Tile Roofing

Tile Roofing

Tile Roofing By San Diego’s Roofing Specialists

Roof tiles are a timeless San Diego favorite. Not only do you see them on many new construction homes in the area, but on the Mission San Diego de Alcalá built back in the 18th century. And it’s no wonder tile roofs are popular in San Diego County. They are uniquely suited to our area’s climate and location.

Learn more below about the benefits of tile, what a proper installation looks like, and what to expect with tile roof repairs.

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Download Brochure (PDF) to See Available Colors and Styles

Benefits of Tile Roofing in San Diego

  1. Fire-Resistant: San Diego County is susceptible to wildfires, and your roof is one of the most vulnerable parts of your home. Roof tiles are a Class A roof covering, which means it has the highest resistance to fire. It is a great way to make your home more fire resistant.  
  2. Cheaper Home Insurance: Home insurance companies like tile roofs because they are long-lasting and homeowners with tile roofs are less likely to file claims.
  3. Weather Resistant: They perform well under all kinds of weather – rain, hail, wind, and extreme temperatures.
  4. Durable: They can easily last over 50 to 100 years. They don’t decay and are resistant to insects. They are also resistant to corrosive salt air, making them a perfect choice for homes built in cities along the coast like Del Mar, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Solana Beach.
  5. Energy-Efficient: Roof tiles help insulate your roof and allow for natural air ventilation. This helps cool your home in the summer and keep it warm during the winter. And lighter-colored tiles reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them. If you live more inland in areas like Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, and Vista, this can save you a lot of money in air conditioning. Eagle Roofing even has cooling roof tiles that have an even greater impact. 
  6. Earth-Friendly: Tile roofs are made out of natural materials and don’t use petroleum in the manufacturing process.  
  7. Variety: Cement tiles can be shaped to look like just about anything, including wood shake, slate, clay, stone, and shingles. And they come with a wide color selection. 
  8. Easy to Repair: Tile roof repairs are often a lot easier to make than other repairs, especially if the problem is in just one area.
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Common Types

Concrete or Cement 

Cement roofing tiles are the most common in San Diego. They are cheaper than clay tiles and can be shaped to mimic lots of different roofing options. You can also find cement tiles in many different styles like Spanish tile, Mediterranean roof tiles, and Japanese roof tiles or kawara. 

Clay or Terracotta 

Clay tiles are made from molded clay and are one of the most environmentally friendly options. They are also well-known for their longevity. They can last over 100 years when made and installed correctly. Even though clay tiles are more expensive, they make up for it in longevity. Most commonly they are terracotta in color, but there are also ceramic tiles that are made by adding a colored-enamel coating. 


Composite tile is often made up of materials like plastic, fiberglass, rubber, recycled materials, and asphalt. They can be shaped to replicate clay, wood shake, and slate. They are lightweight and less likely to break. However, be careful when choosing a manufacturer to make sure the composite roofing tiles have a good warranty and a Class A fire rating.  

Common Shapes

  • Flat Tile Profiles or Interlocking
  • Slate Profile
  • Barrel Tile Profile
  • Spanish Tile or S tile

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Tile Roofing

How Long Do Tile Roofs Last?

Roofing tiles are built to last a lifetime, but they don’t actually waterproof your roof. The tile acts as a protectant, but it is the felting or underlayment that does all the work. And underlayment typically needs to be replaced every 20 to 25 years. 

Roof Tile Relay

Replacing the underlayment is called re-felting or a roof tile relay. Roofers remove the tile from your roof, replace the felt, and retile the roof. In most cases, unless the customer requests otherwise, the existing tile can be reused—saving you the expense of purchasing new tiles.
Felt tile relay

Tile Roofing Cost in San Diego

Tile roofs cost more than shingle roofs and are more difficult to install. However, they require less maintenance and last a lot longer than some kinds of shingles. Roofing tiles can also be reused, saving you a lot of expense. 

A lot of factors go into providing an estimate. Roofing contractors need to determine if there is enough structural support and take into consideration your roof’s pitch, size, and complexity. 

Get all the information you need to decide by calling us for a free, on-site estimate. Our estimates include a detailed proposal by an experienced roofer that is customized to your home. 

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Proper Installation

A tile roof is a great, long-term investment, but it needs to be installed correctly. At TR Construction, we want your roof to last a lifetime so we don’t cut corners. We use nothing but the best quality roofing products that have been proven over time. And we use the latest roofing methods.  

Some roofing companies only install one layer of 40lb thickness underlayment paper or two layers of 30lb thickness underlayment paper. However, the ideal installation that is commercially used throughout the San Diego area is 2 layers of 40lb paper. This gives your roof extra protection from the elements and decreases the likelihood of a leak.  

We use the required pipe, roof, and tile pan flashings. And we only use pipe flashings that are specifically designed and made to flash your vent pipes. We also use roofing nails, not staples!

Tile Roof Leaks

Tile roofs are very durable, but the underlayment and how the roofing system is installed will affect the lifespan of the roof. 

In San Diego, we have found that many of the roofs built over 15 years ago leak. This is because they don’t live up to our current standards and were installed very poorly. Newer homes can also have leaks if the roof system wasn’t installed correctly. 

Why is my tile roof leaking?

When done properly, tile roofs can last a very long time. Here are some reasons they might leak

  • The underlayment under the tiles might be old and worn out. It typically needs to be replaced every 20 to 25 years. 
  • Many of the older homes in San Diego only have one layer of 30lb thickness underlayment. This is too thin and dramatically increases the change of leaking. 
  • The underlayment may have been compromised due to roof damage, not being installed correctly, or excessive exposure to the elements.
  • Tiles roofs are designed to move water from one tile down to the next. The water is directed down until it flows off the roof. When tiles, flashings, or underlayment are installed incorrectly, they don’t shed the water properly. This can allow the water to leak through to the plywood and eventually your home. 
  • You know all those funny pipes you see sticking through your roof? These are pipes that vent your heating system, hot water system, and include all the drainage for your sinks, dishwasher, etc. They are packed in with concrete to seal the area around the pipe and the tile. But if over time the cement expands and breaks away from the pipe, it can cause a leak
  • Sometimes flashings around transitions, chimneys, pipes, vents, or skylights aren’t installed correctly or may have deteriorated. These are common areas for water to leak in. 
  • If solar panels aren’t installed correctly, this can cause the roof to leak. It is important to have solar panels installed by a reputable company that is familiar with roofing. 
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Tile Roof Repair

Repairs are often easiest with tile roofs, especially if the problem is limited to one area. 

People usually spot tile roof leaks during the rainy seasons. If you see any signs of a roof leak, be sure to repair your roof right away. The longer a roof leaks, the greater and more expensive the damage is. 

The cost of the tile roof repair will depend on the condition of your roof and the extent of the damage. TR Construction offers free estimates. We will send an experienced roofer out to your home to assess your roof and provide a free estimate

Leaks often impact more than just your roof. If you need help repairing water damage, our specialized divisions in remodelingroofingelectricalsolar, and painting can help.


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