Clay Tile Roof Repair: Mistakes to Avoid

Using the proper methods to complete a clay tile roof repair is an important part in making sure you don’t cause more damage than you intended to repair. Clay tile roofs provide old world look and charm but can require regular maintenance.  Clay tile roofs are also extremely fragile so it’s important to take extra care when working on them. This and other common mistakes are important to keep in mind before tackling your next repair.

Proper Storage of Materials

When undertaking a clay tile roof repair one of the first problems you’re going to have to deal with is where to store the materials that are to be used in the repair.  Although full of historic charm and character these roofs cannot support much weight on their surface. In order to avoid damaging the good clay roof tiles you’ll have to spread the weight out over a larger area. It’s also a good idea to avoid stacking multiple bundles one on top of the other. A good rule of thumb is to stack no more than two bundles together. The best method is to create a staging area on the ground and bring the material to the roof as it’s needed. However, this can’t always be accomplished especially when dealing with high roof lines.

Accessing the Roof

The fragile nature of clay tiles makes accessing the roof to perform your repair somewhat of a tricky proposition. When placing the extension ladder against the eave of the roof it’s a good idea to put some sort of protection between the ladder and the roof. This will help prevent cracking or chipping any clay tiles along the edge. Another good idea is to place a protective drop cloth, such as an old blanket, to work off of. Storing your tools on the bare clay tiles can cause additional chipping and cracking. Once on the roof you should wear non-slip shoes and walk slowly while distributing your weight evenly. When walking, it’s also recommended to avoid stepping directly on the edge of a tile as these are the weakest points.

Removing the Old Tiles

When performing clay tile roof repair you’ll want to isolate the area of repair so as not to damage any of the adjacent roof tiles.  Clay tiles can be damaged by falling tree limbs or just crack after several seasons of weathering. In many cases, you’ll only have to replace a few tiles to successfully complete the repair. Inexperienced roofers will often damage adjacent tiles while trying to remove the damaged ones. To avoid this scenario use a piece of wood to wedge the tile up. This will allow you access to remove the nail holding the damaged tile in place. When breaking apart the damaged tile use a chisel in conjunction with a hammer. This will give you more control and prevent any collateral damage to existing tiles. By avoiding these common mistakes when removing an old tile you can ensure you don’t create more work for yourself.