An Inside Look At The Dos & Don’ts Of Clay Tile Roof Maintenance

Clay tile roofs can provide unique beauty and charm to a home, along with durability that can last 50 years or more when properly maintained. However, regular care is essential to get the most out of a tile roof. Here’s an inside look at key dos and don’ts for clay tile roof maintenance that will keep your roof in good working order.

DO: Inspect annually

Make it a habit to inspect the roof each year before wet weather sets in. Using binoculars & standing back from your roof, look for any cracked, damaged, or missing tiles that need replacement. Also check for obstructed drainage paths, debris buildup, and vegetation encroaching on the roof. Take photos and make notes to document any areas that need attention. Early action prevents small problems from becoming major leaks or damage later.

DON’T: Pressure wash

Avoid using power washers or sprayers on clay tile roofs. The high-pressure water blast can undermine and loosen the mortar beneath the tiles. This allows leaks to develop and tiles to become dislodged over time. Use gentle sweeping and low-pressure rinsing instead to safely remove debris and buildup when needed.

DO: Plan for professional cleaning every 3-5 years 

Over time, mold, mildew, and dirt accumulate, even on clay tile roofs. Periodic professional cleaning restores the roof’s beauty and function. A soft pressure wash with biodegradable chemicals removes stubborn buildup without damaging tiles or underlying materials. Scheduled cleanings every 3-5 years keep roofs looking and performing at their best.

Freshly cleaned tile roof

DON’T: Ignore cracks 

Cracked, chipped, or broken clay tiles cannot properly shed water and need replacement right away. Signs of damage often start at roof edges, ridges, or other high-stress areas. Damage spreads progressively in wind and weather if not addressed via tile patching or replacement. Make necessary tile repairs at the first sign of cracking to prevent leaks.

DO: Clear vegetation promptly 

Tile Roof With overgrown vines

Trees or aggressive vines growing on or near a clay tile roof spell trouble. Falling leaves and debris can clog drainage paths. Branches can break tiles by rubbing on the roof. Vines can actually root into the mortar and lift tiles. Keep trees trimmed back and completely remove ivy or other invasive plants to protect roof integrity.

DON’T: Walk on the roof 

Unlike composite roofs, clay tile roofs are not designed to bear weight. The small, overlapping tiles are fragile and readily cracked underfoot. Never allow anyone to walk on a tile roof unless absolutely essential for repair work.

DO: Check for damaged underlayment or deck

Leaks often emerge inside before the problem tile damage is visible outside. Stains or drips on walls and ceilings during rain can signal issues with underlayment or the roof deck. These internal components deteriorate over time and must also be repaired to fully fix leaks. Don’t just replace damaged exterior tiles – examine underlayment too.

DON’T: DIY repairs

While minor tile roof maintenance like patch work may lead people to believe it is a do-it-yourself project, repairs or underlying issues are best left to tile roofing professionals. Trying to save money by tackling major damage risks costly mistakes that could worsen problems or void roof warranties. The expertise of established local roofers like Kelly Roofing ensures repairs are done right.

During/After photos of a tile roof repair

DO: Upgrade wind protection if needed 

In hurricane zones or areas prone to high winds, enhancing wind resistance preserves the roof. High winds can lift tile edges and cause progressive damage. Upgrades like roof straps, perimeter adhesive, or supplementary nail fastening boost resilience against wind uplift that can ravage clay tile roofs.

DON’T: Ignore warning signs 

Slow leaks, mold growth, bubbling underlayment, extensive cracking, and continual loss of tiles are all red flags. They indicate much larger issues underneath that require a roofing expert’s assessment. Make the call right away when any combination of these warning signs emerges. Waiting leads to irreparable damage necessitating full roof replacement.

With attentive care and prompt response to any problems, clay tile roofs can provide decades of gracious service. Avoid mistakes like pressure washing or vines against the roof, while smart tile roof maintenance steps like cleaning and crack repairs preserve its integrity. Connect with the experienced tile roofing team at Kelly Roofing for all your clay tile roof needs in Florida.