Less expensive than slate and clay in most cases, but more costly than traditional shingles, concrete tile is an option for warm weather durability. Concrete is heavy and takes a long time to heat, making it a good material for warm weather roofing [source: Urban and Roth]. Using poured concrete slab roofing is a low-cost option in many developing countries, as it provides protection from bad weather and pests. It does the same in more developed countries, acting as a barrier layer underneath more cosmetic roof treatments.
In its tile form, concrete is still heavy but is easier to install than the poured concrete. It is fireproof and solid, though porous enough to take in color when dyed. Using specialized "cool colors" will increase the energy efficiency of concrete tiling by reflecting more of the sun's rays than a roof treatment in standard dark colors [source: Levinson].
Sand, water and cement make up concrete tiling, but the baking process toughens the material so it can withstand rain, heat and wind. Some concrete tile roofs in Europe and elsewhere have passed the 150-year-old mark and still cover and cool as originally designed (source: National Park Service).
Installers of concrete tile should consult minimum code requirements for environmental conditions by region. In Florida, for instance, securing tiles to meet hurricane-force wind resistance requirements involves some extra steps and precautions. "Batten down the hatches," as they say.