roofing materials.

Bituminous Tiles

Bituminous tiles are among the lightest and easiest to install. They are made of fibreglass and covered with basalt chips or granite on top. Any roofer can install them since they only require an adhesive to fix them to the roof.

This reduces the likelihood of leaks as there are no holes punctured into the roof.

Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles can be a good alternative to ceramic tiles as they are less prone to breakage and look similar to ceramic tiles. Concrete tiles are made from a mixture of cement, sand, and water. The result is a tile that is very heavy, easy to install and less expensive than slate tiles.

The only downside is that their weight creates the need for reinforcement in some roofs.

As you choose the best rooting tiles, ensure you get them from a reputable source. Hire a roofing company that understands your needs and knows how to fulfil the—experience and commitment matters when it comes to construction projects.

Here at TopGlaze, we’re offering FREE inspections to our valued customers. The roof is one of the most important parts of your home. We want to help keep it in good shape!

If you have any questions about the process and the health of your roof, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 1800-887-798.

Alternatively, fill out the form on our website, and we’ll get in touch with you as soon as we can. When it comes to your roof, don’t wait for the problem to get bigger.


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