Is Your Clay Tile Roof Rapidly Shedding Its Tiles? Here's What Could Be Causing The Problem

It's natural for windstorms to blow leaves off of trees, but it's certainly not natural for them to blow clay tiles off of your roof. If your roof is losing a significant amount of tiles, then you have a major problem on your hands — missing tiles will increase the likelihood of your roof leaking and causing water damage to your home. What could be causing your roof to lose so many clay tiles? Read on for a few common causes of lost clay tiles and what you need to do about it.

Improper Installation

If your clay tile roof was installed within the last few years and you're rapidly losing tiles, improper installation is the likely culprit. Compared to asphalt, there's little room for error when installing a clay tile roof — even using the wrong pressure setting on a nail gun can cause problems to quickly develop. If the nails aren't driven deep enough, they can simply pop out when wind lifts the tiles. If the nails are driven too deeply, on the other hand, the force of the nail can cause stress fractures in the tile and cause it to fail early. Modern clay tile roofs are installed using screws as fasteners rather than nails, but the same problems can occur — over-tightened screws can stress the tile and cause stress fractures.

The difficulty involved in installing a clay tile roof is the reason why it's important to always hire an experienced residential roofing contractor for installation. Not all roofing contractors have this experience, as many contractors primarily install asphalt roofs. This also applies when you call a residential roofing contractor to inspect and make repairs to your clay tile roof — they need to have significant experience working with clay tile.

Deteriorating Mortar

Older clay tile roofs have their cap tiles secured using mortar. The cap tiles are the larger tiles that run up and down the ridge lines of your roof. If your clay tile roof is very old, then all of the tiles may be secured with mortar.

The problem with mortar is that it degrades with age, and wind will eventually cause the clay tiles to work themselves loose from the mortar. Once this happens, there's a good chance that high winds will simply rip the loose tiles off of your roof. Modern clay tile roofs are installed using a polyurethane adhesive that is much more durable than mortar, so adhesive failure is much more rare in newer clay tile roofs.

Rusted Fasteners and Flashing

While the clay tiles themselves can last for decades, the fasteners and flashing on your roof may not. Most fasteners and flashing used in residential roofing are made from galvanized steel in order to protect them from rust. However, the outer galvanized layer can eventually erode due to rain or wind-blown debris, which will expose the inner carbon steel core — this causes your fasteners and flashing to quickly rust. When your fasteners rust, they become brittle and prone to failure — you'll experience numerous clay tiles simply falling off of your roof as the fasteners begin to break.

When a large number of clay tiles are falling off of your roof, it's time to call a residential roofing contractor for repairs. The tiles protect the waterproof membrane underneath from being damaged by sunlight and with no tiles to guard it, the membrane will quickly degrade and your roof will begin to leak. In order to protect your home from water damage, replace your clay tiles as soon as possible. Your residential roofing contractor will also examine your roof to find out what's causing your tiles to fall off, and will then suggest how to remedy the problem.


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