Tile roofing is a timeless tradition for Florida homes. A well-built tile roof is likely to last longer than the structure on which it rests. Over time, however, the elements of nature, as well as humans, can damage roof tiles. When you require tile roof repair, you need to top experts who repair and restore your tile roof. Kelly Roofing is here to help. We have been in the roofing business since 1972. We know and follow the strictest Florida regulations so you don’t have to worry about your roof.
Connect with us today if you’re in need of tile roof repair.
Here are some of the most common tile roof repair issues we have seen.
Common Tile Roof Repairs
Slipping: Delaminating / Sliding
Tile roofs with a #30lb felt paper base and a #90lb hot asphalt installed underlayment system is installed and the tiles adhered using mortar add extra weight to the system. During our hot months, the roof temperature rises above 160 degrees and softens up the asphalt adhesive. With extra tile weight and without enough fasteners to hold the tiles to the deck, the roof system could slide, especially on high-pitched roofs. There is no way to repair this issue – it is a sign that replacement is near.
Improper Number of Fasteners
Tiles are designed to be installed using special stainless steel screws, as per code. Each tile has two predrilled screw holes. If a wide screw or nail is used it will crack the tile. This leaves the roof susceptible to roof blow-off in the event of strong winds. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, our code system was completely redesigned. When the new code system was introduced in 1994, the requirement was changed to one screw per tile, except for the first row, which requires two screws or a fully certified adhesive. However, most of the good roofing contractors install one screw AND tile adhesive per tile in order to achieve enhanced wind performance.
“High nails” were found from the roof system’s underlayment. During roof installation, it’s easy for installers to forget about proper pressure setting on their nail guns. In most cases too many nailers are hooked up to a low volume compressor and the air supply is not sufficient to drive each fastener fully. At the time of installation only the severe “high nails” are noticeable. “High nails” begin to protrude and lift tiles causing an increased wind uplift point and breaking tiles. Rusting and seepage can then occur.
When installing a roof system it is important to always start at the lowest point and proceed upward toward the roof’s peak. This ensures each layer of materials overlaps the previous. Even on flat roofs, this principle is important. As water travels, whether on a pitched or flat roof, if two seams are lapped in backward a backwater lap occurs. This can “cup” water and force in under the layers, causing leaks.
Valley Metal Buckling
Valley metal is installed by crimping the valley center, fastening the entire length of both edges, and then applying mastic to cover the valley metal edge and fasteners. When valley metal is not properly pressed, fastened and/or sealed it causes buckling and waving. Since a valley is designed to channel water between two pitch areas a valley receives more water flow than any other part of the roof. Valley metal buckling disrupts the immediate flow of water and creates water vortices, a circular flow of water that leads to roof seepage.
Vent Not Lapped/Sealed Correctly
Proper water flow and installation should always be considered with all rooftop objects. Flashing that is not layered correctly and sealant applied in the right junction areas allow water seepage. The vent flange was not installed correctly with the proper overlap procedure. Sealant has done a good job covering up the installation error on this Naples roof but is now showing signs of deterioration. Adding sealant may prevent seepage temporarily but is not a roof cycle solution. The vent should be replaced and installed correctly.
No Ell Flashing Installed
Whenever a roof surface meets a vertical surface ell flashing is needed to bridge the transition and protect from seepage. No ell flashing was installed at this detail. Although sealant may have helped avoid leaks, over time sealant breaks down. The correct technique is to install ell flashing here.
Fasteners In The Valley
Since a valley is designed to channel water between two pitch areas, it receives more water flow than any other part of the roof. A standard installation guideline on all roof systems is to never install fasteners in the valley’s center. Exposed valley fasteners disrupt the immediate flow of water. Because valleys are transition areas and absorb building movement, fasteners installed in the valley center uplift and allow water seepage. The only way to properly repair this issue is by replacing the valley flashing.
Off Ridge Vents not Angled
Vents are installed on the roof to allow for attic airflow. These vents should not be longer than four feet in length and should be installed at an angle. As water flows down the roof it often is blocked behind the vent creating a small area of water ponding. Ponding water is water sitting on any asphalt roofing material longer than 48 hours without run-off or evaporation. As the water sits it magnifies the sun’s rays and works on breaking down the sealant and underlayment used to seal the vent to the roof. The correct way to fix this issue is to install a new vent.
