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Signs it’s time to replace your tile roof

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Your roof is a crucial component of your home, safeguarding it from water damage and the elements. Unlike other household systems, a roof has no predetermined expiration date. The health and lifespan of your roof depend on various factors, including the type of material used. Roofs age differently, making determining when a replacement is due is challenging.

As time goes by, signs of wear and tear begin to manifest. It’s easy to overlook these signs until a major issue arises, such as water intrusion or rot. While a leaky roof is an obvious sign of repair, knowing when it’s time to replace the entire roof can be trickier. Being proactive and recognizing the early indicators that your roof requires replacement is key to minimizing repair costs and preventing injury or property damage.

Some key indicators we will explore include exterior damage – such as cracks, missing pieces, or visible deterioration; water damage – such as leaks, moisture intrusion, and mold growth; and your roof outliving its lifespan.

Exterior damage

While tile roofs can seem everlasting, there comes a point when they require replacement. There is a misconception that tile roofs have an infinite lifespan, influencing homeowners to neglect the need for timely replacements.

The longevity of tile roofs spans a significant range of 50 to 100 years, impacted by various factors and materials. Tiles are crafted from diverse substances, including clay, concrete, and synthetic products. Concrete tiles typically endure for approximately 50 years, while clay tiles can reach an impressive lifespan of up to 100 years.

Storms featuring destructive high gusts are one of the most prevalent causes of roof damage. While a properly installed tile roof can withstand the harshest weather conditions, enduring sustained winds of up to 180mph, other roofing materials may prove less resilient. Wind speeds surpassing hurricane strength, reaching 74mph or higher, can inflict extensive harm to your roof covering. For instance, caved-in, cracked, and missing tiles create openings for further destruction to occur as subsequent weather conditions unfold.

Caved-in, Cracked or Missing tiles

Several factors can contribute to tile damage on your roof. One type of tile damage to be aware of is when tiles become caved in or misshapen, often due to extreme weather conditions. Tile roofs are typically installed with curved tiles that help keep them securely in place and protect your home from water damage. However, these tiles can cave in or lose shape over time.

broken tiles

Weather conditions, animal activity like squirrels, and the natural effects of aging and wear can all cause tiles to break. As your roof ages, it becomes more susceptible to cracking, depending on whether your tiles are clay or concrete/synthetic materials. Hail, in particular, can cause significant damage, leading to tiles caving in and breaking apart. It’s important to exercise caution and avoid walking or stepping on any tiles if you suspect damage, as caved-in tiles become weak and are prone to falling off your roof.

The wind can unexpectedly dislodge tiles, even on a calm day. A gentle breeze can lift a tile from your roof and send it soaring across your yard. Beyond the concerns of caved-in, cracked, or missing tiles, another aspect of exterior damage to pay attention to is the absence of essential components such as flashing, gutter guards, or fascia.

Missing or Cracked Flashing, Gutter Guards or Fascia

Any signs of cracks or missing components raise immediate red flags, as proper support is necessary to ensure the roof’s structural integrity and prevent the risk of collapse.
Roof flashing, typically made of galvanized steel, is an essential material professional roofers use to redirect water away from critical areas where the roof plane meets vertical surfaces such as walls or dormers. Flashing is installed to surround roof features such as vents, chimneys, and skylights.

A gutter cover, also known as a gutter guard or grate, is a protective covering positioned on top of your gutters. Designed with openings, such as slits or a mesh-like web of holes, it allows water to flow off the roof into the channel while blocking larger debris.

The fascia board, positioned along the roof’s lower edge, is a lengthy and straight board. It is directly affixed to the lower ends of the roof trusses and primarily supports the lower edge of the bottom row of tiles and guttering system.

Streaks running down the fascia boards are often a result of water seeping under the tiles. If you notice streaks of color running down or throughout your tiles, it could indicate aging tiles and ineffective sealant. While some streaking may occur naturally, monitoring them periodically is important to ensure they aren’t indicative of more serious underlying issues.

Water damage

Water inside your home is an unmistakable sign of an issue with your roof. It often indicates cracked, leaking, or lifted-up tiles that require replacement. However, when a homeowner discovers the leak, the underlayment and other roofing components may have already suffered damage.

One significant indication is sagging, which suggests that trapped moisture has caused rotting beneath the roof, necessitating timely replacement before further damage occurs to your home. When inspecting the surface, pay close attention to signs of trapped moisture, rotting boards, or sagging spots, particularly at the lowest points in the roof. A helpful tip is to step back and view your house from different angles, even across the street. A straight appearance along the roof lines indicates structural integrity, while sagging and slumping should be easily noticeable if present.

The upstairs roof or attic is particularly vulnerable to the detrimental effects of moisture. Identifying any signs of water damage in these spaces is crucial for maintaining the structural integrity of your home.

Water Damage in the Upstairs or Attic

Interior water damage is a significant red flag that something is amiss with your roof. Consistent leaks, water accumulation in the attic, and stains on ceilings or walls can all be signs of roof integrity issues. Moisture marks, stains in colors like brown, yellow, or grey, and peeling paint on walls and ceilings are all potential indicators of roof damage.

Inspecting the attic for damp rafters or leaks can provide further evidence of roof issues. While you play a crucial role in identifying roof damage, it’s essential to be aware of your limitations and call in a professional roofer for an annual inspection, as their expertise and specialized tools can detect minor damage before it escalates into a major problem, potentially saving you significant repair costs.

Addressing leaks promptly is vital, as delaying repairs can lead to further damage to your home’s structure, including dry rot, and even fostering mold growth.

