Tile roofing

Tile roofing

To get the best out of your tile roofing, regular maintenance checks should be carried out. On too many occasions issues that could have been solved early for small amounts of money are left and this leads to problems worth hundreds, even thousands of pounds. A well-maintained tile roof can last a lifetime, but a roof that is neglected and left to its own devices may cause you problems. Now, you do not need to maintain your roof daily, but it is usually a good idea to inspect the state of your roof at least once a year.

You need to check the following points on tile roofing:

The condition of the mortar holding the ridge or hip cappings

In most tile roofing the cappings are bedded and pointed in cement mortar. There are some systems that are mechanically fixed and have plastic weatherings but these are rare. Over time the mortar weakens because of continuous freeze, thaw and the mortar can crumble. This mortar bed stops the cappings from coming loose and blowing of in high winds. In any case, if you have issues with your cappings on your tile roofing, ask for roofing advice.

The condition of the guttering and downpipes

tile roofing

tile roofing blocked gutters

The gutters are essential for safe removal of water from the tile roofing, while providing protection to the walls and windows. Guttering can easily become blocked from leaves and other debris, and this can cause water to overflow the gutters, which can cause structural damage. Regular cleaning (once a year) will avoid this.

Chimney Stacks on tile roofing

Once an essential part of every home to remove smoke from open fires, chimneys are now redundant or used for gas fires or just seen as decorative features. In any case, they have metal flashing details (often in lead or zinc) incorporated in the tile roofing that stops water from entering the building. Traditionally, this comprises of a back gutter, step flashings, tile soakers and cover flashings that are wedged and pointed into the brickwork. Chimney stacks will usually have a section of over sailing brickwork at the head to deflect water away from the brickwork and on to the tile roofing.

Chimney stack flashings comprise of. soakers,step flashing,back gutter, and front apron

Chimney stack flashings comprise of. soakers,step flashing,back gutter, and front apron.


Tile roofing &  chimneys -The most common faults arise because of damage to the metal flashings. Over time, they will crack or pull out of the chase where they used to be secured. Many people will use DIY roof sealing compounds to seal over cracks, but this type of fix will not provide a long-term solution. If funds allow, use a good contractor to renew all the flashing using code 4 lead. In any case, you need to avoid thinner lead for a number of reasons.

Scaffolding will be required to carry out this type of work on tile roofing properly due to the entry height of the chimney. You should instantly avoid any contractor who says the work can be done from a ladder. It does not comply with the health & safety law and you could be part liable if there’s an accident on your property. Before booking somebody call a roofer to ask them for roofing advice. At the same time, ask them how they intend to safely reach the issue.

Soffits, Fascia and bargeboards for tile roofing

Traditionally, on almost all tile roofing these component were constructed using softwood timber and then decorated with paint or varnish to provide protection to the wood. Subsequent redecoration of fascia boards is usually done without the removal of the gutters. This leaves the top edge of the timber venerable to rotting. If you are having any decorating done make sure the gutters are removed so the paint protection can cover the full width of the board. If the surface is timber, then it needs regular maintenance. UPVC replacements on tile roofing are now very popular.

upvc fascia boards

upvc fascia boards

Manufactures make UPVC that is designed to fit over your existing timber. When they are properly fitted, they provide a maintenance-free solution. However, this is not really a DIY conversion. You should make sure you use a reputable contractor to carry out this work because the UPVC needs to be properly secured.

A few good tips 

  • Check for damp patches in the loft – this will give a good indication as to whether there are any leaks that need to be repaired
  • Keep your loft ventilated - if your loft circulates a good amount of air, then the timbers and building material will be able to breathe. This in turn will stop condensation building up

Roof – Repair or Replace tile roofing ?

There will come a time with any property when the tile roofing has to be repaired or replaced. Looking after and maintaining your roof correctly will help prolong its life, but sooner or later a building or tile roofing contractor will need to be called to solve your issues. Whilst this process can be seen as inevitable, there is a huge difference in price between repairing a roof and replacing it. Fortunately most damaged roofs can be fixed with some simple repair work, but there will be times when a roof needs to be replaced.

How can you tell that tile roofing needs to be either repaired or replaced?

This is a question that is commonly asked, but unfortunately, there is no simple answer as every roof is different. However, there are a few signs that could give an indication as to whether a roof needs replacing or has to have repair work carried out. This article will go on to look at what these signs are and the levels of work that are commonly associated with them.

A serious case of plain clay machine made tiles delaminating.

A serious case of plain clay machine made tiles delaminating.

General wear and tear

More specifically, tile roofing will eventually wear out because of the constant freeze and thaw action of our weather, which eventually breaks down the material. Tiles become brittle and thin. Some machine-made clay tiles may delaminate on the underside. Slates similarly just wear down after time. There is no definitive age of any roofing material because there are numerous factors involved in determining how long any type of material will last. If you live in a street with similar houses take a quick look if everyone else has a new tile roofing, it’s likely yours will need replacing shortly.

Are you constantly having your tile roofing repaired?

