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Installing a Tile Roof

The durability of tile roofing is well known, and tiles made from clay can last as long as the house on which they are installed. These types of tile are also fireproof and can add an extra layer of insulation and weather protection to your home. While the Tile Roofing Institute claims that over 90 percent of these roofs are installed by professional roofing contractors, a skilled homeowner with the right tools can complete the job.

Basic Installation Steps for a Clay Tile Roof


  1. Cover the exposed roof sheathing with 30 pounds of asphalt roofing felt, working from the eaves of the roof to the ridge. Make sure to overlap each course of asphalt felt by several inches and use approved fasteners to secure it to the plywood sheathing.
  2. Install metal flashing along the eaves and edges of the roof, as well as in the valleys and around ALL roof penetrations, such as chimneys, sky lights, and plumbing vents.
  3. Wood battens attached to the roof in rows are needed to raise the back portion of the roof tile, creating a downward slope that allows rainwater to shed down the roof pitch. These battens should be spaced, sized, and installed according to the roof tile manufacturer's specifications.
  4. A wooden ridge board is needed along the ridge of the roof in order to raise the ridge tiles above the field tiles, creating a drainage path for rainwater. Again check with the manufacturer of your specific roof tile for ridge board dimensions and installation requirements.
  5. The first course of roof tiles should be installed along the bottom edge of the eaves and may require special tiles called "bird stops," which are needed to close off the openings created by the half-round shape of each tile.
  6. After you have successfully installed the first course of tile in accordance with all the manufacturer's specifications, you can work your way up the slope of the roof and install the field tiles. When tiling around chimney's, valleys, and ridges, you must shape the roof tiles by cutting them with a saw that has a masonry cutting blade.

It is very important that a structural engineer has inspected your home prior to installation and has confirmed that your house is able to safely withstand the added weight of a new clay tile roof. If you are building a new house, it is equally important that the roof be installed prior to hanging the interior sheet rock, as the weight of a tile roof can cause the house to settle significantly.

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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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