How to Roof a Red Tile Roof


A red clay tile roof is stylish and durable. The cost to install clay tile is greater than traditional asphalt or wood roofing shingles. Installation requirements are more demanding. However, the life expectancy of a tile roof can exceed 75 years, depending on the tile type and manufacturer. Red clay tile comes in a variety of profiles, including Spanish barrel, flat shingle, and interlocking tile. Choose your favorite style and follow the manufacturer's detailed recommendations for installation.

Things You'll Need

  • Roofing plan
  • Structural calculation
  • 3/4-inch roof sheathing
  • 2-inch ridge lumber
  • 30# roofing felt
  • Waterproof underlayment
  • Flashing, vents
  • Copper nails
  • Roofing Tile
  • Sealant
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk Line
  • Hammer
  • Circular saw
  • Masonry saw
  • Power drill
  • Caulk gun
  • Utility knife
  • Carpenter's square
  • Level
  • Prepare a roofing plan. Show locations of ridges, valleys, hips, roof penetrations and flashings. Show all required tile profiles. Show color blending if desired. Calculate the number of tiles required to complete the job, including extras to cover damage and cuts.

  • Calculate the structural characteristics of the roof. A red clay tile roof can weigh eight or more pounds per square foot. Make sure that the existing structure can bear the weight within the required range of deflection. Tile manufacturers specify their requirements for each tile profile.

  • Prepare the substrate. Make sure that the roof sheathing is firmly secured and in good condition. 3/4-inch plywood or 1-inch nominal board is recommended.

  • Install wood framing for the ridge tiles. Cut to fit, level and square per manufacturer's recommendation for the profile selected.

  • Install the underlayment. Use two layers of 30# asphalt-impregnated roofing felt. Cut to fit with utility knife. Install a waterproof underlayment extending a minimum of 2 feet beyond all ridges, valleys, hips and perimeters.

  • Install flashing at vents, valleys, vertical walls and the roof perimeter. Apply joint sealants.

  • Measure and lay out the roof tiles. Apply chalk guidelines on the roof underlayment showing the vertical and horizontal location of each tile course.

  • Install the starter course at the roof perimeter as detailed in the manufacturer's recommendation.

  • Lay the tiles coursed from bottom to top. Proper layout eliminates short courses. Use copper nails, usually 11 gauge or heavier with head thickness and length recommended for the tile profile selected. Cut to fit for valleys. Drill for penetrations. Install special profiles for hips and ridges and rakes with sealants located as recommended by the manufacturer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use high-quality materials for roof sheathing repairs. The wood substrate should last as long as the clay tile.
  • If you are uncertain of the bearing capacity and amount of deflection in the roof, hire a structural engineer to calculate it for you. Excessive deflection will cause even the best clay tile roof to fail.

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  • Photo Credit Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images
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