ridge of an asphalt shingle roof in a portland neighborhood

Tile vs Shingles For The Portland Area

Posted By Gabe Callaway

We get a fair share of strong winds and heavy rains in the Pacific Northwest area. As such, it’s best to know the best roof type that can drain rainwater well and handle excessive moisture levels.

This usually boils down to two crowd-favorite roofing materials– tiles and shingles. Both materials are known for their aesthetic appeal and durability. But, which among tile and shingle roofing is better? Let’s discuss which among the two roofing options stands up to the Portland climate better.

Tile Roofing in Portland

Average Lifespan: 35 to 50 years

Tile roofs for Portland homes are known for durability and energy cost savings. This material also comes in different colors, shapes, and sizes when it comes to aesthetics. Concrete and clay roof tiles can complement any architectural style– from contemporary, modern homes to colonial or historic homes.

These tile roofing materials are flat or round, with some designed to mimic the look of roof shakes or old roofs with a rustic appearance. Simply put, you can choose from a wide variety of available styles.

Advantages of Tile Roofs

  • They are known to be durable and long-lasting. It can last over 100 years, given proper installation and maintenance.
  • Both clay and concrete tile roofs can withstand hail, high winds, and fire.
  • Some manufacturers offer generous 50-year warranty coverage.
  • Available in a wide variety of options (colors and styles)
  • Not prone to rotting or insect damage, as tile roofs will never decay, unlike wood
  • Environment-friendly and energy-efficient. The material can be recycled after removal, and its heavy thermal mass helps regulate the temperature indoors.
  • This material requires low maintenance, so you’re looking at minimal future repair costs.
  • Leaks on tile roofs are sporadic unless they break from heavy impact.

Disadvantages of Tile Roofs

  • Installation can be rather tricky. You will need to hire an experienced roofer to ensure it is installed correctly. It has an intricate process where you will need to measure the tiles, lay them in a specific pattern, and check thoroughly to avoid moisture seeping through.
  • Since tile roofs are quite heavy, you will need to ensure your roof structure can support and handle its weight. Clay tiles can be as heavy as 850 pounds per square, while concrete tiles may get up to 950 pounds per square.
  • Homeowners planning to replace their shingle roof with tile will need to consult an engineer to follow proper structural reinforcement requirements. This will hike the project costs.
  • Tiles are susceptible to breakage. Though the material is notably durable, it may break from heavy impact (such as falling branches or foot pressure)
  • Repairs can be expensive (although rare)
  • Tile roofs may not be suitable for all roof slopes. They are considerably more fitting for roofs with sharp slopes.

Asphalt Shingles Roofing in Portland

Average Lifespan: 20 to 28 years

Asphalt shingles are known to be one of the country’s most common and popular roofing materials. In fact, about 75% of North American houses have installed shingle roofs because the material is aesthetically appealing, reasonably long-lasting, and weather-resistant.

Here are some of the main reasons why you should consider installing asphalt shingle roofing on your Portland home:

new asphalt shingle roof on a home in portland

Advantages of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

  • The material is affordable. So if you’re concerned about the costs of a new roofing installation, this economical option may just be what you need.
  • Asphalt shingle roofs are effective and serve their purpose well. You can count on it to stand up to various elements while keeping you safe.
  • It offers a traditional aesthetic. Homeowners looking for a more formal look with their Portland home will surely love asphalt shingles.
  • Asphalt shingles are available in several different colors and styles. While black and brown are the most popular choices, you can also choose asphalt shingles in blue, green, or red colors. Besides color options, you may also choose a unique shape and style that complements your Portland home best.
  • This material has an easy installation. Asphalt shingle roofing makes for an easy installation for most local roofers with experience. As such, labor costs will be cheaper than using other materials. It is easier to handle than heavy tiles, so they can be installed fast!
  • You can easily replace some individual asphalt shingles. Given proper installation, asphalt shingles can last for many years but may also be damaged due to factors out of your control. Suppose the bad weather damaged a few shingles. You can just easily replace the damaged shingles (which is something you can’t do with other roofing types).
  • Asphalt shingles do not rust or corrode, unlike metal roofing. This will serve you well even in coastal area regions frequently exposed to saltwater.

Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Like other roofing materials, asphalt shingles are no exception for their share of drawbacks. Here are some of them for your awareness:

  • Although asphalt shingles are relatively long-lasting (around 20 years), it’s not known to be the most durable roofing material. If durability is your main priority, you may want to invest in metal roofing (60 years+) or a tile roof (40 years+).
  • Shingles may be easily damaged or ripped off your roof by strong winds. If you live near the coast, windy days may be a matter of concern to your asphalt roofing.
  • Mildew may be a common issue in your asphalt shingle roof. When overlooked, mildew may grow and spread on your roof, especially in unshaded areas. To avoid this problem, you will need frequent inspections to clean your roof from time to time. Be careful not to do it too often as it will shorten the average lifespan and damage the material instead. You may want to consult a local roofing company for professional advice.
  • The material is not the most energy-efficient roofing choice. If you want your home to be highly energy-efficient, other roofing materials may be better, such as a metal roof. However, replacing an old asphalt shingle roof with a newer one will be slightly more energy-efficient.

