Get The Most From Your New Clay Tile Roof

By keeping your clay roof in good shape, you can expect to get more than 100 years of service from it. The tiles need a little maintenance each year and an annual inspection will catch small problems before they become expensive repairs. Here are some tips for getting a century of use from your new clay tile roof.

Use Caution When Working on Clay Tiles

Clay becomes very slippery when it's wet and especially if algae has started to grow on the surface. Only work on the tiles that you can reach from a ladder against the house. You can do much of the maintenance with a long-handled brush and garden hose. Leave maintenance tasks that require standing on the roof to a roof repair company who has the experience and safety equipment.

Cleaning the Tile

In hot, dry climates, dust and pollen accumulate on the tiles. Brush as much of this off of your roof as you can with a brush or broom. Then use a garden hose to rinse off your roof.

In wet climates, algae can grow on tiles that are in shade and don't have a chance to dry out completely. The algae plants send tiny roots down into the clay tile which can cause the tiles to crack. Get rid of algae at the first sign of growth. Mix equal parts of chlorine bleach and water and place the solution in a garden sprayer. Soak the roof tiles with the solution and scrub them with your broom or brush. Rinse off the area with a garden hose when you're done scrubbing the tiles.

Using a power washer is not recommended because you can crack tiles or force them off of the roof. If you have a large area of the roof to clean, have a roofing contractor do the work. They know how to safely use a power washer to prevent damage to the tiles.

Repairing and Replacing Clay Tiles

Cracked tiles should be repaired quickly before water can get under the tiles and into your house. If you live where the temperatures get to freezing, water in the cracks will expand and break the tiles apart. Make sure a cracked tile is completely dry before repairing it. Fill the crack with a clear silicone sealer. This prevents the crack from expanding and water getting under the tile.

Broken tiles must be replaced carefully to prevent damage to the tiles around them. Clay tiles are installed in a waterfall pattern, from the bottom edge of the roof to the peak. Each higher level overlaps the next one down so you can't get to the fasteners to remove the broken tile. To replace a tile, you have to do the following:

  1. Break the tile into small pieces that you can remove. Be careful as you remove the pieces from under the overlapping tile.
  2. Pull up or hammer down any nails left when removing the broken tile.
  3. Apply a layer of roof sealer on the top surface of the new tile where it slips under the overlapping tile.
  4. Place a bead of sealer on the edges of the new tile where it overlaps the next row down.
  5. Push the new tile under the overlapping tile and press the lower edges down onto the tiles below it.
  6. Try to not get any sealer on the exposed surfaces of the new tile so you won't be able to distinguish it from the other tiles around it.

When replacing broken tiles with new ones, you may see small white streaks on the surface of the tile for a few weeks. This is caused by a reaction between the lime in the tile with oxygen and water. The streaks will wash away with subsequent rain over the next few weeks. To learn more, speak with a business like A-1 Roofing & Siding.