What To Know When Considering Changes From Asphalt Shingles To Ceramic Roofing Tiles

19 October 2015
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If you are considering changing your roofing material from asphalt shingles to ceramic tiles, there are a few important things you'll need to consider about the weight differences between the two types of roofing. A roofing square (10'x10' area) of asphalt shingles weighs 230 pounds. Ceramic tiles can weigh between 580 and 1,100 pounds in the same sized area. 

The weight difference can make a huge impact on your home. However, changing from asphalt to ceramic tile is possible but you may need to bolster up a few other areas in your home to accommodate the difference in weight. Here's what you may need to know. 

How the Additional Weight Affects Your House 

  • Roofing Structure. The structure of your roof includes the trusses and plywood overlay that the ceramic tiles will be installed on. The plywood will need to be heavy-duty, preferably with a thickness of 3/4 inches and exterior grade. This plywood gets nailed directly to the trusses. The trusses should be substantially strong enough to handle the additional weight. However, it's a good idea to hire a structural engineer to inspect the trusses for any water damage or other faults that could cause the structural integrity of the wood pieces to be diminished. If any are faults are found, the trusses will need to be replaced. 
  • Foundation. Your home's foundation and sub-foundation (the ground underneath) are what carry the weight of your entire house. Obviously, if there are cracks in your foundation, those will need to be repaired. However, depending on the size of your roof and the integrity of your foundation, you may need to bolster up the foundation with underpinning if the foundation was not designed for the additional weight. Underpinning can consist of the installation of beams, piles, and/or mass concrete placement under the foundation. A structural engineer, home inspector, or foundation contractor can assess your foundation to determine if anything needs to be done to it. 
  • Wall Coverings. The wall coverings (drywall or plaster) in your home may be affected as the house adjusts and settles under the additional weight. This could mean you'll find cracks in your wall coverings. However, they won't be immediate, as it does take time for the house to settle. Plaster walls are more susceptible to these types of conditions. If the weight difference is extreme, you may find that you'll need to repair or replace most of your plaster walls. 
  • Doors. With the settling of the house under the additional weight, your doors may be affected, which could mean they will not open and close as smoothly as they did before, or they may stick. This may mean you will need to trim the doors for a better fit by planing them.

If you don't mind dealing with all these potential problems with installing heavy ceramic roofing tiles, hire a roofing contractor who specializes in installing them. But only let the project begin after you've had the rest of your house inspected to see if it can handle the weight of ceramic roofing tiles. 

Alternatives to heavy ceramic roofing tiles

However, if you don't want to deal with these issues, there are a few alternatives you can consider instead. There are lighter-weight tiles and metal roofing materials that are comparable in look and quality to that of ceramic tile. For example, a stone-coated metal roof can resemble the look of a ceramic tile roof, but without the additional weight. In fact, this type of roofing material only ways about 150 pounds per square. Speak with roofing contractors in your area (like those at Allen Roofing & Construction Inc) for more information about the various roofing options available today.