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Clay Roofing
Clay Roofing Indianapolis | Universal Roofing & Exteriors

Clay Roofing Indianapolis

When in need of a very durable roofing option that’s aesthetically pleasing, consider clay tiles. Also known as Spanish tiles, these tiles are fired in a kiln to strengthen them and enhance their color. Clay tiles are smooth and come in a variety of styles that can fit your roofing project. Fired clay is durable, visually appealing, and only requires moderate maintenance. It is also considered more environmentally friendly than asphalt or wood shingles due to its longevity. Clay has been used for more durable roofing for thousands of years and is regaining popularity with modern homeowners.

Although clay tile roofs are frequently associated with hot, dry climates, the truth is that they can be used in many areas, including Indianapolis, if your roof is properly pitched and supported and the clay has been properly glazed to create a water-resistant seal. Clay does have its drawbacks because it can be expensive and difficult to install. The tiles are also heavy, so it is important to speak with a professional roofing contractor about the types of clay that best fit into the design of your home. Read on to learn more about the benefits of clay tile roofs.

Clay Tile Roofs Have a Thousand-Year History

Archaeological evidence indicates that clay has been used for architectural purposes since around 10,000 B.C. Hardened clay provided more protection from the elements and was more durable than thatch. Over time, the use of architectural clay spread throughout the world. Today, clay tiles continue to be a popular choice for roofing materials and are seen on both historical and modern homes.

Originally, the clay would be molded into tiles by hand, then left to dry and harden in the sun. Builders learned to speed up the curing process with hot ashes, then kilns. These early tiles were durable but still susceptible to water damage over time due to the porous nature of clay. Eventually, crafters began coating the tiles with a ceramic glaze to waterproof them.

Today, clay tiles can be left unfinished or treated with a matte or glossy waterproof seal, depending on your preferences. Clay roofing tiles come in a variety of colors based on the minerals and paints mixed into the clay. The most common colors are traditional earth tones of reds, grays, browns, yellows, whites, and oranges. But modern tiles can also come in colors such as greens, blues, or purples, creating a beautiful look for your home.

Clay Roofing Tiles

Clay roofing tiles can be shaped in many different ways and used in conjunction with other traditional or modern building materials like glass, metal roofing, or wood roofing. These hybrid installations can create a unique effect for your home, making it stand out from other homes in the area. Terracotta clay has become popular among homeowners because – unlike regular clay or concrete – it won’t change color with age. Terracotta can maintain its color longer because it gets baked into the clay during the kiln process, and most terracotta artifacts still retain their color to this day.

Clay Roofing Advantages

Clay roof tiles typically do not rust, warp or corrode, which can be a huge problem with other roofing materials. Clay roofs provide more effective insulation, helping homeowners to save money (and the environment) by reducing the amount of air conditioning or heating necessary to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. In fact, some users have been able to secure state or federal tax credits for their clay roof installation due to increased energy efficiency. The raw materials used to manufacture our tiles are non-toxic. Hence, the water which runs off a tiled roof is potable. Clay tiles are also Class-A fire-rated, meaning they are non-combustible and very fire-resistant.

Clay roof insulation properties help keep out undesirable noise while offering sustainability and lasting beauty. Clay roofing colors never fade and, with little maintenance, can maintain their properties, beauty, and protection from the elements. Because the clay is shaped and molded before baking, you have a variety of shapes to choose from, including barrels, flat, ribbed, interlocking, and more.

Clay tile roofs have many other practical benefits. They are naturally solar and bug resistant, provide better insulation, and when properly sealed, resistant to rot, moisture, fungus, and mold. Clay tiles are among the longest-lasting types of roofing materials, lasting 50-100 years if properly maintained. Additionally, an expert contractor can easily provide a clay tile roof repair, specifically on damaged tiles, instead of replacing whole sections of the roof.

Clay Roof Installation

Here are a few things you will want to consider before installing a clay tile roof on your home:

Clay Roof Maintenance

Clay tiles are very durable but need to be inspected regularly, and cracked or chipped tiles will need to be replaced immediately. Despite their durability, clay tiles are not designed to be stepped on. If you need to make repairs, contact a licensed contractor familiar with clay roofs. Clay roofs should be washed and buffed by hand, so it can be a smart idea for homeowners to invest in a clay tile roofing cleaner who is experienced in how to keep your roof cool and looking great without causing any damage in the process.


Generally, the main issue you’ll probably face with clay tile roofing is improper fastening. There are two types of fastening systems for clay tile roofing: interlocking and overlapping tiles. Interlocking clay tiles hook onto each other, and overlapping tiles have to be nailed into place because they don’t attach. Working closely with your clay tile roofing contractor could help ensure that your fastening system is installed correctly.

If your roof’s slope is less than 18 degrees, then clay roofing tiles may not be the ideal material for your home in regards to water runoff and weight. The added weight of clay tiles in combination with hanging at difficult angles can reduce the integrity of your clay roofing build, making them dangerous for yourself and others. 

Roof Sloping Degree

If the slope of your roof is less than 18 degrees, then clay roofing tiles may not be the ideal material for your home in regards to water runoff and weight. The added weight of clay tiles, in combination with hanging at difficult angles, can reduce the integrity of your clay roofing build, making the tiles dangerous for yourself and others.

Underlayment Replacement

Clay roofs are popular because they last a very long time. However, the underlayments beneath them do not last as long and will need to be replaced every 20 years. Tiles will be damaged if improperly handled so you must work with a seasoned clay roofing contractor to maintain and clean your tiles and the underlayment installed beneath them to avoid bigger complications and unexpected repair costs.

Weight Problems

Clay tiles are more than twice as heavy as asphalt shingles, so it can be crucial for your roofing project to have your home evaluated by a structural engineer. If your home needs structural support, this may increase the cost of the clay roofing project tremendously. You should reinforce your roof so that it can support the weight of your clay tiles.

Clay Roofing Costs

The average clay roof could cost anywhere between $20,000 to $50,000, depending on the specific details of your home. Normally, individuals pay about $10 to $20 per square foot or $1000 to $2000 per square installed on a standard-sized home. Of course, costs will vary depending on your roof contractor’s pricing and the details of your project and installation.

Despite its durability, clay tile roofing can be very fragile but, if properly installed, can last decades. Speaking with expert Indianapolis roofing professionals can save you time and money and help you choose the most suitable option for your next roofing project.

Contact Jackson Contracting today for a free consultation about your Indianapolis home. We are a family-owned roofing company that has proudly served residents of Indianapolis and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Our licensed professionals will discuss your needs, thoroughly evaluate your home, and provide a free estimate for roofing repairs or replacement.

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