Resilient roofing: clay and concrete tile can help protect homes from inclement weather and fire

| by Guest Blogger
Resilient roofing: clay and concrete tile can help protect homes from inclement weather and fire

Photo via Boral

By Kayla Kratz, product manager with Boral Roofing


As an integral part of the structure of a building, the purpose of the roof is energy efficiency and protection from the elements. Storms, fire, hail, snow, and wind are all significant tests for any roofing material. In fact, the roof is often the first point of contact for these conditions and acts as the first defense.

Recently, this role has been spotlighted even further as the resilient building movement continues to gain momentum across the U.S. and key stakeholders including architects, builders and others look to build homes able to withstand severe weather events. While design is a major consideration in the construction of these resilient homes, the selection of building materials is also paramount with the roof as a key component.

The Resiliency Movement

As a major proponent of the resiliency movement, the U.S.-based Resilient Design Institute defines resilience as, “…adaptation to the wide range of regional and localized impacts that are expected with a warming planet: more intense storms, greater precipitation, coastal and valley flooding, longer and more severe droughts in some areas, wildfires, melting permafrost, warmer temperatures, and power outages.”

Recent high-profile examples of such events include California’s current four-year drought, flooding and hurricanes in the southeastern United States and climbing temperatures in multiple regions across the globe. As these events become more commonplace and grow in severity, a home’s ability to withstand them becomes increasingly critical. The resilient building movement seeks to address this growing issue, promoting design and construction that will both withstand and adapt to severe events – both natural and manmade. And while design is critical in a home achieving resiliency, equally so are the building materials selected.

Benefits of Clay and Concrete Roof Tile

The roof is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of the home, and materials selected for it can either make or break the home’s ability to withstand climate shift events. There are many roofing material options in the marketplace today, and certain concrete and clay tile systems are among the best options to help withstand and protect the structure during intense climate events.

Sourced and manufactured from naturally occurring geologic material, tile is durable, sustainable, low-maintenance and easy to repair. Additionally, it is increasingly being offered as a cool roof solution, maximizing energy efficiency and energy savings. Some of the events that certain tile is particularly adept at protecting from are hail, freeze-thaw and fire.


Hail consists of showery precipitation in the form of irregular pellets of ice. Common in the Midwest, it can wreak serious damage to a roof. Select concrete roof tile products offer up to a Class 4 hail rating indicating they have undergone impact resistance testing in accordance with the FM 4473 standard, withstanding two-inch ice ball impacts shot from a cannon within a five-foot distance at speeds up to 70 miles per hour. Hail rated tile is certified through the Roof Covering Impact Certification Program, which is sponsored by Architectural Testing, an independent laboratory accredited by multiple national agencies.


In many regions of the U.S., freeze-thaw cycles commonly occur, posing danger to the roof. Grade 1 clay tile provides increased protection and is the highest certification available from American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The testing is designed to mimic frost conditions and is the industry standard for use in colder regions. 


Fire Prevention

Many areas across the U.S. are at risk for fire, especially those located in Wildfire Urban Interface areas or in regions where drought conditions persist. The roof is critical to fire prevention due to flying embers, which may ignite the structure. Both clay and concrete tile are non-combustible, helping prevent first ignition from occurring on the roof. Many roof tile products have received Class A fire-rating, the highest fire resistance rating for roofing. The ICC Evaluation Service, indicates that the Class A roof tile is able to withstand a higher level of fire exposure originating from sources outside the structure.

Resilient Homebuilding with Tile Roofing

The type of weather and storm events most likely to affect a home depends on the region in which the building resides. Each climate zone is unique in the weather patterns that can affect the longevity of the home. These environmental events must be accounted for when structures are built and maintained, as any roof product needs to be evaluated for its ability to withstand the elements critical to the geography. But regardless of climate zone or the likely storm conditions on the horizon, there is no doubt that clay and concrete roof tile systems should be considered. These materials are earth friendly, durable and have been tested and proven to protect in serious weather conditions.

Read more about roofing.


About the Author

Kayla Kratz is Product Manager with Boral Roofing, the country’s largest provider of sustainable clay and concrete roofing tile systems. Visit Boral Roofing online, contact Kayla at Kayla.kratz @

Topics: Exteriors, Remodeling, Roofing, Sustainable Products

Guest Blogger
These columns are the work of our guest bloggers who want to share their expert green opinions on a range of topics.

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