Roof Shingles vs Tiles: What is the Difference?

If you plan to install a new roof on your home, then knowing the pros and cons of roof shingles vs tiles is important. Each material offers its own benefits and downsides so that you can weigh your options. So, what is the difference between the two?

Roofing shingles are popular and known for their versatility, low cost, and textured appearance. Tile roofing costs much more than shingles and it’s harder to replace tiles, but tile roofs also have greater durability, longer lifespan, and better protection from climate and the elements.

In this article, you will learn the main differences between roofing shingles and roofing tiles regarding cost, appearance, durability, protection, and more. You will also discover the different types of shingles and roofing tiles and whether you can switch from one to the other at any time.


What Are Roofing Shingles?

What Are Roofing Shingles

Shingles are the most popular type of roofing in North America and can be made out of different materials, including plastic, slate, shake, slate, fiberglass, and even wood or copper. The most common material for roofing shingles is asphalt or a mixture between asphalt and fiberglass. Shingles made from asphalt are popular because they are waterproof, affordable, and easy to install.

Shingles are usually small, thin, and rectangular and overlap on the roof to ensure protection for your home. Many homeowners also like the way shingles look and the fact that they come in many different styles, colors, textures, and even shapes. They also reflect sunlight, resist fire damage, and are fairly easy to maintain.

What Are Roofing Tiles?

What Are Roofing Tiles

While shingles are the most popular choice in North America, tile roofing is more popular around the world. They are stylish and attractive and can give your home a unique appearance. Many homes that use tiles borrow design elements from Spanish architecture or Italian and Mediterranean aesthetics.

Roofing tiles are made of terracotta, clay, ceramic, concrete, or slate and hand in rows. Like shingles, tiles also overlap to ensure water runs off of them toward the gutter or ground. They are heavy and strong and can protect your home for decades. They also come in various styles and colors to match your personal taste.

Roof Shingles vs Tiles: Key Points

Roof ShinglesTiles
AppearanceTextured with versatile customization for colors, thickness, and size. Easy to mix and matchTraditional and elegant with different shades and colors that match Spanish and Mediterranean styles
DurabilityLast 15 to 30 years, easy to repair or replace, resistant to fire and algae and impactCan last 50 years or even up to 100 years or more, very protective and heavy duty
WeightLightweight and will work with virtually any home or structureHeavier and you will need to make sure your home can support the weight of the tile roofing you choose
Energy EfficiencyStandard shingles are more heat absorbent, but energy-efficient options can save you up to 15% on your electricEnergy-efficient by reflecting heat and sunlight and allowing for better insulation and can reduce heat transfer by 70 percent
InstallationSimple installation that is easy for homeowners and affordable to hire professionalsInstallation may require roof reinforcement, flashings, or cement and can take days to accomplish
Weather ResistanceOften preferred in warm regions and does well for repelling water and does not become damaged by hailWork good with high winds, snow loads, and colder climates, but the impact can damage the tiles
MaintenanceVery easy maintenance, resists algae growth, may not appear dirty as oftenIt may require more cleaning and you have to be careful not to drop tools and step carefully to avoid damage
AvailabilityIt may be harder to find shingles in uncommon colors and prices have increased in recent yearsShortage in clay and concrete tiles as well as uncommon styles and colors. Some materials also may be hard to find in North America because they aren’t popular
CostMaterials: Between $65 and $80 per square Labor: $50 to $75 per squareMaterials:$100 to $250 per square Labor: $325 to $550 per square

What is the Difference Between Roofing Shingles and Tiles?

Roof Shingles vs Tiles

The main difference between tiles and shingles for roofing is the type of material. The differences in the material will also factor into many aspects of roofing that you will want to consider to decide on which type of roofing you want to use for your home. The material differences can change the appearance, durability, weight, maintenance, cost, and more.


The appearance is something that most homeowners will care about, but both shingles and tile roofing can look great. The one that looks better is usually determined by personal preference, but they have some properties that make them suitable for different design uses.

Shingle offers more customization and versatility when it comes to styles, textures, and colors and can match the color of your home. You can also easily mix and match shingle color options, which many homeowners love because they can choose combinations to perfectly match their house’s style, color, and trim paint. There are also luxury shingles designed to look like slate or other materials that can be a great, durable choice.

