Home > Blog

Top 10 Tips to Maintain Your Tile Roof

There are several advantages tile roofing has over other types of roofing material. It comes in many different styles with Old World charm, and with proper tile roof maintenance, according to the National Parks Service, it will last for over a century. Tiles can withstand harsh weather and are fire and pest resistant. They are made from natural clay and are environmentally friendly by reducing the ambient temperature on the roof deck. The top six tips for maintaining a tile roof are:


As with any roof maintenance, a careful inspection of the condition of the roof should be done once or twice a year, depending on the harshness of the climate. You can look for chipped, cracked or missing tiles. Any damaged tile should be immediately replaced.

Accumulated leaves and debris should be removed from gutters and valleys. Moss or lichen growth that blocks the water from easy run-off should be removed. Moss attracts moisture that can result in water damage under the tiles. Lichen doesn’t do any damage but can be unsightly. Grills or ventilators should not be blocked by plant growth or debris.


Once you have determined what needs to be done, there are some safety considerations for you to learn if you plan to do the roof maintenance yourself. Tiles can be slippery especially if they are wet or covered with moss. Some precautions are:

• Wear shoes with good traction
• Stand in dry areas
• Plan ahead
• Use sheets of plywood to distribute your weight over the tiles

Tiles are not intended to support a person’s full body weight. They can be easily cracked or broken if you walk on them without taking care. If you need to step on a tile, try to only step on the lower third of the tile as this part is supported by the tile underneath. Never walk on the valleys or hips of a tile roof.

Precautions should also be taken by other people who have access to your tile roof. Window cleaners, dish installers and chimney sweeps need the right crawling boards, ladders or platforms to prevent them from breaking tiles. Ladders should not be leaned against the gutter. They should be secured against the main structure.

A tile roof should be washed at least twice a year. This will remove the possibility of mold and mildew growing on the tiles. A pressure washer is the best way to clean a tile roof. The spray can be set at 1,200 psi and used about 2 feet away from the tiles. A good pressure washer will have an induction system where you can include a mild bleach solution in the spray to remove existing organism and inhibit new ones from growing.

Replace Damaged Tiles

Broken, chipped or cracked tiles need to be replaced as soon as possible because they will allow water and ultra-violet rays to enter and damage your roof. Damaged tiles may not be obvious, but you can look for broken tiles or chips on the ground. These are an indication that there is damage on the roof that you cannot see.

Check the ridge tiles. If there are gaps between the tiles or if one is missing, they need to be replaced or repointed.

Leaking Roof

Most leaks are caused by blocked gutters and can be remedied when the gutters are cleaned. Broken cement mortar can also be the cause of leaking as well as broken individual tiles. Displaced tiles that are not broken can result in leaking. They need to be put back in their proper place. Blocked flashings can also result in leaking. It is recommended that every seven years a tile roof is inspected by a professional.


White streaks and blotches occur when the natural lime in the clay reacts to rainwater and air. This effect is called efflorescence and is usually temporary. It will disappear after some time, so there is no need to clean these patches from the tiles.


To minimize roof maintenance, some people like to seal the clay tiles. This prevents dirt from building up and creating an environment for moss and mold to grow. When the tiles are dry, you can apply a clear primer with rollers or a brush. When this dries, you can apply a clear acrylic sealer. Once you do this, it will need to be done regularly as it degrades.

Roof maintenance is one of the most important aspects of home ownership. The roof, along with the integrity of the electrical and plumbing systems, is important for keeping up the property value. Even though tile roofs are durable and long lasting, they also need regular inspections to function well. Clay tiles can be easily damaged if the inspection is not done properly. A professional will know how to walk on a tile roof to repair damaged tiles.


Air Roofing has over 120 years’ experience as Roofing Contractors in Perth, working in the commercial, industrial and residential roofing and building maintenance sectors. Visit our website for more information:

More to Read: