If kept in good shape, your clay roof could last nearly 100 years. That will make it the last roof you'll ever need to put on your house. Here are some of the ways that you can help get the most life from your clay roof.
1. Clean any dirt, debris and algae from the roof whenever you spot it.
If dirt, sticks or leaves accumulate on the roof, water can be blocked from flowing off of it. The longer the clay tiles stay damp, the higher the risk is that they will develop algae growths. These plants thrive in damp conditions. They send tiny roots down into the tile, cracking the tile. Cracked tiles can break apart and let water leak under the roof.
Sweep any debris off of your roof before algae has a chance to grow. If you spot a patch of algae, remove it as follows:
- Mix water and chlorine together in equal parts in a household pump sprayer.
- Soak the algae patch and the surrounding tiles with the solution and let it sit for several minutes.
- Scrub the algae off of the tiles with a soft bristled brush.
- Rinse the tiles off with fresh water from your garden hose.
A note on using a power sprayer:
Do not try using a pressure washer on the tile to remove the algae. You can crack the tiles and create another maintenance project. If you wish to use a pressure washer to remove debris from the roof, put it on its lowest setting and start at the top of the roof and work your way down. Do not point the sprayer up into the tiles or you may force them up off of the roof.
2. Repair any cracked tiles as soon as you spot them.
A cracked tile can let water under the roof and into the house. If you live where the weather can get down to freezing, water in a crack will expand and can break the cracked tile completely apart. Repair any cracked tiles as soon as you can as follows:
- Remove any dirt and clay chips from the crack. A can of compressed air can help blow out any debris.
- Using a tube of clear silicone sealer, force the sealer into all areas of the crack until full.
- Wipe off any excess sealer from the surface of the tile.
If done carefully, you won't notice the repair from the ground.
3. Replace any broken tiles ASAP.
A clay tile that has broken apart allows water to get under the adjacent tiles and cause a roof leak. Broken tiles cannot be repaired and must be replaced. If the tile is not easy to get to from a ladder, consider having a roofer, like one from Darnell Construction, replace the tile for you. The roofing contractor also knows how to do this without disrupting the tiles around the broken tile. Here is the procedure if you want to try this repair yourself.
- Break the tile up into pieces with a hammer. Be careful not to crack the tiles around the broken tile.
- Remove all of tile pieces from the roof.
- Remove the nails under the overlapping tile that secured the broken tile to the roof.
- Clean any clay fragments and dust from the area with a soft bristled brush.
- Place the new tile under the overlapping tile.
- Mark where that tile hits the surface of the new tile with a pencil.
- Remove the new tile and spread clear roof sealer on the surface up to your mark.
- Place a bead of sealer on the edges of the tile that will rest on the tile below it.
- Position the tile under the overlapping tile and align it with the other tiles in the row.
- Wipe off any exposed sealer.