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Why Not to Rely on Tile Underlayment

Are you planning to have tile roofing installed or replaced on your property? If so, it’s vital to learn whether your contractor follows tile installation best practices or relies solely on underlayment to keep a roof watertight.

Does Your Roofer View Tile as Mere Decoration?

Tile roof installation methods in Florida have improved in recent years in response to hard lessons from Mother Nature, but some roofers haven’t changed. From the 1950s until today, you’ll hear opinionated roofing contractors say, “the tile is just there for decoration.” Stuck in their ways, these roofers rely on underlayment to keep their tile installations as cheap as possible, at the expense of long-term performance. This view leaves property managers and owners with the burden of premature roof replacements due to early and preventable failures.

How Tile Roofing in Naples is Supposed to Function

From their earliest use millennia ago, by design, tile roofs were able to keep water on top of the tile system so it didn’t infiltrate a building. If you went into the attic of a tile-roofed building in Europe today, you’d see the underside of the tile, as no underlayment is used. These roofs don’t leak because they were installed using:

  • Correct overlap of the tiles
  • Proper tile anchoring methods
  • The use of top flashings

Underlayment Use on “Cheap” Tile Roofs in Florida

On “cheap” Florida tile roof installations, the contractor relies on underlayment to stop water intrusions into the building. They ignore proper tile anchoring and overlaps and the correct use of top flashings. They blatantly allow water to run underneath the tiles at protrusions, valleys, walls, crickets and valley base areas and expect the underlayment to hold up long-term.

Admittedly, underlayments have improved in recent years. Today’s modified asphalt self-adhered underlayments do a better job than the products in use in the 1950s. However, they are still not designed to withstand prolonged/repeated water saturation and sun exposure. By definition, an underlayment is designed only to protect against water intrusions:

  • During a tile roof installation
  • In an emergency, as a secondary barrier if a tile cracks

Warranties Reveal the Truth About Underlayment Reliability

Roof tiles have 50-year up to lifetime warranties, while underlayment warranties range from 1-30 years. Relying on the underlayment to ensure a tile roof’s performance is stating it won’t last long as designed.
For knowledgeable, certified tile roofing installation in Naples, contact us at Kelly Roofing.

Read: What You Need to Know About Emergency Roof Repair