concrete or clay tile

This may be a dumb question, but I have looked online and even went back to the Nachi roof class. How can you tell the difference between concrete or clay tiles? In my area in south west Florida there are a lot of houses with that redish spanish style curved tile.

Clay tiles are typically smoother, they do not fade and they are lighter in weight ,if you ever get to hold both… Certainly not a dumb question…

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Clay tile will usually be terra cotta in color or colored with enamel factory coatings. I don’t walk on clay tile at all. Concrete tile will be the standard and usually unfinished or painted with white roof paint.

The red Spanish tiles you are referring to are normally clay.

Joe Manners
GI Joe Home Inspections

Take a trip to a local Big Box store, and look at terra cotta planters or flower pots. Pick them up, touch them, feel their weight, the texture, etc.

Now walk to the outdoor paver section at the same store, and find a concrete paver. Repeat the same tactile exercise and learn the differences.

I suggest you touch and “sense” every type of material you come into contact with during all home inspections…you’ll develop a muscle memory for each.


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Great idea Dominic, I think I might just have to make a trip to the hardware store this weekend.

Sarasota Home Inspector

Concrete tile does not even come close to looking like clay ya should be able to tell the difference from a airplane

  1. The most typical profile for concrete tiles is Interlocking. Most clay tiles are overlapping types. The underlap and coverlap of the interlapping portion are half the thickness of the rest of the tile. Clay is generally too weak to be made this thin.
  2. You can see the concrete texture by looking at the butt of the tile.
  3. These are concrete tiles made to look like clay ties, but if you look closely, you’ll see that they are interlocking “S” tiles. The convex and concave shapes are both part of the same tile.
  4. These are clay tiles. They overlap (sometimes called “Pan and Cover”) and they reflect light differently, since they’re smoother.
  5. If you see a roof like this, they’re probably clay tiles on a home located in the hail belt.

Tile 4.JPG

Tile 3.JPG

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Ya can tell clay tile from a airplane or the neighbors roof:D

Kenton glad your out of your shell again:p:D

Darn right I can. Clay roof tile doesn’t look anything like an airplane!


Just depends on what you have been drinking:p

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If you sprayed water on the roof, would clay be slicker than concrete?

Looking at the materials and feeling them at your department store. This is such an excellent suggestion. I have been wondering the same thing. How to tell the difference. Definitely going to do this.

Welcome to our forum, Frank!..Enjoy! :smile:

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Thank you for the warm welcome. Much appreciated, Larry.

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