Fair/Unfair Metals Touching
When two different types of metals, fair and unfair as they are called, come in contact a chemical reaction occurs. Electrolysis uses moisture as catalysis at a molecular level to pass ions from one metal to the other. The process causes a deterioration of both metals similar to the effects of rust. Using two different types of metal causes electrolysis and the rapid breakdown of metal.
Tile Mortar Cap Loose
A tile roof’s cap tiles are installed and held in place by a few different techniques. After general installation mortar cement is used to “point-up” the tile sides and enclose the gaps. This cement is either dyed using oxide during installation or painted using a concrete stain. Over time movement causes the mortar to break loose from the cap tiles. Since mortar does not self-heal it continues to separate. If the mortar is the only attachment method the cap tiles are held by gravity alone once the bond is fully broken. Here cap tiles separated from the mortar and are loose. In a storm, these would easily blow off and could cause damage to the roof, building and/or surrounding buildings.
Tile Cap in Valley
Cap tiles are occasionally installed down the valley area to help improve the aesthetic look of tile roofs. Tile manufacturers have released technical bulletins warning of issues arising from this practice. When cap tiles are installed in the valley area, moisture is trapped and not allowed to flow properly. This causes underlayment deterioration and flashing rust. Although not worth the time and money to proactively remove, when repairs are made to the valley, the cap tile should not be replaced.
Not All Tiles Are Fastened
For a period of time, the tile industry allowed a reduced fastening pattern in an effort to compete against asphalt shingles, which offered an impressive look and has a longer useful life. During this time many roofs were installed with very few fasteners. One manufacturer’s specifications required one nail every fifth (5th) row at each third (3rd) tile. Of course with the failures tile roofs endured after Florida’s hurricane activity, specifications have changed. However, some roofers still use the old method citing the tile’s weight as sufficient down-force. Today’s code requires screws, not nails. Specially bonded mortar and tile adhesive polyurethane are also approved fastening methods.
No Top Flashing on a Tile Roof
Top flashings are used to redirect water flow to ensure tiles keep water on top of the roof system. This is considered the traditional tile roofing installation technique, responsible for roofs lasting hundreds of years all around the globe. The principle is by not allowing water under the system the underlayment does not erode and therefore remains for temporary and emergency purposes only, and not relied upon as the actual roof system. This is the difference between 15-20 year tile roofs and 40-50 year tile roofs. Kelly Roofing strongly recommends Top Flashing on all tile roofs.
Tiles Sliding Off Roof
Tile roofs with a #30lb.felt paper base and a #90lb. hot asphalt installed underlayment system is installed and the tiles adhered using mortar add extra weight to the system. During our hot months the roof temperature rises above 160 degrees softening up the asphalt adhesive. With the extra tile weight without fasteners to hold the tiles to the deck cause the roof system to slide, especially on high-pitched roofs. This system is sliding as evident by looking at the perimeter edge. There is no way to repair this issue. However, it is a sign that replacement is near.
As a roof expands and contracts, the roof system moves. This is a daily occurrence and is associated with Thermal Shock. During this movement, the tiles bind against each other. Sometimes a tree branch or flying debris may impact the roof causing damage. Third-party damage is another issue. As people walk across the roof they can cause damage. When tiles are damaged they leave the underlayment showing. It is our recommendation these areas are repaired.
Improper Fastener Installation
It is important for all fasteners to be installed perpendicular to the roof’s surface and driven in at a perfect 90-degree angle. As seen on this Fort Myers Beach roof, there are areas where the fasteners were not driven straight in and the fastener heads are lifted slightly. Over time this will damage the roof system and allow seepage.
Blown Off Cap
The most susceptible area on a roof to wind damage is the cap. Cap tiles are used to cover the hip and ridge areas of two adjoining decks. Most installers simply use a mortar cement to hold down the cap tiles to save money. Over time movement causes the mortar to break loose from the cap tiles. Since mortar does not self-heal it continues to separate. If the mortar is the only attachment method, cap tiles are held by gravity alone once the bond is fully broken. This Sanibel Island roof is missing cap tile. When it is time to replace the roof ask your contractor to use a special ridge anchor flashing to hold the cap tile in place with fasteners and mortar. This will help prevent the cap tiles from blowing off.