On the other hand, tiles often look more luxurious and combine a fancy aesthetic with traditional design elements. They are also great for matching unique architectural and style features in a home. Tile roofing can be painted in various shades and they also come in different shapes and sizes to suit you and your home.


For durability, tile roofing has a longer lifespan by a significant amount. Asphalt shingles are expected to last somewhere between 15 years and 30 years. Thicker shingles will last longer than standard options, but they still do not offer the lasting power of tiles, which can last decades more. Tile roofing often comes with 50-year warranties and can last up to 100 years if well-maintained.

Shingles do offer some benefits for durability, though. They can resist algae growth and resist fire damage. In addition, asphalt and fiberglass shingles are easy to repair and replace if very few become damaged. Therefore, even though shingles are more susceptible to damage by wind and other elements, they are easy to fix when that does happen.

Tiles are heavy and protective and are superior for many aspects of durability. However, they can become broken or damaged with heavy or improper walking or other impactful incidents, including falling tools, tree branches, or hail.


The construction of your home will have to support the weight of the materials you choose for your roof, so it is critical to take it into account. Not all structures can support heavy tile and it is crucial to consider the carrying limits of your home before installing tiles.

Most homes can support the weight of tile roofing, but if there are fragile components or weakened areas around the home, they may not be able to safely and effectively hold the tiles. The type of tile roofing is also important because some types are much heavier while others weigh much less.

Shingles are lightweight and will work with virtually any structure. For areas prone to water buildup and heavy rains, this means that you can even double up shingles without exceeding the amount of weight that your home can support, but there are other considerations as well.

Energy Efficiency

Tile roofing can be very energy efficient compared to other roofing materials, including shingles. Tile roofing can decrease heat flow into your home by 70% more than asphalt roofing shingles. Tiles are less likely to absorb heat and will, instead, reflect the heat away from your home. Tile roofing also has more airflow and ventilation that prevent heat escape.

They are energy-efficient and reflect some of the sunlight and heat away from home. These can save up to 15% on your energy costs compared to standard shingle varieties. Shingles designed for energy efficiency are made with special textures that reduce the absorption of heat that can significantly reduce and impede the transfer of heat.


Shingles are easy to install and pretty straightforward, even for a DIY homeowner who has never worked on a roof before. Many shingle products have tabs that overlap each other and then they are nailed and sealed as long as there is a felt underlayment underneath the first layer of shingles.

Tiles are not as simple to install and often require roof reinforcement first. This is related to the higher weight of the tile roofing materials. Additionally, the installation process is a little more difficult and takes longer. There are different tiles and some are easier than others to utilize because of interlocking snaps, but others have to be cemented one at a time, which can cause the project to take days. You may also have to install flashing before using tiles on your roof.


In general, shingles are widely available, but it may be harder than normal to find shingles in less popular colors. The prices for shingles have also increased due to supply and demand.

Furthermore, some types of tiles may also be unavailable or hard to find in the United States and Canada. While you are likely to find some options, you may not have the options for materials and colors like you would prefer. This is particularly true of concrete and clay roofing tiles.

Climate and Weather Resistance

Your roofing materials are supposed to protect your home, which means they have to be effective for the temperatures that occur in your area and possible storms and other weather events. Asphalt shingles are very common in warmer regions because it is unlikely to rapidly become brittle and bleached from direct sunlight and high temperatures, whereas tile may have a shorter lifespan in very hot areas.

Snow will also slide off shingles, but tiles are often preferred in cold areas because the tiling is dense and durable and will not weaken with freezing temperatures. Also, if the roof is reinforced to hold the tile roofing, it will be stronger to support snow loads.

For weather events, tile roofing is often preferred because it is more difficult for wind or heavy rain to damage it. Wind and storms can take the shingles off of your roof, but tiling will remain intact with normal storm systems and may even resist damage during hurricanes or other extreme events. However, hail is more likely to damage tile roofing than shingles.


Roof maintenance is similar regardless of the material that you used and they should be inspected annually to find and replace or repair missing and broken shingles or tiles. They should also be cleaned often using a bleach and water mixture, but you may find that shingles resist algae and moss growth more than tiles and that it is harder to see dirty portions of dirty shingles than it is to see grime and debris on a tile roof.

