Expert tips on tile roof repairs

November 19, 2014

Strong, durable, and distinctive, tile roofs are not so hard to repair with a little know-how and caution.
While tile roofs come in a variety of designer colours and profiles, they are often embraced by people who want to adopt a sunny Mediterranean look for their homes.

Besides their distinctive style, tile roofs are durable, energy efficient, and low maintenance. Materials range from traditional clay tiles — natural, fired in kilns; concrete tiles, which can be made to resemble clay, shakes, wood, or slate; or slate, the most expensive solution.

Used for moderate- to steep-sloped roofs, these natural tiles require specially reinforced roofing structures to support their weight.
What you need
Replacing a broken or damage tile requires having the correct replacement tile, a couple of pry bars or pieces of wood to lever tiles, and a brick trowel.

You’ll also need a ladder to get on the roof and perhaps some climbing ropes to secure you, especially if the roof is steep. A fall from this height is no laughing matter.
You do mean to pry
Use the pry bars or pieces of wood to slightly lift the tiles overlapping the one you need to remove. Be gentle with the tiles. Though they’re hard, they’re also brittle.
Lift and separate
Slide the trowel underneath the damaged tile, lift it over the baton underneath, and slide it out.

Most tile roofs are not nailed down. Instead, the tiles have nubs that rest behind the boards that have been nailed down to the roof.
But if nailed
However, some steep roofs and the bottom two courses of many roofs may be nailed down. So, again, be aware that tiles are brittle. Be careful as you exert pressure to remove the nails.
Reverse the process
Once the old tile is removed, slide the new tile into place, ensuring that its nubs are hooked behind the baton. Remove the pry bars or pieces of wood. Make sure that the new tile is securely positioned and not interfering with any of the other tiles around it.

Unless there are a lot of high winds in your area, there is no need to nail or wire the tile into place.
While you’re there
Since you’re up on the roof anyway, check the other tiles for signs of wear and damage. You might as well exercise your newfound expertise in roof tile replacement, if needed.

Expert tips on tile roof repairs
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