Flashing is Rusting
Steel metal flashings exposed to the elements can rust over time. Today’s flashings are made of galvanized metal, a process which protects the steel core from rusting. Rust cannot be simply sealed over; it will continue to grow, as seen on this Captiva Island roof. The rust needs to be cut out and a new flashing installed and sealed properly. Since the rust is open to the surface and flashings are vital to the integrity of your roof system, we suggest repairing the rusted flashing areas before seepage causes structural damage.
Gable End Flashing Not Correct
Gable ends are where a valley terminates into a roof’s surface, rather than running the entire length to the roof’s edge. They are quite common and add to the roof’s design. However, if not correctly detailed with flashings and sealants, the gable end is an area of concern. With the valley channeling large amounts of water to the gable end area there is an increased chance of seepage. In fact, it is Kelly Roofing’s #1 repair area on all roof systems. Adding more sealant may stop the seepage for a year or so, but the only correct way to fix this area is by removing the flashings and installing them correctly. This will minimize the dependence on sealants, which deteriorate over time.
Plastic Boots Used
As you know, plastic dries out rather quickly in our environment. The sun’s UV rays cause oil migration much the same as it does to exposed asphalt. On this Fort Myers roof, a plastic stack flashing was used to seal the pipe. A gap between the pipe and surrounding flashing is visible and allowing seepage. This boot should be removed and replaced with a new lead boot.
Ell Flashing Uplifting
Ell flashing should be nailed every six inches on center. Not enough fasteners were used and the sealant has deteriorated. We suggest sealing the underside of the ell flashing and installing the correct number of fasteners as specified by code. Another layer of membrane should be installed to cover the ell-flashing flange and provide a more aesthetically pleasing transition area.
Flashing Seams Separating
Flashing seams must be overlapped correctly and an adequate amount of sealant placed in between the overlap area to ensure proper waterproofing at the ell flashing transition area. Here, Ell flashing seams were separating and in need of additional sealant. The correct way to repair this area is to replace the flashing with new. That is the only way to ensure the flashing detail area will not leak.
Pitch Transition not Flashed
Whenever two different roof pitches transition a specially designed flashing is needed to bridge the slope change. This roof does not have the correct flashing and is relying on sealant to disallow seepage. Over time the sealant will deteriorate and allow leaks. The pitch transition on your roof does not have any flashing in it. Eventually, the roofing materials and mastic used to seal this area will cause interior damages.
Pan Roof Tie-In not Correct
Aluminum structures are inexpensive and easy to install. They often add value to a building by providing additional usable space. The roofing system is typically a pan or super-pan type made of aluminum and coated white. Insulation is sometimes used to help insulate and dampen rain patter. Pan roofs are large and lightweight. They are often fastened directly to the fascia board of a germinate structure and sealed with a simple bead of silicone caulk. During even light winds the entire structure moves causing the caulk bead to break and open and area for water to penetrate causing seepage at the tie-in and along the ribs. Since the caulking will not reseal it is our suggestion that a transition membrane is used to cover the tie-in area as would be installed on a normal flat roof tie-in. This will prevent water seepage and stop the fascia board from rotting.
Tile Roof Cemented
Tile used to be installed using a single patty of mortar cement placed on the roof and the tile embedded therein. Although installation techniques required each tile to be submerged in water prior to installation, this was rarely ever followed. Each tile was set in place and left to dry. Over time and movement, the tile breaks loose from the mortar and does not re-adhere. The temporary solution is to lift each tile and spray roof tile adhesive under it to create a new bond. However, this is labor-intensive. If not repaired, the roof tiles may easily dislodge and become airborne during a high wind event.
Rake Tiles Held With Fasteners
The aesthetic look of tile roofs is occasionally changed by installing rake tiles at rake edges. Tile manufacturers have released technical bulletins warning of the potential danger arising from this practice. Rake tiles are installed with one or two nails and a small amount of mortar only. More than half of the eight-pound tile is hanging over the roof’s edge providing a fall danger. Kelly Roofing does not recommend the installation of these tiles. Although it is not cost-prohibitive to proactively remove the tiles, as repairs are made to the roof’s edge, the tiles should not be reinstalled.
