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How To Tile A Flat Roof

If your home has a second story balcony that sits above a first floor interior space, then the floor of your balcony is really a flat roof, and you should treat it as such. You can cover a flat roof with tile, but you can't understate the need for proper and total waterproofing. Although both ceramic and natural stone tiles are durable and can handle standing water without issue, you must construct the underlying roof with a functional slope and completely cover it with a waterproof membrane so that any water that gets under the tile does not wind up in your house.

When covering a flat roof with tile


  • Make sure the roof has a slope. Much like the floor of a tile shower, the roof cannot be totally flat and requires a slope to move water away from the house. You need to create a slope that drops at least 1/8 of an inch per foot of run before you install the waterproof membrane.
  • Create a slope for small areas. You can build a slope with floor mortar, which you would float on top of some cement backer board. Attach the cement board to exterior grade plywood with stainless steel screws and install a layer of roofing felt between the two substrates for added protection.
  • Create a slope for larger areas. You need to frame the slope into the roof structure by nailing long tapered wedges of wood, which are cut from 2 x 4's, to the underlying joists. Then cover the tapered wedges with plywood roof sheathing.
  • Install metal flashing. Once you've created the slope, you need to install some metal flashing at the edges of the roof and along the seam where the roof surface meets the vertical walls of the house.
  • Apply the waterproof membrane. After the flashing installation is complete, apply the waterproof membrane. While many types of membranes are available, it is important to select one that is easy to work with and requires no special tools to install. One type of waterproof membrane suitable for flat roofs is ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), which is basically a rubber sheeting that you glue to the roof. It comes in 10 foot wide rolls. Make sure to carefully follow all of the installation instructions that come with the waterproof membrane. Remember, this is the crucial piece of protection that is going to keep rain water out of the inside of your house!
  • Tile the roof. After installing the waterproof membrane, you can proceed to tile the roof. To do this, cover the waterproof membrane with a layer of mortar and metal screen, or mortar and cement board, depending on which method of tile installation you choose.

Work carefully and follow all of the installation instructions that come with the tile and roofing products you have selected. Enlisting the help of a roofing contractor may be a smart decision as well, because your work is all that stands between you and the falling rain.

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Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in North America mainly because they are economical and versatile, work well on steep-sloped roofs, are sunlight and weather resistant, require little-to-no maintenance and are reasonably priced. In addition, asphalt shingles are also easy to cut, fasten, and fit, as well as being compatible with many different kinds of flashing and edging products.

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