One thing to consider is that repairs for shingles are usually much easier and can be done using new shingles and leaks can also be fixed easily with sealers that cannot be used on tile. When fixing or cleaning tile, you also have to be careful not to drop any tools or step with too much pressure because it can break the tiling.


Shingles are much cheaper than tile roofing and the shingles themselves should only cost around $65 to $80 per square (100 square feet). In addition, the installation will cost another $50 to $75 per square, but it is also easier to do yourself even without prior experience.

For a shingle installation on a 1500 square foot roof with the price of tearing off old roof materials, new underlayment, and other costs, you can expect to pay somewhere between $3000 and $3500 but could be around half of that if you do it yourself.

Tile roofing costs much more and depending on the specific tiles. You can pay anywhere from $100 to $250 per square. It may also cost you thousands of dollars to reinforce the roof and installation is not as simple, so you will pay more for those costs as well. Overall, if you hire a professional, you can expect to pay between $10,000 and $32,000 for a 1500 square foot roof if it needs to be greatly reinforced. If you have the expertise to do it yourself, you can save around $500 per square on labor.

Types of Shingles

Types of Shingles

In addition to the material that shingles are made out of, there are also three different types of shingles to consider:

  • Strip Shingles – Also called 3-tab shingles, this type is very affordable because it is a cut single-layer strip. They can be durable but can also blow off a roof and may not be available in as many colors and textures.
  • Dimensional Shingles are the most common type and are thicker and more durable than strip shingles. They are also heavier and are usually more attractive and can mimic the aesthetic of slate or wood shake.
  • Luxury – Highest quality shingles that are highly weather-resistant and durable. They also have the best appearance for curb appeal.

Roofing Tiles Types

Roofing Tiles Types

After deciding you want tiles, you still have to determine which style you would like to choose and there are a few different ones to consider:

  • Mission Tiles – This is the original style with a rounded shape to neatly layer on a roof and they alternate in neat rows that have a texture often associated with Italian and Spanish buildings
  • Spanish Tiles – This type also has a barrel shape and they are in an s-shape that makes them easier to install without having to alternate the sides, but they cannot be staggered like other types.
  • French Tiles – These do not have the high rounded component of other types and each tile has two flutes or grooves that help with drainage and water diversion but still maintain the shadows and textured style of other tile roofing. They are also interlocking, which makes them easier for DIY homeowners.
  • Flat Tiles – There are two of these types. Interlocking options have a channel and a lip that fit together easily to construct the roof. Then there are overlapping options that can look more unique and multidimensional.

Can You Replace Shingles with Tile Roofing?

You can replace shingles with tile roofing, but there are considerations to keep in mind to ensure a safe and effective roofing project. First, since tiles weigh more, you will have to make sure the roof will support the change. This may require reinforcement before you can change from shingles to tile, which can add cost and time to your roofing project.

After that, there are two ways to make the change. The first option is to use a new underlayment over the shingles and then install the tile roof over it. This may not always be possible, but it is quicker and preferable for some homeowners as long as their roof is sufficient for holding tiles without removing the shingles. The second method is to remove the shingles completely then repair or replace the existing underlayment. This is the recommended option but can take longer and cost more.

Can You Replace Tiles with Shingle Roofing?

This option is less common than switching from shingles with tiles but can still be done. For this one, you have to remove all the existing tiling and then redo the underlayment so that the shingles can be installed. This is not too difficult of a process but can take some time.

There is less concern moving from tiles to shingles because the roof will already be strong enough to support the tiles, so there will be no reinforcement necessary. It is important to also consider your HOA because some do not allow shingle roofing.

Does Tile Roofing Increase Home Value?

Any new roof, as long as it isn’t a downgrade, can increase the value of your home as well as the curb appeal. Since tile roofing is more expensive and lasts much longer than shingles, it is likely to increase the value of your home even more. Plus, many people prefer the aesthetic of tile roofing and may be willing to pay a little extra to avoid having to do it themselves a few years down the line.

Which Is Better Tile Roof or Shingles?

It depends on many factors and some people prefer one while some people prefer the other. Shingles are more affordable, easy to install, and easy to repair and maintain. They are also good for warm climates and cost less whether you install them yourself or hire someone.

Conversely, tile roofing is more expensive but lasts much longer, is resistant to wind, and offers an attractive style that many homeowners prefer.

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