Ask These Questions When Deciding to Replace Your Tile Roof

Smart homeowners plan ahead, but sometimes we all need a little help in knowing which questions to ask, and what to be looking for. Here are the questions you should be asking yourself if you are trying to decide whether to replace your tile roof.

How old is it?

Tile roofs in Florida last less than 25 years if the proper flashings aren’t installed. If your tile roof is less than 20 years old, flashings can be added and will prolong the roof’s life. 

How was it installed?

Over 90% of all tile roofs in Florida were installed without the proper flashings. The best way to tell if your roof was installed with or without flashings is to look at the detail areas like walls, valley, boots, vents and valley returns. If you see cement only or a gap, there are no flashings installed. Your roof will likely start having issues at year 5-7, get costly at age 15-20 and likely be replaced before year 25. If you see flashings in some of the areas, but not all, it’s a good sign that flashing only need be installed at the missing areas. This will prolong the roof’s life.

Tile roofs installed with base flashings only, where gaps exist or cement was used to fill them, can expect to be replaced between years 15 and 25.

Roofs with top flashings only will likely last 40-50 years. There make up only about 10% of all tile roofs in Florida and are found primarily in the northern part of the state or on very high-end commercial properties build in the last year or two.

Tile roofs with double flashing will last 50+ years: These are very rare and are the best of all worlds. They combine the base flashings and sealed underlayments to protect the roof in the event of a storm and have the proper flashings to keep water on top of the tiles. Kelly Roofing is one of the only roofing contractors to install these systems in Florida.

Are you selling the home soon?

  • 1-3 years: If you are selling, consider following this guide
  • 3-7 years: This is the gray area for investment. If you are unsure how long you plan on staying in your home, it’s best to put the roof into a condition where it will be trouble-free and marketable.
  • More than 7 years: It is definitely worth the investment to add the proper flashings to prevent roof failure.

How much are you spending in maintenance?

We recommend using the 33% rule. If the price to put the roof into good, proper condition costs more than 33% of a new roof, go with the new roof. We also like to look at the cost of ownership as a yearly expense.    If by repairing the roof your roof will last another 20 years, divide the cost of repairs and bi-annual cleaning by 20. Then price a new roof and divide that by 25 or 50, depending on who installs the roof and how it is installed.
Installing a new roof without flashings will result in replacement at year 25. Installing a new roof with proper flashings and workmanship will result in replacement around year 50. Compare the yearly amounts to determine which route is best for you.

Have you experienced a close hurricane?

Hurricanes and major windstorms, such as tornados, cause roof “chatter,” which is the processes of lifting up the roofing materials, disturbing the sealant, cracking the underlayment and then placing the roofing materials back in place. This makes it look like nothing happened and all is normal. In reality, your roof’s life was just shortened severely.

It’s best to have the roof inspected after a storm to ensure this did not happen. With the statute of limitations set at 3 years in Florida, documenting the event preserves your right to file a claim should repairs or replacement be needed. If your roof has experienced a wind event and has gone undocumented, it’s possible that the leaks you are experiencing are the result of that storm and widespread.

Unfortunately, we have had a rash of leaks in the last few years as a result of Hurricanes Charley and Wilma from 2004 and 2005 respectively. Unsuspecting homeowners, who looked up and thought everything was okay, are now dealing with constant leaks without any help to pay for them. Click here for a good explanation on how roof leaks occur. 

For more information on what we can do to prolong your roof’s life click here.