How to Maintain Your Tile Roof
If there is one truism about homeownership, it’s that upkeep and maintenance never end. While it may feel like an endless chore, properly maintaining and cleaning your home and property will save you money in the long run.
One of the areas often that needs continual addressing is your roof. In Arizona, tile roofs are especially popular. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, they reduce heat transfer, they’re fire- and frost-resistant, and they last much longer than other roof types.
However, tile roofs still need care to be as beautiful and hardy as they can be. Depending on what type of tile you have, there are a few different things you can do to maintain your tile roof.
Types of Tile
Selecting tile as your overhead covering has the benefit of a wide variety of choices. They all share the advantage of being long-lasting and weather-resistant, but also have their unique benefits as well.
Clay may be the most traditional roof tile. It’s that rust color roof on many homes in buildings in hot, sunny regions. Properly maintained, they can last at least 100 years.
Clay roofs have more of a history than other tile roof types. The first evidence of a tile roof appeared around 10,000 BC in both China and the Middle East. In the 1500s, it was used for some of the first permanent structures in North America.
One reason they were so widely used, and still are today, is that they are resistant to fire. Early fire codes encouraged the use of clay tiles to save structures. They are also incredibly efficient at keeping heat out of the house and cool air in.
Clay tiles are easily recognizable by their shape as well as color. Barrel or Spanish barrel is the most traditional. Half cylinder tiles are laid in an interlocking pattern that is nearly water-proof on steep pitches.
These days, it’s not uncommon to see s-shaped clay tiles. Just as the name suggests, tiles are shaped like an ‘s’ to either interlock or strategically stack. They look similar to barrel tiles, but use less material. Other shapes and styles include double roman, mission, and romano pans.
We get clay from the ground, but composite tiles are completely man-made. They are typically manufactured from recycled rubber and plastic, but they can also be a mix of other materials such as asphalt or fiberglass.
Composite roof tiles have plenty of versatility, but are often seen mimicking clay or slate. The color and shape of composite tiles are nearly endless.
The advantage to composite is that it's usually cheaper and lighter in weight than its more natural counterparts. However, they don’t last quite as long — typically about 50 years.
Like clay, slate is naturally found in nature. It’s a stone that is mined and then cut into tiles that usually resemble shingles.
Slate roof tiles share a lot in common with clay tiles. They are extremely weather-resistant, fireproof, and long-lasting. Slate is often a dark stone, so it’s lauded for its regal, timeless appearance.
However, slate is rock, so it is very heavy. In order for a house to have a slate roof, it needs to be specially constructed or reinforced to take the weight. Mining, cutting, and installing slate is very labor-intensive. You can expect to pay more for slate than any other type of roofing material.
The most popular tile roofing in Arizona is concrete. Like composite, you can shape it however you like. It will always have a gray appearance, but it’s still weather-resistant and fireproof.
Like slate, concrete is on the heavier side and can’t be installed on just any home. It is, however, a much cheaper option than slate.
The downside to concrete is that it isn’t quite as hardy as other tile materials. Maintenance on a concrete tile roof may require a few extra steps, such as water-proofing and frequent cleanings, to function optimally. If maintained properly, it can last 50 years. If not, well, think of those forgotten, broken sidewalks in your neighborhood.
Tile Roof Maintenance
While each roofing material has their own unique maintenance challenges, a yearly inspection can catch any flaws early. Repairs cost less money and time than replacements.
Homeowners should inspect yearly for:
The flashing is the thin, metal material that surrounds roof features like chimneys, or is laid in roof valleys to direct water away.
If the flashing has lost any integrity, water could get below the tiles and cause your roof to leak.
Obviously, when your roof has less coverage, the more likely it is that water will get underneath it. Also, tiles are often treated with extra weather-proofing. If they are cracked, they are susceptible to the elements.
Maintenance on a concrete roof tile can sometimes be a bit different than other tile types. They are susceptible to efflorescence, or lime bloom.
It might sound like a big problem, but it only affects the aesthetics of the roof. You might see an older concrete roof that looks chalky. This could get washed away by rain eventually, but you could seal the tiles with an acrylic sealant to shine up your roof quicker. Painting the tiles can also help prevent efflorescence.
How to Clean a Tile Roof
Tile roof cleaning might take a little extra effort than a shingle roof, due to its rutted nature. It should be cleaned yearly. Depending on what type of tile you have, you should exercise caution when using a pressure washer.
Mildew and Moss
Excess water or improper drainage can lead to some colorful life forming on your roof. Not only does mildew, and moss not look great, but you put yourself at risk for mold. These can be removed relatively easily with a wash.
Tile roofs have more texture than shingle roofs. Debris such as leaves, pinecones and other natural materials can clog up the drain systems on your roof. Just like you would clean your gutters, make sure you clean your roof.
Call the Experts for All Your Tile Roof Cleaning Needs
Remember that you shouldn’t step on your roof without proper training and experience. When in doubt, call professionals to help with cleaning and maintenance.
Regular roof maintenance will make your roof last longer and look good throughout its lifetime. Tile roofs can get expensive. Choose an Arizona roofing company like Legacy Roofing to help with maintenance, repairs, and installation that keep your roof in beautiful, hardy condition.
Give us a call for all your tile roof needs. We’ll build a legacy, one roof at a time.