With all things considered, asphalt shingle roofing provides a nice balance between affordability and functionality. If that’s what you’re looking for, this may be the best roofing option for you and your family. (Related: Are Shingles A Good Roofing Material In Portland?)

Comparing Tiles vs. Shingles Roof for Portland Homeowners

Let’s take a closer look at tiles and shingles roofing and see how they compare.


Most Portland homeowners are likely more familiar with the asphalt 2 shingle 1 roof, commonly made from flexible shingles 1 installed to overlap each other. Today, thicker shingles are made available, adding more dimension and structure to your roof and mimicking the appearance of slate 3. Asphalt shingle roofs are available in various colors, with unique appearances and textures depending on your style preference.

Meanwhile, tile roofs offer more versatility in terms of design. You’ll find classic clay tiles usually installed in an S pattern and overlap each other to create a repeated, round way. Generally, clay, concrete, and metal tiles are available in different colors, shapes, and patterns. You’ll also find some roofing tiles in the traditional S-pattern and half-round shapes that take on the appearance of slate 3 shingles, and more.

As such, you have more freedom to create a unique roofing look for your home with tile roofs (instead of choosing a different color or thicker shingle).


Please contact us for a quote, as prices are currently changing quickly due to market conditions.


The installation process varies depending on whether you have a shingle or tile roof and the type of tile you choose. Asphalt shingles are relatively simple to install. The majority of them have tabs that overlap and are nailed and sealed. As long as the roof deck is in excellent shape, all that is necessary underneath them is a felt underlayment 4.

On the other hand, tiles need some degree of roof reinforcement beforehand. This is due to the added weight involved. They also require an underlayment 4, but the installation process is lengthier and more meticulous. Some tiles and patterns, such as interlocking tiles that neatly snap into place, are significantly faster. Whereas classic S, scallop, and ridge patterns must be cemented into place one at a time. It can take several days to accomplish, depending on the roof size.


Asphalt shingles can be installed almost on any roof because they are relatively lightweight. On the other hand, tile varies depending on the material. Metal and clay tiles weigh more, while composite tiles are the lightest.

Shingle roof is more lightweight than every tile roof available, requiring some degree of reinforcing, resulting in higher costs. The shingle roof is a better choice if your home cannot support a heavy roof or you are not able to strengthen it.


Asphalt roofs are proven and tested to handle every type of climate, making them a prevalent choice throughout the U.S. Meanwhile, traditional clay tiles are most commonly installed in the country’s southern area because they cannot handle the freeze/thaw conditions.

A new metal tile and composite roof can be installed just almost anywhere. It is best to ask for materials that can withstand the freeze/thaw cycle if you want to invest in a tile roof while living in a cold part of the country. Additionally, dry and hot weather can lead to the shortened lifespan of your roof tile. Remember to inquire about which is the perfect roofing material for your climate.


A well-maintained tile roof will outlast a shingle roof by decades in terms of durability. Depending on the quality of material used, tile roofs may span anywhere from 25 to 100 years if properly cared for. Typically, composite and metal will last the longest, but some clay tile roofs can go beyond a hundred years old.

Depending on the thickness, type, and design of asphalt shingles, they can endure 15 to 30 years. Architectural shingles are thicker and last longer than regular three-tab shingles.


Maintenance is relatively similar for both roof types. Each must undergo yearly inspection for cracked, missing, or broken shingles or tiles. Gentle cleaning should also be done if visible moss is growing on the roof. Avoid walking on the roof if it is made of clay tiles because it can break. Immediately replace if a broken shingle or tile is found to prevent extensive roof damage.

Environmental Concerns

Shingles are made of various materials, but their primary base is asphalt, which makes them water-resistant. Because asphalt is made from petroleum, these shingles cannot be considered environmentally friendly.

Some asphalt shingles, on the other hand, offer environmental benefits. These include white, heat-reflecting shingles, which help keep a home’s temperature low and cut energy expenditures. Tiles may be produced from many materials, including natural clay. They will less likely end up in a landfill because they last longer. Many of the materials used in tiles may be recycled, making them a little more eco-friendly option.

Resale Value

Any new roof will increase the value of your home. A tile roof may appeal to a new owner because of its lifespan, but a metal roof is considered a smart investment in your Portland property.

Overall Verdict

Whether you are having a new Portland home built or planning to re-roof your current home, tiles and shingles are among the best roofing options to consider. After taking a detailed look at both materials, we hope we’ve given you a solid rundown of what to expect with each roofing option, particularly their benefits. Some homeowners will benefit more from tile roofs than shingles, while the other way around is accurate for some.

If you’re still on the fence about choosing between tiles and shingles roof for your home in Portland, you may want to consult a reliable roofing contractor to choose the best option for your needs.


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