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How to Recycle Roof Tiles

Angie Mohr

Clay and concrete roof tiles are a common sight throughout the Mediterranean and have been used increasingly here in the United States for a high-end tropical look. Clay roof tiles last longer than asphalt shingles and are less likely to be damaged by wind or rain. However, when it comes time to remove your clay roof tiles, it pays to recycle them since vintage roof tiles are a hot commodity in the house restoration industry.

  1. Turn your used roof tiles into a garden walkway. Create a pathway through your garden and outline it with string. Even out any bumps on the pathway with a shovel. Lay the roof tiles down in the same configuration they were in on the roof. Make sure the tiles are tight up against each other. On the side edges of the pathway, shore up the surrounding soil by 2 inches to provide a barrier for the tiles slipping.

  2. Bake in your old clay roof tiles. Baking in clay is a centuries-old tradition. Wrap chicken breasts topped with garlic and a tablespoon of white wine in parchment paper, folding edges together and stapling closed. Heat cleaned clay tile curved upward in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven. Place the parchment paper package on top of the tile and bake until done, approximately 30 minutes. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer. Temperature will read 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the interior of the meat when ready. Open parchment and serve.

  3. Build an outdoor fire pit with used clay tiles. Mark off a 4-by-4 foot square where you want to locate your fire pit. Lay roof tiles, curved downwards, end to end abutting tightly, forming the square. Lay a second row of tiles on top, offset by a half tile so that the ends do not line up. At the corners, cut the tiles crosswise in half to fill the row completely. Continue to build layers until the fire pit is the height you want, usually 2 to 3 feet.

  4. Find a vintage clay tile dealer who is interested in purchasing your tiles. When negotiating a price, give the dealer an accurate count of how many full tiles you have available. The dealer may also be interested in any broken tiles you have for repairs of other clients' roofs. Provide the dealer with any other information you have on the tiles: date they were laid, type of tile and manufacturer. In general, the older and more authentic the tile, the higher its value.

  5. Avoid cleaning the tile yourself before speaking with the tile dealer. He may have a specific method for cleaning that he prefers. Some cleaners and methods can damage or destroy the tile, so leave it up to the experts.

  6. Use your tiles for your own home renovation project. Tile an outdoor shed or garage with the tiles to protect the roof and cool the building in the summer.