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Replacing a Tile Roof Tiles or COLORBOND - Featured Image

Replacing a Tile Roof: Tiles or COLORBOND?

If your tile roof is ready to go (or will be soon), you have a few options to consider. While one choice is simply to replace your old roof with new tiles, you should also think about the benefits of switching to a COLORBOND steel roof.

Also known as tile to tin re-roofing, this process involves removing all of your tiles, replacing worn rafters and battens, and then laying down brand new COLORBOND steel roof sheets. Not only is COLORBOND steel becoming a popular roofing choice throughout Australia, but it also boasts a number of practical advantages over terracotta or concrete tiles.

In this post, Vivify Roofing wants to offer you our professional opinion on why and when you may want to replace tiled roof with COLORBOND.



Colorbond roof vs Terracotta Roof


How often should roof tiles be replaced?

If your tile roof still looks good and is performing well, there is no rush to replace it. You can, of course, convert to a steel roof at any time. But if you want to push the life of your existing roof as long as possible, you can just repair and replace individual tiles until the integrity of the roof starts to get compromised.

When to replace concrete roof tiles

A concrete roof should last at least 30 years, but could realistically be stretched to a 60 year lifespan under the right conditions. The underlay isn’t quite as reliable and may require replacement around the 40 year mark.

Individual tiles generally hold up for the life of the roof, but severe weather or impact from falling branches may cause the occasional crack or break. These should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to prevent leaks or further damage to your roof.


how often should concrete roof tiles be replaced

Concrete tiles are the most economical roofing material on the market – Monier


When to replace terracotta roof tiles

The lifespan of a terracotta tile roof is about 75 years. Similarly to concrete roofs, individual tiles need maintenance as soon as they are damaged, cracked or knocked loose. Because of its porous nature, terracotta is also prone to moss growth. If the growth avoids your attention long enough that it can’t be cleaned off completely, you may want to get the affected tiles replaced.


Replacing a Tile Roof - Tiles or COLORBOND 1


Signs you need to replace your tile roof

Beyond just the age of your roof, you’ll know it’s time for total roof replacement if you experience any of the following:

  • Water is seeping under the tiles, even if it isn’t leaking into your house.
  • Your roof leaks even after repairing tiles and/or underlayment.
  • Your roof is sagging.
  • More than 50% of the tiles are cracked or damaged.
  • Algae, moss or mould have overgrown to the point that they cannot be cleaned off.


Replacing a Tile Roof Tiles or COLORBOND - signs roof needs to be replaced


Advantages of COLORBOND over tile

Once you have decided that your tile roof is ready to be replaced, it’s time to consider the benefits of COLORBOND roof installation. In this section, we’ll examine several advantages that steel roofs have over tile ones.


The lifespan of a COLORBOND roof is comparable to terracotta, coming in at about 70 years. However, COLORBOND steel is much more durable. While tiles can be cracked or broken by falling branches, this really isn’t a concern for COLORBOND. In fact, because of its 5 layer protection system, COLORBOND is even highly resistant to minor chips and scratches.


Weight is one area in which COLORBOND wins the gold medal by a landslide victory. Steel roofs are as much as 90% lighter than similarly sized tile roofs. This doesn’t just make for easier installation. It means less stress on your rafters and walls. Sometimes, tile roofs don’t make it to their expected lifetime simply because they are too heavy for the timber supporting them.


advantages of colorbond over tile roof

Metal roofing systems are known to last anywhere from 40 to 75 years, sometimes even more if the climate is mild and roof is regularly maintained – Fortified Roofing




Lower Pitch

Tile roofs, especially concrete ones, don’t handle low pitches well. They tend to pool water much more than COLORBOND roofs at low slopes. Sarking is usually used to provide some protection from moisture, but the water will still make it to your battens and wear them down over time. If your roof is on the flatter side, COLORBOND is going to help you avoid a lot of these headaches.

Ease of Maintenance

COLORBOND steel might be the easiest roofing material to maintain on the market. It isn’t prone to growing fungus or plant life, so complicated cleaning is rarely necessary. For the most part, regular rainfall will do the trick to wash away debris.

The only thing you need to watch out for is areas that are prone to gathering leaves. While the steel itself resists growth, collections of organic matter like fallen leaves are breeding grounds for fungus.

