Roofing Materials: Why Concrete and Clay Roof Tiles are Sustainable

Roofing Materials, Roofing Materials: Why Concrete and Clay Roof Tiles are Sustainable, sustainable roofing

Roofing Materials: Why Concrete and Clay Roof Tiles are Sustainable

Traditionally, home and property owners searching for the best roofing choices were mainly concerned with finding materials for their value, durability and energy efficiency. In the last several years a new criteria has emerged as something roofing customers are looking for: sustainable materials.

Many of the roofing products available are sustainable to some extent. Asphalt shingles are largely recyclable when they reach the end of the lifespan. However, two types of roofing really shine as the most sustainable materials: concrete and clay roof tiles.


What is sustainability?

Materials that can be made with renewable resources are said to be sustainable. Manufacturing them doesn’t disturb the delicate balance of earth’s ecosystems.


In the past, people didn’t know or care very much about sustainability, but in the last several decades, as people have begun to understand how fragile our blue planet is, they’ve taken steps to seek out materials that are more “green.”

What’s amazing is that some of the oldest roofing materials used were actually sustainable! Clay, for instance, has been a popular roofing choice for centuries and is made from renewable, earth friendly resources.


Clay roofing tiles

Clay deposits are found in many areas of the country. It’s formed by the weathering of rocks. It’s not a useful medium for growing plants, but it does lend itself to making things like cups, bowls, pottery and roofing tiles! Just think of all the clay artifacts seen in museums that have lasted thousands of years.

To cut down on costs and energy use, the factories that make clay roofs are often located in clay rich areas. The clay is mixed with other materials, then fired at a high temperature in a kiln to make it hard and durable. One of the other reasons that clay roofs are sustainable are the fact that they keep homes nice and cool in warm climates. This is why they are found throughout Mediterranean regions, as well as the American southwest.

The durability of clay is another reason that it’s considered to be sustainable. Materials like asphalt shingles need to be replaced more often. This leads to more and more manufacturing, and a greater toll on the environment. When a clay roof, or more likely, the house underneath has reached the end of its lifespan, the tiles can be ground down and repurposed to other things like gravel.

Clay roofs can last a lifetime if they are installed correctly. More often, it’s simply the underlayment that needs attention during the lifespan of the roof. 

If you are considering a clay roof, remember that its lifespan depends on proper installation, so make sure to contact the professionals at Horizon to put a new clay tile roof on your house. Preventative maintenance is always key to long life, so periodically, check in with a roofing contractor to see if there are small repairs or tasks that can save you big time in the long run.



Concrete roofing tiles

Like clay roofing tiles, concrete tiles are made from all natural abundant ingredients like sand, cement and iron oxide. Since factories are usually located close to the places where these materials are found, they have a much lower carbon footprint because trucks don’t need to travel far from the quarry to the manufacturing facility.

What’s amazing is that when the materials are mixed together to form the tiles, other recycled content can be mixed in. Typically, these are things like tiles that were made but never used, or tiles that were broken. This means the process of making tiles is very efficient, nothing is wasted.

Concrete is a great choice for energy efficiency as well. They reflect sunlight, keeping the structure cooler underneath. Additionally, they help keep warm air inside a home during colder months. This cuts down on heating and cooling costs, which is green for the environment, and a win for your gas and electric bill as well. Concrete is also a very long lifespan product. The tiles can last 3 or 4 times as long as an asphalt roof, which means less overall manufacturing and waste. 


Great for the environment, great for looks

Both concrete and clay tiles are available in so many colors and shapes, they can fit just about any home or office building look, as well as complimenting the surrounding community. When it comes to the environmental impact on your city or town, remember that green, sustainable roofing can have a cooling effect on an entire community through its beneficial thermal properties.

Clay tiles are often found in the centuries old “barrel style” configuration, often associated with Spanish missions. While this look suits many buildings, there are many other styles available. The same goes for the color, while the red is the most classic look, different pigments are added during the manufacture, making them available in many other shades as well.

When you think of concrete, you often think of the same bland color of the sidewalk. When it comes to roofing concrete, there are multitudes of colors and shades available to suit just about anyone’s tastes. This is because natural pigment can be added as they are made, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to color.



Sustainable roofing requires expert installation

Both clay and concrete tile roofs are quite heavy. This means that the supporting structure needs to be able to handle it. Horizon doesn’t cut corners. When we give you an estimate, we’ll look at your existing roof deck and roofing support structure to make sure it’s up to the task.

Getting the maximum lifespan out of clay or concrete roofing means making sure the underlayment is sturdy and waterproof. Professional roofers also take great care to make sure that any ventilation pipes or grates have proper watertight flashing.

Don’t take chances with inexperienced installers. When clay and concrete tiles are installed properly, they can be the last roof you’ll ever need, giving you decades of waterproof durability.


Making a sustainable choice

When you choose a concrete or clay tile roof, you are making a great choice that doesn’t just benefit you, it benefits the entire planet. Not only will you have a great looking, long lasting roof, but one you can take pride in, knowing you did your part to keep our planet thriving.


Horizon Roofing – serving the Orange County, CA area – is your reliable local roofing contractors. We specialize in residential roofing and commercial roofing and have been in the industry for over a decade. We have excellent reviews and look forward to serving your need.


Call us on(714) 328-1967, email us at, or contact us here today.

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