October 22, 2018

Tile Vs Metal Roofing – Which One Is Better?

new colorbond roof and gutter

Over the history of mankind humans have used pretty much every possible material imaginable to build and maintain roofing. Mud, mud bricks, thatching, slate, earth, hides, wooden tiles, terracotta, concrete, shingles and of course different types of metal.

Here in Australia, most residential homes will have 2-3 options when it comes to roofing – Colorbond, tiles (terracotta and concrete) or corrugated iron. Debate over which is better, more economical and what looks better has raged pretty much since roofs of these three types have been installed on Brisbane homes and several different factors make up why people choose one over the other.

We’ve attempted to give you a rundown of all the different things you may want to consider if you’re looking at having your roof replaced and are thinking of going from tiled to metal, or from metal to tiled.

Tile Versus Metal Roofing – Which One Is Better?

Installation Costs

OK, let’s get down to brass tacks. Different features and considerations will impact on the overall cost of your home’s roof installation and it’s also worth taking into account ongoing maintenance costs when considering what roofing material to have installed on your new or replacement roof.

Here’s a rundown of average costs per square metre from variety of different sources. Please note this is a guide only and prices will vary depending on the company, materials size of the roof, etc.

Approximate pricing guide for roof material types (as of Oct 2018):-

  • $35 – $70 per square metre for concrete tiles
  • $40 – $80 per square metre for steel roofing (Colorbond)
  • $70 – $120 per square metre for terracotta roofing
  • $200 – $600 per square metre for traditional slate roofing installation

As mentioned these are rough prices only and will change depending on many different factors.

Things That Impact Installation Costs

Different elements to a homes roof wil impact on replacement or installation costs when it comes to metal vs tile roof costs for installation.


Obviously the price between roofing a Granny flat and a large multi-million dollar mansion is going to be different purely because of the square meterage of materials being used.


A simple 1 gable roof (a gable is two sloping side that come together, just like the houses we all drew as kids) is going to be a much easier install than a home with multiple gables throughout the roofing areas.

Slope of Pitch

This isn’t a concern in most homes around Brisbane however, if you have a custom built home or have had a hand in designing it yourself and have a steep slope (or pitch) on your roof, this can play an important role in the installation costs as if the roof is deemed ‘unwalkable’ additional safety equipment and tradesmen with particular skills may be required to even work on the roof.

Roof Removal

Metal roofing is much faster to remove and overall weighs much less when dumping which will impact on the price given for roof removal. To give you an example terracotta can weigh up to 60kgs per square metre whereas metal roofing can weigh as little as 5kg per square metre. When council’s charge by the kilo to dump materials this has a large impact on the council dumping fees.

Maintenance Costs

When it comes to ongoing maintenance of your roof, metal roofing or Colorbond is pretty hard to beat. It’s tough and can handle pretty much anything the Australian weather can throw at it. Yes it can be damaged in severe weather and cyclones etc, but that’s true of any roof.

Tiled and terracotta roofing require ridge capping that will need maintaining and/or replacement after a number of years and concrete tiles can benefit from re-painting and waterproofing every 10-15 years so you will need to take that into consideration when looking at your ongoing costs.

If you’re a stickler for the look and feel of your roof, Colorbond will keep it’s colour for many years whereas concrete tiles will fade significantly around 5-7 years after installation.

Aesthetics and Design

Concrete tiles can provide a stylish finish.

Concrete tiles do a great job of looking very similar to terracotta tiles and in fact, if you got 10 people off the street, nine out of ten of them probably wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between concrete tiles and terracotta tiles if they were side by side on a roof.

Modern production techniques means concrete tiles come in a variety of different shapes and sizes so you’ve got quite a few colours and styles to choose from.

Metal roofing or Colorbond (probably the most popular type of metal roofing in Australia) comes in a huge range of colours and has a particular look that’s unmistakable.

Really when it comes to design, it’s a personal choice. Many people love the clean lines and modern look of metal roofing, others like the more traditional tiled roof look. In the end it’s your decision about the look and feel of your home.


The clear winner here is a metal roof. Not only are metal roofs lighter by the square metre, they put less strain on your roof and require less structural elements to hold them up. Installation is usually much quicker with metal roofing given it’s lighter and therefore easier to handle along with the fact it comes in larger sheets that cover more square meterage per unit than concrete or terracotta tiling ever will be able to.


Many Brisbane residents love the sound of rain on a metal roof.

This one is difficult because personally I grew up with the sound of rain on a corrugated iron roof and I loved going to sleep in a warm bed with the sound of raindrops on metal. Other people find it much too loud and prefer the noise dampening aspects tiles give a roof when it rains.

With the right insulation you can dampen sounds no matter what type of roof you have but on average, metal roofs are more noisy in rain and hail than their tiled counterparts.

Resilience and Weathering

A clear ranking for these factors is easy to determine. Concrete tiles are more easily prone to weathering, fading and cracking than terracotta with metal roofing coming somewhere in the middle. There are buildings in Europe who’s roofs are topped with terracotta tiles that have lasted centuries, hence why terracotta roof tiles are so expensive as they will likely outlast your time in the home!

Access and Position

Many people don’t think about this but access to your roof can play a very important role in the overall pricing of the job. If your roof has convoluted or difficult access points – meaning cranes or other heavy equipment are needed to help get materials to the roof area, this will impact on the overall price of the project. Likewise if your roof is high off the ground or faces a cliff, steep drop etc, additional safety equipment may be required to complete the job.

These are the main factors most people compare when looking at the differences between tiled roof and metal roofs and we hope we’ve given you enough information to take all these factors into consideration if you’re thinking about replacing your roof.

For more information or a quote on roof repairs in Brisbane, call us on 0421 460 580.

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