Battens Causing Water Backup
When tile roof systems are installed on steep roof structures, 1″x2″ wood baton strips are utilized to help hold the tiles in place during installation and provide a walkable surface. Some roofers use batons on all roofs because it keeps the tiles off of inferior underlayments. On roof pitches under 6:12, there isn’t enough slope to prevent the water from getting behind the batons and find the thousands of underlayment nail holes used to hold down the batons. It is also acceptable to nail down batons and then screw the tiles into the batons. This does not provide the intended wind uplift.
No Eve Riser Installed
Eve riser is used to prevent rodents and birds from nesting in the tile cells, to uplift the perimeter row of tile so it is the same level as the other rows and helps install by giving a guideline.
Chipped Tile Corners
When installing tiles using nails and especially screws, an overturning of the fastener can put increased pressure on the tile’s corners. Daily expansion and contraction cause the corner edges to chip off. There is no system issue with this occurrence except to know that more chips will likely happen. The clips can be repaired if found.
Offset Not Correct
Tiles are not a waterproofing material. When installed correctly, they do “shed” water. However, if installed on a flat roof, they would allow massive seepage. The way tiles work is by their overlapping design. As the previous layer is covered by the next it creates a stair-step watershed design, disallowing seepage. This stair-step design also has a vertical component to it. If each row is not offset correctly, water may enter the system. This Immokalee roof does not have the proper offset and was installed “line on line”, allowing water to travel under the system.
Improper Fastener Type
When two different types of metals come in contact a chemical reaction occurs. Electrolysis uses moisture as catalysis at a molecular level to pass ions from one metal to the other. The process causes a deterioration of both metals similar to the effects of rust. Using the wrong type of fasteners causes a real concern due to the importance of the fastener itself. Electrolysis causes the fastener puncture to deteriorate and widen, allowing a water path and seepage. Incompatible fastener types were used and electrolysis is occurring.
Flat Tie-In not Sealed Properly
The junction between your pitch roof and the flat roof is called the “tie-in”. This area is specifically important because there are two different roofing materials joining. Here is evidence from a Bonita Springs roof that the tie-in area is not sealed properly. It is also very important for the two roof systems to have the correct flashing detail and extra sealant protection.
No Sealant at Flashings
Although flashings bridge transitions in the roof, they are ineffective when not sealed properly. Flashing is designed to turn corners and breaks in a roof, which tend to have more movement than other areas. If not sealed properly, these flashings do little to stop water from entering the roof system. Here are voids in the roof flashings where sealants were not applied correctly. This is allowing water to enter the flashing detail area. This can be repaired with minimal expense.
Boot Lapped/Sealed Correctly
As with all rooftop objects, it is important for proper water flow and installation to be considered. When flashing isn’t layered correctly and sealant applied in the right junction areas, seepage is allowed. The boot flange on this Marcos Island roof was not installed correctly with the proper overlap procedure. Sealant has done a good job covering up the installation error, but is now showing signs of deterioration. Adding sealant may prevent seepage temporarily but is not a roof cycle solution. The boot should be replaced and installed correctly.
Ell Flashing Not Sealed Properly
Ell flashing bridges the transition from the roof’s surface and a wall or upright surface such as a curb. Ell flashing has not been sealed properly and the shingles are peeling back from the flashing allowing seepage. This can be corrected by removing the area and installing mastic sealant correctly. A new membrane may need to be installed in this area. Also, if the ell flashing cannot be cleaned or has too many old fastener holes in it, the entire flashing detail area may need to be replaced.
Ell Flashing Behind Wall Surface
Ell flashing is designed to bridge the roof to wall transition and allow for protection against water intrusion. Water which runs down the roof and wall is caught by the ell flashing and channeled to the roof’s edge. It is important for the ell flashing’s end to be flared so it sticks out past the siding/stucco. If it is not, this provides a direct path for water to flow behind the wall surface and into the building. Often this type of leak takes time to show and may only be noticeable in heavy rains and the wall needs to soak enough to be evident. The only correct way to repair this issue is to add a layer of membrane over the existing flashing to direct water flow out and away from the wall. Some roofers may suggest cutting out the old flashings and installing new ones. We do not suggest this, as it is impossible to replace the wall surfacing material and regain integrity.