If you have some money set aside, and your tile roofing is in a constant state of repair it may be a good idea to get it replaced. A roof is an investment, especially when you come to sell. Tire roofing defects are easy pickings for surveyors looking for faults, and new buyers will always use the roof as a way to get the price knocked down.

Below are some telling signs that your roof will need repair work. Some of these problems will be easier to fix than others, but ultimately, none of these issues should be put off as this could potentially make matters worse. In order to have these problems corrected, it is a good idea to enlist the help of a registered building contractor. By doing this a lot of time and money can be saved in the long run as the life of your roof will be prolonged significantly. In any case, DIY should not be taken on because working on roofs can be dangerous.

This roof is being covered in re-claimed hand made clay tiles these tile could be 100 years old but still good enough to use

This roof is being covered in re-claimed hand made clay tiles these tile could be 100 years old but still good enough to use

  • The problems 
  • Does your roof have consistent leaks?
  • Do the gutters constantly fill with bits of mortar or tiles?
  • Do tiles or slates regularly come loose and fall down?
  • Are there any areas of the roof that are sagging?

If you have answered yes to at least one of these questions, it is likely that your tile roofing will need some form of repair.It may be something simple or a sizeable task. If your tile roofing has been subject to problems, this is usually a sign that it needs replacing. Constantly repairing a roof is only a temporary solution, and can turn out to be a false economy. So if you have tile roofing thats is in need of some expert attention, find a reliable roofing contractor to get some roofing advice on the condition of your tile roofing.

Roofing Underlay for tile roofing

Properly installed tile roofing will have some form of underlay. Underlay serves a number of functions, but its main role is to add a futher waterproof layer and protect the thermal insulation layer that is fitted to the structure of the roof. Essentially, underlay acts as a secondary shield between the exterior roof and the insulation layer, but it also carries a protective role during construction. Naturally, exterior tile roofing work will be carried out as quickly as possible, but during this process, the underlay will act as a temporary protective solution.

Bitumen based felt underlay- Overtime with continuous heating and cooling it can degrade like this

Bitumen based felt underlay- Overtime with continuous heating and cooling it can degrade like this

Air pemiable underlays form a defensive barrier against condensation. This condensation can have a negative impact if it comes into contact with the insulation layer, which is why the type of roof that you have will need to be considered before this can be installed. Where insulation and ventilation is concerned, most tile roofing systems will fall into one of two categories; non-ventilated and ventilated.

modern breathable roof underlay

modern breathable roof underlay

Ventilated roofs have a small gap allowed on the the top of the fascia board. This allows a continious air flow that removes any condensation.  Plastic mesh type Ventilators are fitted at the eves and ridge to allow the passage of air to flow through and will obstuct any insects.

Non-ventilated roofs only need ventilation above the membrane. This is achieved by using an air permeable underlay that will allow the passage of  air but not water. Regardless of the type of tile roofing that you have, underlay always plays a vital role.

Due to the differences between the two it is essential to choose the right product. There are a number of options to choose from, but you will want to purchase something that is good quality as it cant be replaced at a later date without removing the tiles or slates.

Finding a quality Contractor for tile roofing

Most of us will either get out the yellow pages or go online when we need a roofer and both are good places to start. However, the first does not give a lot of information about the person, and the second can be altered to suit. The majority of roofers are legitimate tradesmen that will be able to provide you with quality work, but regrettably this is an area that attracts those who are not as qualified. In any instance, never take building advice or accept work from somebody that knocks on your door, and if they persist, call the police. They won’t think twice about overcharging you for shoddy workmanship. This article will look at some decisive factors that should be considered before hiring a roofer.

Roofers carry out a number of tasks. Asides from the initial installation of tile roofing they are also responsible for maintenance checks, surveys and repairs. A well fitted roof will keep your home warm and energy efficient, and it will also protect you and your property from the elements. Enlisting the services of a quality roofer is essential if you want to be able to benefit from all these advantages.

  • The right qualifications. A City and Guild certificate in roofing will be needed (CITB)
  • A lot of experience. Roofing is a skilled trade, experience will be necessary
  • A portfolio. This will allow you to gain an insight into the level of craftsmanship that you can expect for your money
  • Plenty of references. Again these provide you with an insight into any previous work that they have carried out
  • The correct insurance. Accidents do happen
  • A business HQ or permanent residence. This is usually a good indication that they are a legitimate company
  • Are they a member of a reputable trade body.

If you are thinking about hiring a roofer or a building contractor it is essential that they meet these requirements. If they do not then there services should be avoided, and ideally an alternative should be sought.

