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7 Reasons Why You May Need Replacement Roof Tiles

Table of Contents

There are many reasons consumers choose concrete or clay roof tile for their roofs, including its beautiful aesthetic, increase in property value, and a longer lifespan than asphalt shingles. However, it is important to understand some unique characteristics of roof tile and how it can be damaged in various and sometimes surprising circumstances.

  1. Wind, Hail, and Rain
    1. By far the leading cause of broken roof tiles is that wind, hail, and torrential rain, from powerful storms damages tile, leaving a headache for property owners to deal with. Typically, wind damage causes tiles to cleanly split a tile horizontally, cause a tile to slide out of place, or tear small chips from the corners of the tiles. Wind can also rip branches off nearby trees, and cause heavy limbs to crash onto tile, leaving what was affected to appear shattered. Hail damage appears in the form of a smashed tile, as if it has been struck by the head of a hammer. If either of these forms of damage has occurred, long and heavy rainstorms can drastically increase the probability of a leak in the roof. After a rainstorm, it is critical to examine every room of the property, as well as the attic, checking for leaks. In addition, checking the roof tiles themselves, and understanding the tell-tale signs of roof damage will help prevent long-term periods of the roof being susceptible to harsh weather. Examples of breakage:
Example of harsh weather breakage
Example of a harsh weather break
Example of harsh weather damage
  1. Installation Issues
    1. To begin our list of non-weather-related causes for damaged roof tiles, installation must be the leader because of the frequency of visits and volume of material needed for repairs. There are several reasons costly repairs occur from installation issues, but the three most common issues we find are that tiles are fastened down too hard, improper work leading to the replacement of dry-in metal, or flashings, and poor mud work on hips and ridges.
      1. When roof tile is excessively fastened, the tile becomes more susceptible to wind, and foot (walking) damage because the tile cannot move when force is applied. When the screw or nail is too tight, there is no space for the tile to slightly move to avoid breakage when wind or foot traffic moves the tiles. Small potato-chip-sized chips are notorious to break off when an external force is applied. An unfortunate, but common cause of roof tile damage, nonetheless. 
      2. Unsatisfactory work completed when installing metal is also a common cause of roof tile damage. If there is an issue with how metal was installed, it requires the tile covering the metal to be taken up to replace the metal, typically resulting in breaking the tile to do so. Common areas where metal work may be at-risk would be the eave closure, chimneys, sunroofs, valleys, and vents. 
      3. It is typical for us to see customers need repair tile because of cement on the hips or ridges cracked, causing leaks, therefore leading to the tile covering the leak to be ripped apart, and unfortunately resulting in broken tiles. Examples of breakage:
Example of installation issue damage
  1. Pressure Washing
    1. Pressure washing-related damages are near the top of our list because of how frequently customers mention this as the need for repair material. The damage doesn’t normally occur from the pressure washing itself but walking around the roof itself, with or without heavy equipment. There is always a risk of breaking tile when walking on a roof no matter how careful. Performing a walk-around check-up of your roof during and after pressure washing work is being done can help reduce there being broken tile on your roof for very long.
  2. Golf Balls
    1. This is one of the more unfortunate causes of damage we frequently hear about because it is seemingly unavoidable. It is not uncommon for a homeowner that lives near a golf course to need upwards of 30 pieces of repair tile because of repetitive impacts from golf balls on their roof. Homeowners near golf courses will have to more frequently check their roof for damage to help avoid prolonged periods of shattered tiles decreasing the protective qualities and aesthetic of their roof. 
  3. Tree Trimming
    1. While less common than the impact of golf balls, this is still a cause of damages that occurs more frequently than one would expect. It is impossible to predict how a branch will fall after it has been cut, and sometimes because of this, a cut branch will clip the side of one’s roof. We often see gable tile most frequently purchased from tree trimming-related damage because the branches typically get trimmed as they reach one’s house, not long after. It is typically very easy to notice if roof tile has been damaged from a tree branch hitting the house, but it is still recommended to check after work has been completed. 
  4. Complete Roof Tile Re-Glazing
    1. Somewhat like the cause to pressure washing-related damage, but with a much less frequent occurrence, re-painting a roof can lead to damaged tiles. This is because of walking on the tiles several times to apply multiple coats of paint. The overall volume of steps on the tile increases to likelihood of broken tile. It is more difficult to see if tile has been broken after painting has been completed because the paint is normally applied thick enough that it can act as “glue”, at least until the first storm comes and opens the damage back up. 
  5. Gutter Replacement 
    1. Rounding out our list of common causes for broken roof tile is damage caused from replacing gutters. Depending on how the gutters were originally installed, it may be difficult for the gutters to effortlessly be detached from the house, thus increasing the risk of breaking a tile on the eave of the roof. The amount of broken tile resulting from gutter replacement is often very low, but occurs frequently enough to make its way on our list. 

The information on our blog is for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a professional roofer. For all roofing questions and needs, please contact our experts at 407-366-2521.