No Wall Cap/Coupling
Separation firewalls are designed to extend past the roof level and protect against spreading flames in the unlikely event of a fire. Many times these walls are simply stuccoed and painted. Over time the paint deteriorates, often at rates faster than walls due to the direct sunlight they receive, and allow moisture to seep into the wall’s core. Under a maintenance program, these wall caps can be coated using an elastomeric paint sealant. Other times it is best to use some type of wall cap to permanently protect the wall top area. When moisture enters the wall it causes moisture bleed out and swelling. The additional moisture content is trapped and cannot evaporate causing further damages to fasteners, flashings, and framing. The swelling can rust out concrete rebar and steel straps, both structural components of the wall. The correct way to fix this is to treat the wall top as a roof and install a roof system on it. This can be achieved by installing a metal coupling or a flat roof membrane with flashing on all four sides of the wall’s top. The flat roof membrane is a better detail as it provides one continuous piece and protection without adding maintenance.
Counter Flashing Loose
Counter flashing is metal flashing installed into the wall to protect the roof membrane from coming loose from the wall as it transitions from the roof area. Counter flashing can also be used in conjunction with ell flashing in the same detail area. This counter flashing, which has a concealed return flashing cut and installed into the wall, has come loose from the wall and is allowing water to enter. Counter flashing is an older flashing technique and requires constant maintenance by re-fastening and re-sealing the top wall cut to disallow seepage. This area should be repaired before interior damage occurs.
Drip Edge with Flat Shelf
Often associated with gutter installation and plumb fascia boards, perimeter drip edge flashings can create a shelf or ledge about three inches from the roof’s edge. This shelf creates a flat roof area at the roof’s perimeter. Since this Bonita Springs roof system is not a flat roof, the perimeter flashings are not designed to allow for sitting water. During light rains and morning dew, water seeps under the roof system and deteriorates the perimeter decking sub-fascia board and fascia board. This can be resealed as a temporary fix but should be replaced for a more permanent measure.
Duro-Loc is a local contractor who designed a tile roof coating as a “quick-fix” to existing tile roof systems to provide an aesthetically pleasing roof color. By filling all gaps between tiles and then coating the roof with paint the Duro-Loc company claims this is a new roof. However, there is no code approval for this technique and it has caused serious damage to roofs. By filling the entire tile gaps and then sealing the roof there is no way the tiles can expand and contract with normal daily thermal shock. The monolithic layer transfers movement onto the roof’s underlayment and in the structure itself. We have seen these treated roofs rapidly deteriorate and allow seepage throughout the entire roof in as little as a few months. The only way to elevate this issue is to replace the roof. We do not recommend recoating the system, as recommended by Duro-Loc, as it will only exacerbate the problems. (Kelly Roofing has gathered customer testimonials who have asked us to pass this information on to others as a “buyer-be-aware”.)
No Ridge Anchor Installed
After the major hurricanes a few years ago everyone learned the vulnerability of tile roofs at the high and ridge areas. Developed by a local manufacturer, Dan’s Customer Sheet Metal, a new-patented metal anchor ridge cap flashing was designed to increase the wind uplift of cap tiles. Tile ridge anchors are now required in all tile installations.
Double #30lb Underlayment
For a period of time, the tile industry allowed a reduced underlayment requirement in an effort to compete against asphalt shingles, which offered an impressive look and increased useful life. During this time many roofs were installed with simple felt paper without any type of sealant or secondary water barrier. We have seen an increased number of leaks with this type of underlayment.
Concrete Eve Riser
Eve riser is used to prevent rodents and birds from nesting in the tile cells. However, it is vitally important that weep holes allow water, which flows under the tile, to escape. Mortar used to be installed to perform this function. During installation, the technician would simply use a wooden dowel or furrow to create the weep hole. Too often this hole is made higher than the roofline or not at all. This prevents water from escaping correctly and causes perimeter underlayment deterioration. Often this is the first area on a tile roof to cause seepage. Today’s roofs use a specially designed metal flashing with pre-punched holes. This roof’s mortar eve riser is showing signs of underlayment damage and could be allowing seepage.