How do I know my tile roof is installed correctly?

How do I know my tile roof is installed correctly?

Most of the components that ensure a quality tile roofing job are hidden from sight under the roof.  I said most, because there are discernible signs that your roofer properly installed your roof or cheated you.  If you already have a tile roof you will need three items:

  1. a measuring tape
  2. a ladder
  3. binoculars.

If you do not have a roof – check your proposal letter or bid proposals and make sure the roofing contractors are detailing these most crucial area’s in your roof.
Here are a few simple details you the homeowner can look for around your neighborhood or on your own roof.  

  1. TILE EXPOSURE. Tools needed: Measuring tape & ladder.  What you do.  Get on your ladder to the eave of your roof.  Remove one tile on the second row of tile.  Measure the entire length of the tile.  Put the tile back in it’s place.  Measure from the bottom of the tile up to where the tile disappears under the course above.  For example: When you pulled out your tile – if it measured 17″ long – when you put the tile back it should have only measured 14″ of exposure maximum.  This would then mean that 3″ of your tile are overlapped by the course of tile above.  A 3″ lap is code.  If you had an exposure of 15″ then your tile is overexposed and needs to be fixed.  This is no simple fix. It involves removing the courses that are over exposed and reinstalling them with the correct overlap requiring labor and materials.  If you are less than 14″ (for the 17″ tile) or less your roof has proper overlap.  Over exposing tile is a classic way for roofers to cheat homeowners by installing less than the correct amount of material on the roof which also saves time.  It is also not easily discernible to the “non-roofer” homeowner. Roof failure shows up years down the road in leaks, typically on south facing area’s, and under tree’s or downspouts from the 2nd floor.

    Quick check: When you scan the field of your roof tile – can you see any nail holes or nails at the top of your tile where the hole is for the nail to fasten the tile?  If you can see fasteners – your tile is over exposed!  If you can see it – water can go into that hole.

  2. METAL WORK. Tools needed: Binoculars and maybe a ladder. Below I have identified some of the components that are crucial to a tile roof. The only part of this you will be able to see when the roof is complete is the center strip of valley metal, part of the valley metal where it pokes out to drop the water into the gutter, half of the valley miter, and all of the head wall metal.  Let’s focus on the head wall metal.

    roofing components1
    Head wall metal controls the water running off your walls and keeps the water on top of your tile.  See FAQ page “Why do tile roofs fail?” Your tile should be coming out below the head wall metal. See the picture below:
    1metal roofed in correctly sized to fit
    Notice how nearly everything can be hidden.  The sides of the hip miter and the corner flashing will stick out and the headwall metal will be on TOP of the tile.  That is the big one.  Make sure there is headwall metal coming out on top of your tile.  This picture (below) is a perfect example.  Notice that where it was convenient the roofer installed the metal work properly, but when it comes to dealing with a tricky bay window with odd angles and heavy wood trim that is difficult to remove and replace to install new headwall metal at the proper height for the new tile – suddenly – the headwall metal is missing:
    missing headwall metal picture 1
    Water is running under the tile and rotting out the underlayment.  This will eventually leak and potentially cost more to fix this one area than it originally cost for this entire roof.

  3. TILE FLASHING’S.
    Roof jacks for wood shakes and roof tile are generally the same metal, and size.  Tile roofing requires a return be bent, hemmed, or crimped onto the edge of the flashing to keep the water from spilling behind the tile and onto the underlayment.  Here is what it looks like: (below)

    plumbingflashing with crimp

    Here is what the a flashing looks like that is missing the tile return (below:)

    pioneer village 001
    Missing that return on the sides of the flashing is a small thing but potential disaster.  It is such a simple task to do while roofing the house – how this is missed I do not know.  If left unchecked it will rot out the underlayment and cause leaks.  The picture below is a perfect example of this.  The original roofer did not take the time to put a return on the flashing.  It obviously leaked over time and the person who came out to fix the leak installed felt paper over the flashing rather than just putting a return on the flashing which would have fixed the problem.  It is leaking again and now it is too late.  All of the underlayment is rotten in the area and this section is going to need a re-roof – all for a tiny flashing and 1 minute of work: bending a return on a flashing.
    alder ridge apartments 013
    These are a few area’s of critical concern.  They range in difficulty from simple to very time consuming. If these critical area’s are not properly roofed then it is highly likely major problems may appear down the road. This list is not exhaustive, but the items mentioned above are usually easily visible signs of a quality tile roofing job.  Other problems may be hidden from view.  Your job as a homeowner is to do your homework when facing large home improvement tasks like re-roofing. Obtain a detailed contract from your licensed contractor for peace of mind now and in the future.  At Brazil Quality Roofing, Inc. we are that contractor.

    Contact Brazil Quality Roofing, Inc. for your free estimate and get peace of mind by having your new tile roof properly installed for lasting quality and beauty.

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