Natural roofing materials are beautiful and lend value and curb appeal to every home. They are in a class of their own when it comes to style, durability and installation requirements. However, over time, roof tiles can be damaged, cracked, or even broken from hail, extreme weather conditions, and aging.
Knowing the causes of potential damage can help prevent the issues, but you will also need to know how to repair or replace broken roof tiles when it happens. What are your roofing material options if you want slate, clay, concrete or cedar, but don’t want to deal with tile roof repairs? We have some recommendations for you in this article.
What Are The Different Types Of Roofing Tiles?
Roof tile is a term that describes natural or recyclable stone or wood roofing products. There are 4 main groups:
- Slate - A natural stone made from fine clay and sand. It is mined, divided along its layers, and sanded and polished for use as roofing tiles, countertops, blackboards, and more.
- Clay/Terracotta - raw clay is shaped and fired in kilns for use as roofing tiles. Plain clay tiles were initially used as roofing, but terracotta (fired clay) became the standard due to its increased strength. These tiles are also referred to as Spanish clay tiles.
- Concrete - Not a natural product, it has found acceptance as a recyclable alternative to clay. It can be finished to match different styles and colors of natural roof tile.
- Cedar Shakes - Some would not categorize cedar shakes as roof tiles, but they share the same elements of being naturally sourced, durable, and difficult to install.
Major Causes Of Roof Tile Damage
Slate is composed of natural layers, and that is often where the damage will appear first. Aging is the number one culprit. As the tile experiences heat and thaw cycles, the expansion and contraction can cause separation in the layers, and the tiles can break apart.
UV radiation is another factor in slate deterioration. The rays can cause lime and mineral salts in the slate to break down, making the tile more porous. This will allow more moisture to be absorbed and result in cracked roof tiles during weather extremes.
Clay can be chipped or broken by improperly stepping on it or from heavy objects, like tree branches. Terracotta has a low moisture absorption rate and handles freezing and subsequent thawing better than other roofing products. However, a condition called spalling can occur if clay absorbs too much moisture. This is a defect that appears as surface damage and is remedied by replacing the tile.
Concrete roof tiles are susceptible to everything that affects other concrete products. Aging, spalling, exposure to acid rain, improper weight distribution, and temperature extremes are some possible reasons concrete roofing can fail.
Another issue with concrete roofing is that it takes a year for the product to cure after it has been manufactured. During the curing process, the tiles can be damaged more easily, as the moisture remains within the concrete much longer than the 28 day curing time. UV radiation is also a factor that causes the paint to fade early.
Cedar shakes incur the most damage from absorbing moisture and then drying out. This can cause the shake to cup and warp, and if enough of the roof starts to experience this damage, the roof can lose its integrity. As with the other natural roofing products, aging will cause the shake to start cracking and break away from its fasteners.
How To Repair Damaged Roof Tiles
If you can fix broken roof tiles, you can save thousands of dollars in repair costs. However, tile roofs are the most dangerous to walk on, especially when wet. Stepping improperly on slate, clay, or concrete can cause additional damage that wasn’t part of an initial repair, for example.
If you are considering replacing broken tiles, you will need the proper tools to get the job done. Slate, clay and concrete require specific hanging methods to ensure the tiles don’t move. Cedar shakes must be installed in a particular fashion to avoid leaks. The bottom line? Professionals should always do tile roof repair.
Synthetic Roof Tiles Are More Durable
Traditional roof materials made from natural stone, clay, and wood are attractive. They add substantial curb appeal and value to a home, but come with a high cost for materials, installation, and maintenance.
There is a better solution to get the appearance and value these products provide: synthetic roofing tiles. Made from 100% recycled material, synthetic roof tiles look like their traditional counterparts, require minimal maintenance, and can be installed by most roofing contractors. They can be recycled again and used to make other products, rather than taking up space in a landfill.
Brava Is Your Best Resource For High-Quality Synthetic Roof Tiles
Brava has been developing synthetic composite roofing since 2008 and has become a leader in the industry. Our composite roof tile is made of compressed recycled plastics and other sustainable materials to create a composite tile that is much lighter in weight and more durable than alternative roofing solutions. We offer 3 styles that match the most popular roofing tiles on the market:
We have an almost unlimited choice of colors and blends, and have many tiles that meet the stringent requirements of California’s Title 24 “Cool Roof” code. If you are an HOA manager, building a subdivision, or getting ready to start your own home, contact us today for free samples and more information on how Brava can help you.