If you already have a terracotta roof, or you are considering having one installed or restored, one of the most important questions to ask yourself is how long will my terracotta roof last?
The lifespan of terracotta roofs is one of their finest attractions. Nobody wants to spend thousands on roof replacement just a few decades after installation. Your roof is perhaps the part of your house that works hardest for you, protecting you from the elements day in and day out. So shouldn’t you choose a roof that lasts?
Read on to learn more about why terracotta roof tiles have such a long life expectancy and what you can do to stretch yours out even longer.
What Is Terracotta?
Though you can probably recognise terracotta roof tiles and sculptures by sight due to their iconic brown-orange hue, you might not actually know much about what terracotta actually is or why it’s so popular around Australia.
Terracotta is made of ceramic derived from clay. After being heated to around 1000 ℃, the iron particles in the clay react with oxygen to bring out the reddish colour. In fact, the word “terracotta” is the Italian word for “baked earth”.
While terracotta is popular in art for its simplicity and affordability compared to stone or metal sculptures, it serves well as a roofing material due to its insulating properties and the long life expectancy of terracotta roof tiles, among other factors. It’s high thermal mass makes it ideal for enduring the Australian climate, which is why you see so many terracotta roofs around here.
The Lifespan of a Terracotta Roof Tile
If you’ve ever had to pay for a roof replacement, you know how costly the procedure can be. There’s a reason that homeowner’s don’t skimp when it comes to roofing. It’s just not worth the cost.
And if you are already investing in your roof, it is worth considering a material that will last you as long as possible. That’s exactly why so many homeowners choose a terracotta roof.
The life expectancy of terracotta roof tiles can be as long as 75 years with proper maintenance. Even on the low end, terracotta roofs last for about 50 years. For most people, that is the entire life that they’ll spend in a home. Here are some of the reasons that homeowners get the best roof life they can out of terracotta.
A good roof should actually reduce your energy bills. Terracotta roofing tiles are perfect for this because they absorb heat throughout the day, which is then released once night falls. In warmer regions, terracotta roofs can be specially treated to reflect the heat from the sun rather than absorb it.
Terracotta is surprisingly durable when you imagine a clay sculpture shattering from a fall. While they are certainly more susceptible to impact than a metal or shingle roof, terracotta roof tile lifespan stretches so long because they are highly resistant to more common environmental threats.
Weather & Fire Resistance
Terracotta is waterproof, which means that it is well protected from a roof’s worst enemy: leaks. It’s also fireproof, so a home with a terracotta roof is much in a better place if a neighbouring house happens to catch fire. The high heat resistance, of course, also means that your clay tile roof is the perfect match for Australian weather.
While the extreme weight of a terracotta roof might make installation a pain (which is why you should let a professional roofer handle the job), the heavy nature of terracotta actually contributes to its long lifespan as a roofing material. Heavier weight means that it is not as susceptible to strong winds that could blow off asphalt shingles or lighter materials.
Terracotta Lifespan versus Other Roofing Materials
You may be wondering how terracotta holds up against other materials. Here is a rough breakdown of the life expectancy of common roof types (which you can compare to terracotta’s 75 year lifespan).
- Terracotta Roof Tiles last an average of 75 years.
- Concrete Roof Tiles can last 50 years.
- Asphalt Roofing last about 30 years, very rare to see in Melbourne.
- Colorbond roofs last from 25 – 50 years
- Tin roofs Can last 30 years, but are generally not used on modern homes.
Monier, a popular brand of Roof tiles has a 50 year warranty on their terracotta roof tiles. This can be found in their warranty document.
All Monier concrete and terracotta roof tiles are salt safe and will not corrode over time, however Terracotta is the ultimate roofing product in these conditions given its performance and also colour warranty of 50 years.
Does a Roof Restoration Increase the Lifespan of Terracotta Roof Tiles?
While terracotta is one of the longest lasting roofing materials on the market, it still needs to be maintained just like any other roof. Over time, tiles can lose their glaze or become cracked and chipped. A professional terracotta roof restoration will help extend the lifespan of your clay roof so that you can get the most out of its beneficial properties.
Replace Broken Tiles
During a roof restoration, we will remove and replace tiles that may have been cracked or damaged by the elements or foreign objects (like a fallen tree branch). Replacing lone tiles will help enhance the life of your entire terracotta roof by ensuring that moisture isn’t seeping into your home uninvited.
One weakness of terracotta is its tendency to attract moss growth. As moss gathers, it diminishes the attractive shine of your roof and also inhibits water drainage. A quality roof restoration will include moss removal, as well as anti-fungal treatment, to ensure a long happy life for every single tile in your roof.
Ridge Capping & Valley Iron Repair
One of the most overlooked aspects of terracotta roof maintenance are your junctions: the valleys and flashing that seal the areas where two surfaces meet. These obviously aren’t constructed of terracotta so they don’t have the same lifespan. During our roof restoration process, we check your junctions for rust, moisture, or other culprits of deterioration and repair or replace as needed.
Get The Terracotta Roof Tile Lifespan You Deserve
If you have a terracotta roof, you chose it for a reason: you wanted a beautiful roof that functions like a dream and lasts a lifetime. Without proper maintenance, though, even terracotta will fail as a roofing material. Get in touch with Vivify Roofing to learn if it’s time for you to consider a roof restoration to get the best life expectancy you can from your terracotta roof.