Getting Your Tile Roof Repaired: Everything You Need to Know

In this guide, we'll discuss...


Causes of Tile Roof Damage

Tile roof repair can become necessary due to a number of different factors. The main reason why roof tiles break is simple wear and tear. As time passes, the water proofing materials that are added to roof tiles begin to break down. When tiles are no longer waterproof, water, snow, and ice can seep into tiles causing them to break.

In addition to wear and tear, harsh weather conditions may cause tiles to fall apart. Generally, roof tiles are best suited to warmer climates that don’t receive a great deal of precipitation.

When roof tiles are subjected to large amounts of snow and ice, some tiles may begin to erode. On occasion, roof tiles may also become covered in moss and other types of fungus, which could cause serious roofing problems if left untreated.


Common Tile Problems

1. Broken Tiles

Tiles break for a number of reasons: weather, excessive heat exposure, animals, and more may break tiles leaving your roof vulnerable to outdoor conditions causing water damage and leaks.

2. Sliding Tiles

If your roof resides in a climate with a lot of sun exposure, the extreme heat can cause adhesive holdings to soften causing tiles to slide out of place.

3. Fastener Failure

Tiles may become loose or lost if roofing fasteners are installed incorrectly, there are not enough to hold the amount of tiles, or they may become corroded due to age.

4. Debris Between Tiles

Organic debris, such as plant material, mold, and lichen, can deteriorate the underlayment beneath your tiles. This may cause tiles to move, allowing moisture and other harmful elements to penetrate your roof.

old tiles with organic debris growing on them

While homeowners may experience a few of these problems, when installed correctly tile roofs stand up well to the elements and last for years without incident. But it’s always the smart choice to be proactive and inspect your roof frequently to avoid major repairs or a complete replacement.
 

LEARN MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Tile Roofs


Frequently Asked Questions About Tile Roof Repairs

Can I nail down portions of my shake tiles that are curling or bowing?

We recommend replacing curled shakes instead of using nails to temporarily fix bowed tiles. 

I'm having consistent problems with our shake tiles cracking and falling off.

This could be caused by improper installation techniques or the nails used during installation. Contact a qualified contractor for assistance

Can large areas of my tile roof be sealed with caulk?

No. Caulk can be used to successfully repair small leaks and minor damage, but is not a proper long-term solution.

Can I walk on my tile roof to examine it?

We don’t recommend homeowners walk on their tile roofs themselves. A professional contractor will have the proper equipment and training to perform a safe inspection.

Some of my shake tiles are starting to split. Can I use a spray to help them last longer?

Splitting of shakes over time is a normal occurrence. If your roof is not leaking, the splits should be left alone. However, a qualified contractor can insert metal shims under any significant splits to provide peace of mind.

What can I do to prevent my tiles from turning grey?

Many tropical treatments are available that contain color tints to prolong the natural color of your tiles. Always contact a competent professional or respected paint store for more information about proper materials.


How To Repair Small Damages Yourself

There are two primary types of tile roofing – clay and concrete. Due to the fragility of clay tiles, we don’t recommend performing small repairs or maintenance yourself. A professional should always handle these tasks as to avoid damaging the clay tiles further. Concrete tiles are more durable, giving homeowners the option to perform small repairs and maintenance safely themselves. 

One of the more common problems facing tile roofing is cracking. Repairing small cracks or replacing a few tiles is doable as a homeowner, but if you suspect widespread damage or are in need of major repairs, consult a qualified tile roofing contractor.

Small Cracks or Holes

Minor damage to single tiles can be repaired by filling the cracked area with plastic roofing cement.

1. Scrub the crack or hole with a wire brush to clear dust and debris

2. Fill the area with plastic roofing cement to seal the crack or fill the hole

Cracked or Broken Tiles

If a tile is damaged beyond what roofing cement can fix, you’ll need to replace the tile.

1. Carefully pry up the tile above the broken piece you’re replacing

2. Break off the damaged tile, remove any stray pieces, and pry out any remaining nails

3. Spread a small amount of roofing cement along the bottom of the replacement tile and press into place

4. Replace all tiles removed and press down firmly

Power washing tile roof

Maintenance

A relatively easy way to ward off mold, fungus, and algae is to power wash your tile roof. However, 

1. Clean the roof with a solution of 1 percent household bleach to water.

2. Use a power washer to scrub away the solution and built-up residue. Operate the pressure washer at 1,200 PSI and keep the nozzle at least one foot away from the tiles.

Washing tiles every two years will add greatly to the longevity of your roof. Being proactive about tile roof maintenance can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in roof repair costs.