Furthermore, while you will regularly need to replace or restore cracked concrete tiles, COLORBOND doesn’t get damaged in everyday use. The only situation in which a steel roof usually requires repair is catastrophic storm damage.



Tile roofs usually rely on sarking for insulation. While this does provide some thermal protection, COLORBOND roofs allow for even better heat resistance. This is because steel roof sheets provide enough room for blanket insulation to be laid down, which has higher thermal performance. As an added benefit, blanket insulation also dampens noise and reduces condensation.


advantages of colorbond over tile roof - lower pitch and ease of maintenance

Heating and Cooling can account for up to 50% of energy used in Australian homes – Australian Department of Climate Change



Is COLORBOND roofing more difficult to install than tiles?

Not at all. In fact, COLORBOND is actually much easier to install than a tile roof.

The first consideration is the weight. Roof tiles are 90% heavier than steel roof sheets per square metre, which means a lot more manual labour is involved in unloading them and lugging them up to your roof.

Next, consider the actual installation process. Tiles need to be individually laid and nailed, one at a time. Each tile laid is another chance for something to go wrong during installation, which means extra care needs to be taken. COLORBOND steel roofs, however, are attached in large sheets, so there is much less room for error.

Finally, because of both of these factors, it usually takes a larger team to install a tile roof. That means higher labour costs, as well as longer installation times.

All things told, tile roofs are much more difficult of a job than COLORBOND.


Colorbond roofing installation vs tiles


When is a tile roof a better choice?

Practically speaking, COLORBOND roofs are superior to tile in almost every way. The biggest reason you may want to stick with your tile roof anyway is simply aesthetics. Some homeowners just love the timeless look of terracotta or concrete tiles. If you’re one of them, there is nothing to be ashamed of! It’s your home, afterall, and you should be in love with it.

The only other reason some people might prefer to keep their tile roof is noise control. Tiles are better at dampening ambient sound, and steel roofs can also be a bit noisy during rain. Most homeowners can’t tell much of a difference, but if you are particularly sensitive to sound or you live in a noisy area, it’s worth your consideration.


Tile roof vs colorbond noise


Other considerations for tile to tin conversions

Before you call and schedule your tile roof replacement, there are a few final things you might want to consider.

Temperature control

COLORBOND is well known for its wide range of colours. Many of these colours boast high solar reflectance ratings and low solar absorptance. One colour in particular, Whitehaven, can be used for COLORBOND’s Coolmax steel, which is able to reflect 77% of heat from the sun.

As part of the tile to tin process, Vivify Roofing will help you find a roof colour that works best for your temperature control needs while still fitting with your desired aesthetics.


Colorbond Whitehaven - Coolmax Steel
COLORBOND® Coolmax® steel is available exclusively in the colour Whitehaven®. Designed to help reduce cooling costs for large commercial buildings and help reduce the urban heat island effect.


Local regulations

Be sure to check with your community guidelines to see if there are any restrictions on roofing choices. For example, your neighborhood may not allow certain colours, or may even require all homes to use the same colour. If you live in a heritage home, you likely need to stick closely to the previous roofing material. Therefore, a tile to tin conversion might be off the table completely.


Heritage Galvanised Roofing Z600 Replacement Options 1


Gutter replacement

If your roof is old, your gutters probably are too. This is as good a time as any to invest in gutter replacement. For starters, you may just want to make sure that the beauty of your shiny new steel roof isn’t ruined by rusty old gutters. However, aesthetics aside, here are some signs that your gutters have reached the end of their life:

  • Large, visible cracks or holes that are beyond repair.
  • Stress at the seams where gutters connect.
  • Abundance of rust, mould, algae or mildew.
  • Water damage or rot to your window frames.
  • Leaking in the basement during heavy rains (if your house has a basement. Not always caused by gutters, but could be a warning sign).


Australian Gutter Types and Sizes Fascia Gutters


Call on Vivify for your tile to tin re-roofing

With 15 years of experience in tile roof replacement and steel roof installations, Vivify Roofing is ready to serve you.

Our professional team of licensed experts will help you decide if a tile to tin conversion is right for your home. If this is the route you want to take, we’ll walk you through every step of the process and install a reliable COLORBOND roof that will serve you for decades to come.

Contact us today to get your tile roof replacement done right!

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