Moss, Mold, or Fungi

These elements indicate trapped moisture that can lead to severe roof damage. To address moss growth in shaded areas of your roof, utilize a stiff brush while identifying any underlying problems. However, if obvious moss persists even after brushing, it is advisable to contact a professional to conduct a thorough inspection of the roof.

moss on tile roof

Be mindful of algae buildup across the roof or in specific areas. Although algae is less common on tile roofs in warmer and drier climates, its presence should not be overlooked. Algae can cause the breakdown and deterioration of roofing tiles, indicating a moisture problem. If you notice algae buildup, other underlying roof problems likely need to be addressed.

To identify signs of moisture in your roof, examine the insulation in the attic for any signs of dampness, check for moss, mold, and fungi on and around the roof, and look for sagging and rotting boards. These elements often indicate underlying moisture issues that can affect your roof’s overall water drainage functionality.

Insufficient Water Drainage

The potential consequences of inadequate water drainage from your roof as it can result in significant damage to your home’s foundation. Several factors can contribute to poor drainage, including clogged gutters, improper tile installation, and roofs with inadequate slopes.

If you observe that water is not draining as it should, it is advisable to start by checking your gutters for any blockages. However, if the issue persists even after addressing the gutters, it is recommended to seek the expertise of a professional roofer to diagnose and resolve the underlying problem.

It’s crucial to recognize the substantial impact of prolonged water damage on the overall condition of your roof. As time passes, water damage can progressively contribute to the deterioration and aging of your roof, ultimately indicating the need for a roof replacement as it reaches the end of its expected lifespan.

The Roof Has Outlived its Lifespan

Not all roofs have the same lifespan. It varies depending on the product and quality. Determining when your roof was installed is important to estimate its lifespan. If you need more clarification about the installation date, you can refer to your home improvement records for more information.

Factors such as the removal of the old roof, the presence of multiple layers, and proper ventilation play a role in determining the need for a new roof. Suppose the roof was installed over another layer or multiple layers and it is older than 20 years. In that case, a new roof is likely necessary.

If your roof is approaching the end of its serviceable lifespan, it may require a thorough inspection to evaluate its condition and viability. Understanding the expected lifespan of different roofing materials is crucial in assessing your roof’s current condition and potential longevity.

Typical Longevity of Roofing Materials

Determining the age of your roof serves as a starting point to assess its expected lifespan. Although experts generally suggest a roof should last about 20 years, it’s important to consider the composition of the roof, as different materials have varying longevity. Here are some examples of typical roof longevity for various roofing materials:


Roofing Material

Average lifespan

Asphalt Roll

5 – 10 years

Composite Shingle

15 years

Wood Shingle

Approximately 25 years

Metal Roof

20 – 50 years

Wood Shake Shingle

35 – 40 years

Clay Tile / Spanish Tile

40 – 50 years (Underlayment lasts approximately 15 years)


100+ years

It’s worth noting that the installation method can also impact the roof’s longevity. For instance, a roof installed over an existing layer of shingles usually needs replacement within 20 years. While spot treatments may help extend the life of your roof, be mindful of the material’s age, as it starts to deteriorate within these ranges. Delaying roof replacement increases the risk of water intrusion and other issues that can cause lasting damage to your home. Therefore, it’s advisable to consider a new roof before reaching the upper limits of these longevity ranges.

Energy Bills Keep Increasing

energy effeciant roofs

A well-maintained roof optimizes energy efficiency, especially in Florida, where the need for cooling is often year-round. A good roof can contribute to keeping the cool air inside your home and reducing energy bills. The color and material of your roof can also make a difference, with lighter-colored tiles or reflective surfaces like metal roofs helping to reflect the hot Florida sun.

Roofing Inspection Determines Repairs Aren’t Sufficient

It’s important to acknowledge that despite your efforts to catch issues in regular inspections, some damage may go beyond minor repairs. In such cases, a professional roofing contractor’s inspection can reveal systemic issues, making roof replacement a more cost-effective solution than repeated repairs.

To address these conditions, take proactive action and have a licensed, insured, and bonded roofing contractor perform a thorough inspection. We recommend obtaining 2 to 3 estimates detailing the scope of work, pictures of all areas and damage, and a comprehensive breakdown of charges.

Avoid attempting to fix the roof yourself. Opting for roof repairs or a complete replacement if the roof has surpassed its expiration date can help prevent more significant expenses in the long run, including the need for structural repairs. Consider signing up for an annual maintenance plan with a reputable roofing company to ensure regular check-ups and timely intervention for any subtle problems or visible defects. This proactive approach will help protect your most valuable investment, your home.

Don’t wait for problems to occur

Remember, it’s important to act proactively and prioritize the maintenance of your roof rather than waiting for a significant problem to occur. Regular monitoring and inspections by qualified professionals ensure the health and longevity of your roof. When the time comes to repair or replace your roof, don’t hesitate to contact a licensed, insured, and bonded professional. They can provide the expertise needed to assess the condition of your roof and guide you toward the most suitable solution.

All Points Tile and Slate offers high-quality roofing tiles that can meet your needs and ensure the durability and beauty of your roof. When repairs are needed, our expansive inventory and team of tile experts are available to match your existing tiles and breathe new life into your roof. We are located in Oviedo, Florida, and service customers in Jacksonville, Sarasota, Tampa, Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, and numerous other areas. Our commitment to providing exceptional roofing materials knows no geographical limits, and we are dedicated to meeting customers’ needs across a wide range of locations.

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.