Roofing Materials: The Pros and Cons

The majority of homeowners will want to have tile roofing that is cost efficient, attractive to look at and requires little maintenance. These goals can be met, but as everyone has their own opinion and requirements, different materials will ultimately suit different people, and this is why there is a wide range. These materials and their pros and cons will be looked at in further detail, but with regards to the choices that can be made; there are a number of options:

  • Clay
  • Slate
  • Timber or composition shingles
  • Concrete
  • Artificial slate
Artificial slate

Artificial slate

Natural slate

Natural slate

Timber cedar shingles

Timber cedar shingles

Clay Hand made tiles

Clay Hand made tiles

Plain concrete roof tiles

Plain concrete roof tiles

The most common type of tile roofing material used in the UK is the plain tile. Plain clay tiles add a lot of character to a property and once installed they are generally quite hard wearing. They also come in a variety of colours and require little maintenance. However, there are some drawbacks. Clay tiles weigh a lot, which can strain the structure of a property, and in some cases additional support may be needed. As this is the case, it is a good idea to get a second opinion from an experienced building contractor or at least ask for roofing advice, before making a decision. Another drawback with clay tiles is that they can be quite expensive, but assuming that they are installed correctly they are a good investment and make a fine tile roofing material.

One option that is rapidly increasing in popularity is the use of composition shingles. These are not only cheap and effective, but they also come in a range of styles and are perhaps the easiest to install. In theory, composition shingles are practical, but unfortunately, they lack character.

One material that does not lack character is slate. Slate is an expensive option that is arguably one of the most attractive. If laid correctly it can have a very long lifespan, and it requires little maintenance.

A roofing material that is not often seen in the UK is wood. Popular in the USA, wooden shakes or shingles offer a lot of character, and because of the variations in colour and thickness, no two wood roofs will ever look the same. This type of roof really appeals to those people who want to stand out from the crowd, but they are not as durable as other traditional materials.

The last option that needs to be looked at with regards to tile roofing is concrete tiles. Popular since the 1940′s as a cheaper alternative to clay tiles, concrete is generally slightly lighter than clay, plus there is a wide choice of colours and styles as well.

In the end, the material that you choose for your roof is your decision, but it is a decision that you will have to stick with for a long time. Roofing is highly visible and nothing looks worse than a poor roofing job. It is worth noting that this can have a detrimental effect on the value of your property as well, and in order to stop this from happening it is always a good idea to enlist the services of a professional roofer. They can offer you roofing advice on the best type of material for your property, while also being able to install it safety and in a manner that complies with all the necessary regulations.

Plain Tiles for tile roofing

Plain tiles are an extremely versatile this makes them ideal for details like dormers, eyebrows, vertical cladding and conical roofs. They have either a a smooth or sand granular face and come in a variety of colours.

For plain tiles in the UK, the British standard 5534: 2003 states that the following fixings are required:

Plain concrete roof tiles

Plain concrete roof tiles

  • For fitting plain tile roofing 
  • Two nails should be used for every tile
  • The tiles should be fixed every fourth course
  • For top edges and eaves, two courses of tiles are required, which should then be nailed or fixed by mechanical means
  • For pitches below 60 degrees, two nails should be used in every tile
  • The end tile in each course (including verges, abutments, valleys and hips) should be nailed twice of fixed by other mechanical means

These are the standards that all plain tiles in the UK should comply with as soon as they are fitted to buildings. Once installed properly, these tiles have a long lifespan, pair this with their versatility, and you can see why they are a popular option.

Double Roman Interlocking Tile roofing

The double Roman interlocking tile has been used on countless properties throughout Europe for over 2000 years. Its design and the effect it creates is appealing, while its functionality is the reason why it has stood the test of time. Like the majority of tiles, Roman interlocking tiles come in a variety of colours and textures and are arguably the most economical tile roofing available.

Double Roman interlocking tiles are described as flat in shape with a central role. This role can vary in size for a more pronounced look, but generally houses in England will use the dimensions listed here.

All Roman interlocking tiles that are used in the UK for tile roofing will have to meet BS EN 490 & 491 standards. These standards are government set guidelines that refer to the quality of all concrete based tile roofing and associated fittings. Fortunately, most tiles in the UK will meet these standards, and the Roman interlocking tile remains a popular choice, but they may not be suitable for roof pitches below 17.5°. Below are the technical specifications of a standard double Roman interlocking roof tile in the UK.

Double Roman concrete roof tiles

Double Roman concrete roof tiles


Tile Size 420mm x 334mm
Minimum Pitch 17.5°
Maximum Pitch 90 º
Tiling Weight 46.8kg per m² (at 100 mm headlap)43.7 kg per m² (at 75 mm headlap)
Battens Required Per Meter² 2.91m
Nails Required 55 x 3.35mm

Standard Interlocking Tiles for tile roofing.

Interlocking tiles are either clay or concrete based and are commonly used to provide a clean and contemporary look to most buildings. They have a smooth flat appearance that uses a single lap interlocking design to ensure they remain firmly fixed to a roof in all conditions.

Interlocking tile roofing are easier to install than other types, and the curved edge that is part of the design can make lower pitched roofs appear especially attractive. In addition, the interlocking system also provides these with increased protection from the elements, which can be extremely useful if you are using these for vertical cladding.

All interlocking tile roofing in the UK should meet the minimum British standards that are outlined in the BS 5534: 2003 guidelines. Meeting these guidelines is usually a good indication of the tiles quality and design, and ideally, no tiles should be used that cannot match up with these standards.