How Long Does A Terracotta Roof Last?

Photo of a cleaned terracotta roof on the left and another with moss and fungus on the right. How Long Does A Terracotta Roof Last?

In this article, I will answer the question, How long does a terracotta roof last?” I will also discuss terracotta lifespan compared to other roofing options, the benefits of a terracotta roof for your house, how to care for and maintain a terracotta roof and how much it costs to install a terracotta roofing. Let’s dive into it. 

Terracotta roofings are durable; many experts in the roofing business put the lifespan between 75 years to 150 years. This, of course, depends on the amount of care and maintenance you give to it. Experts say the expected lifespan is never below 50 years, even for poorly maintained terracotta roofing. This means that terracotta roofs last about 90 years longer than the second most durable roofing material, metal roofs.

Terracotta lifespan compared to other roofing options.

In the previous paragraph, I stated that terracotta roofs are the most durable roofing option available in the market. For the sake of comparison, here is a table about the most popular roofing options and their expected lifespan.

It is important to understand that this is a range based on the experience of experts in this industry. These roofing materials may last longer or much shorter in reality. 

S/N Roofing MaterialLifespan
1.Terracotta75 to 150 years
2.Concrete50 years
3.Rubber Membrane 40 years
4.Asphalt30 years
Source: National Roofing Contractors Association, Elite remodeling services, Vivify, Rise, Brava, GoSmart Bricks.

Many manufacturers market tinted concrete tiles as terracotta roofs. This type of roofing costs less and has a shorter lifespan.

How much does a terracotta roof cost?

Installing a terracotta roof in the United States could cost anywhere between $15 to $36 per square foot. This includes the cost of materials and labor. The table below compares the price of terracotta roofing to other popular roofing materials.

S/N Roofing MaterialCost per Square foot
1.Terracotta$15.0 – $36.0
2.Concrete$4.0 – $7.0
3.Rubber Membrane $2.5 – $9.0
4.Asphalt$1.75 – $5.50
Source: Forbes, Modernize home services, Home advisor.

Clearly, the price of installing a terracotta roof is significantly higher than the price of installing other types of materials which could discourage you from installing a terracotta roof. However, considering the benefits of installing a terracotta roof, it is worth the price.

Benefits of a terracotta roof for your house

There are several benefits to using terracotta roofing instead of much cheaper options. These include:


Over the course of time, terracotta roofing has come to be associated with wealth and affluence. And this isn’t because it is expensive to install, but because it has a great aesthetic appeal.

No wonder famous blockbusters through the ages feature houses with terracotta roofs, from the legendary movie Scarface to the more recent Netflix series, Narcos. There aren’t many industries that can appeal to the senses as Hollywood can.

If Hollywood portrays terracotta roofing as the height of elegance, you can’t have a strong argument against that.

Resistance to damages by extreme weather conditions

Manufacturers use clay to make terracotta roofing tiles, and this material is dense and compact. Therefore, it can withstand extreme weather conditions without getting destroyed. Terracotta roofs are great for insulation, and they are also great for cooling down houses. This makes them a great choice for any climate.

They are also resistant to fire, rot, insects, and water damage. Additionally, terracotta roofs are the best option if you live around coastal areas because they are resistant to salty air. 

Real estate value

Bad roofing can reduce a home’s cost by up to thirty thousand dollars. But having a terracotta roof can add resale value to your house. Choosing to use a cheaper roofing material solely because of cost is to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. 


Since terracotta roofs are resistant to fire, rot, decay, and extreme weather conditions, they last much longer than other roofing materials. This means that most people will not have to change their terracotta roofs throughout their lifetime. It is important to note that you must take good care of your terracotta roof to benefit from it.

Energy Efficient 

Terracotta roofs keep the house cold during the summer and hot during the winter. This is because of the low heat conductance of clay. When you build your house with terracotta, you spend less on energy bills.

How to care for a terracotta roof to last longer?

To care for your terracotta roof so that it lasts longer, please follow these steps

  1. Replace broken or damaged tiles.
  2. Clean routinely with antifungal agents and pressure washers.
  3. Change underlayment material every decade.
  4. Use sealants to reduce leakages and porosity. 
  5. Check ridge capping and valley irons routinely: repair when damaged.

Terracotta roofs can last up to 150 years if you take care of them properly. Routine care should include treating your terracotta roof with an antifungal agent, washing with pressure washers, covering leakages with adhesive sealants, changing underlayment materials, and replacing ridge capping and valley irons.

When you maintain your terracotta roof properly, you will get a value worth the money you spent installing it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Terracotta Roof Tiles Need To Be Cleaned?

Yes, you should clean your terracotta roof routinely. One of terracotta roofs’ chief appeals is that they are aesthetically pleasing.

However, they are perfect for moss and algae growth, and these growths can greatly reduce the appeal of your terracotta roof. Terracotta roofs are perfect for moss growth because they are porous, and there are several damp, dark nooks and crannies between overlapping tiles that favor moss growth. 

Do Terracotta Roofs Break Easily?

No. Terracotta tiles can indeed break when you drop them from a height. However, the probability of that happening after roof installation is nonexistent. Therefore, we can agree that they do not break easily. 

How Often Do You Need To Replace A Terracotta Roof?

Except there is an accident, which is unlikely, you will not need to change your terracotta roof during your lifetime. However, you need to change the accessories that come with your terracotta roof. These accessories are not of the same material as the roofing tiles but can include metals, plastics, and other similar materials.

In conclusion, terracotta roofing is a durable option with a lifespan of between 50 and 150 years, depending on maintenance. It has a longer lifespan than other types of roofing materials, making it a good choice for those looking for long-lasting roofing material.

Remember that it is important to properly care for and maintain a terracotta roof in order to extend its lifespan.

Rosa Peterson

Rose is the writer and creator of Better That Home, a blog about home design and decor. Rose has been designing spaces for over 10 years and writing home design and decor for big publishers. She has been inspired by many other creatives from around the world and loves to share those inspirations with her readers. Read more about Rose here