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Tile Roofs & Common Misconceptions.

Posted on 18 July, 2013 at 10:41
Most people believe a tile roof to be the longest lasting and most durable of all surfaces. In many cases, that may be true. In theory, a good tile roof should last 40-50 years. That is, if only Mother Nature and humans would just cooperate.
Here is the most common factor which which tends to reduce this life expectancy;
Underlayments - Roofing felt and underlayments are generally measured by tensile strength. For example, shingled roofs usually require the minimum 15lb felt as underlayment. This thin felt is not meant to add protection from rain but as a moisture barrier to protect the wood sheathing beneath from drawing the oils and moisture from the asphalt shingles, thus drying them out.
Tile roofs on the other hand, are required to add protection from the rain and other elements. That is because even with new tile roofs, its expected that up to 5% of the rain water will seep into openings in the tile and reach this underlayment. For this reason, a minimum 40lb underlayment is required beneath the tiles. And most quality Roof Contractors will use nothing less than a 75lb rated material. That is because the 40lb material does not hold up well to the elements. If tiles are broken or displaced by wind, a 40lb surface- which is basically an asphalt coated cardboard- can quickly become weathered, wrinkled, then cracked. I've found this to be the most common cause of tile roof roof leaks. Even without direct exposure to the elements, our extreme desert temperatures will cause this 40lb paper to break down within 15-20 years.
On the other hand, 75lb rated underlayments (the minimum I allow on repairs) and above are fiberglass reinforced, which greatly adds to their durability and life expectancy.
In any case, it is extremely important that broken and displaced tiles are repaired as soon as they are discovered. Equally important, is that you have only qualified personnel performing inspections and subsequent repairs. I've been on many roofs and discovered a line of freshly cracked tiles where an unqualified individual was obviously doing much more harm than good by walking on them.
I offer free roof and underlayment assessments and estimates. But if you choose to use someone else, Please make certain the person walking on your tile roof is qualified to do so!

Categories: Roof Repair Tips

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30 Comments

Reply Casey Kravets
11:09 on 29 October, 2013 
Good post but you're saying underlayment sometimes needs replaced even if the main tile assembly appears to be in good shape?
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