Find a Qualified Tile Roofing Contractor


Costs of Tile Roof Repair

Tile roofing is expected to last a lifetime. However, like all materials, maintenance and repairs need to be addressed in order to keep the roof in proper working order. Depending on the type of damage and where it’s located, costs range between $300 to $8,000 for tile roof repairs.

Cost Breakdown of Tile Roof Repairs
Roofing Material Cost per Square
Underlayments $5,400 - $7,660
Sagging Roofs $11 - $22 per sq. ft.
Metal Flashing $300
Clay $250 - $500
Standard Concrete $150 - $250
Lightweight Concrete $350 - $500
Steel and Aluminum $100 - $250

Components of a tile roof

Underlayments

Replacing a worn out underlayment is the costliest of repairs. To replace the underlayment a full removal and replacement of tiles is necessary, as well as new underlayment material. If your roof is around 1,500 square feet, average underlayment repair costs range from $5,400 - $7,660.

Sagging Roofs

Sagging roofs may be caused due to insufficient support. It’s important to that your structural frames can support the weight of tiles. Typically, roof framing repairs cost between $11 and $22 per square foot.

Replacing Materials

The cost of replacing broken or damaged tiles varies according to the material being used. (One square is equal to 100 square feet.)

  • Clay: $250 to $500 per square
  • Standard Concrete: $150 to $250 per square
  • Lightweight Concrete: $350 - $500 per square
  • Steel and Aluminum: $100 to $260 per square

Metal Flashing

Metal flashing serves as a seal for the edges of the roof. If the flashing is damaged, repair costs average around $300 for the repair. 

Compared to the cost of a full roof replacement, which can range from $8,000 to $20,000 depending on the size of the roof and your location, repairing your tile roof is almost always the more cost-effective option.

Labor costs will factor into the overall price of repair services as well and will vary depending on the roofing contractor you choose.
 

Hire a Reputable Tile Roofing Contractor


Tile Roof Repair vs. Complete Replacement

In order to avoid replacing an entire roof, tiles must be repaired quickly. If you’ve noticed that a tile has fallen or become warped, it may be possible to repair these tiles without replacing an entire roof. Otherwise, water will begin to seep underneath any damaged roof tiles, and that may result in the need to replace the entire roof.

Due to the high durability and high cost of tile roofs, a full roof replacement is hardly ever needed, unless your roof is nearing 70 years old or older. An extensive repair is almost always a better investment than a full replacement for tile roof owners.

However, there are a few key aspects to consider when weighing the repair vs. replacement question:

1. If more than 50% of the tiles on your roof are broken or cracked, a full replacement will be a more cost-effective solution than a repair.

2. The condition of the underlayment beneath the tiles should be inspected before considering extensive repair or replacement services. Oftentimes, tiles may remain intact, while the underlayment becomes compromised due to excessive moisture. In this case, a “lift and re-lay” service will remove the existing tile, underlayment, and flashing, install a new watertight underlayment system, and re-install the original tiles.

3. Flashing systems need to be monitored to determine how well they’re holding tiles in place. Like the underlayment, monitoring and replacing damaged flashing is a key component to a healthy tile roof. It’s also much cheaper to replace flashing than to replace all tiles. If the flashing is in good condition, repairing damaged tiles will add more years of service to the roof and save money on a complete roof replacement.

Tile roof damaged due to hail and weather

If you see any signs of water damage inside of your home, your tile roof may be beyond repair. By the time water has penetrated your home’s structure, it may be too late to simply repair damaged tiles.

The best practice when considering the repair vs. replacement question is to seek the advice of one or more reputable roofing contractors with expertise in tile roofs. If a tile roofer recommends full replacement and you're not sure the contractor is giving you the straight story, you can always request a second opinion from another contractor.
 

DIY or Hire It Out

If you're the handy type, you may be able to repair a broken tile or two on your own. Small holes or cracks can be fixed easily with roofing cement, and power washing tiles can lengthen the life of your roof.

Performing your own repairs and maintenance is almost always a cheaper option than hiring a contractor. However, if done improperly, you may accrue thousands of dollars in additional damages that a professional will have to fix.

There's also the danger of falling off the roof to consider. If you feel secure in your knowledge and your ability to perform the job safely, a DIY approach may be the better option. However, it’s always smart to use a verified roofing contractor for repairs and maintenance.

If you do plan to hire a roofing contractor to repair your tile roof, rely on Hometown to help you find a great contractor. We verify roofer's credentials (i.e. license and insurance) and provide real reviews from verified customers.