We are often asked this question. You first of all want to choose a roof tile that goes with the style of the house. If you want a “Spanish’ look, then use a clay “S” or barrel tile for example that come in terracotta ranges and blends If you want a contemporary look, then you can use a concrete tile which comes in different profiles, textures, colors and blends. A flat concrete tile may look good on a “Colonial” home. Clay tiles are slightly more expensive then concrete but in about 5 years when they have to be cleaned, the clay tile will look like the day you installed them and the concrete tiles will look a little dull and lifeless.
All tiles break, just don’t let anyone on the roof that isn’t careful or experienced, so don’t base your decision on tile strength. All tiles approved in Miami-Dade need to pass various strength tests. Definitely use a foam paddy adhesive as it will substantially increase the breaking point of the tile and give you more wind resistance while avoiding any penetrations in the tile underlayment paper which is the waterproofing layer as water runs underneath most tiles.
Flat tile are more aerodynamic since they have the lowest profile. The use of foam adhesive greatly increases the wind resistance of all roof tiles which have to pass a 150 mph test.
The only roof tiles that are designed in not allowing water to run underneath them are the original two piece pan and cover barrel tiles. The bottom tile creates a channel in the shape of a ‘U’ and the cover then is placed on both sides, thus preventing rain water to flow under the tile. We still find homes in South Florida that have these tiles and are still performing even though the tile underlayment paper is completely deteriorated. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive tile system because it uses two pieces of tile and requires more labor and material to install.
Make sure the tile is not discontinued unless you keep plenty of extra tiles or that it comes with any known problems. Although there are many problematic and defective roof tiles in the market with Miami-Dade approvals, we recommend that you choose a tile from a manufacturer that we recommend.
So in conclusion, provided that you use a quality tile underlayment that will last for many years, like the Owens Corning Weatherlock which comes with a 30 year warranty, and use a paddy foam adhesive, then choose a tile the you like that compliments the look of your property.
Please note that on very steep sloped roofs over 7/12 foam adhesive may not be able to be used and their could be association restrictions on your property.