Getting A Century Of Use From Your New Clay Roof

18 January 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Your terracotta roof could give you more than 100 years of service. It will take some maintenance from you and periodic attention from a roofing company to keep it looking nice and protecting your home. Here are some of the ways to get the most life from your clay roof.

Cleaning the Roof

Dirt builds up in the pores of the clay tiles making them look dull. If you live in a damp climate and a portion of the roof stays in the shade, you may find algae growing on the tiles. These plants send their roots down into the clay causing tiles to crack and break apart. Keep your roof clean and free of algae to keep it healthy and looking good.

Create a solution of equal parts chlorine and water. Put this mixture in a sprayer and soak the roof tiles well. Scrub the tiles with a long-handled brush or broom, paying special attention to those areas where algae is apparent. Use a garden hose to gently rinse off the tiles. Don't use a power washer as it can easily damage tiles or force them up off of the roof.

For large areas and places hard to reach safely, have a roofing contractor clean the roof. They know how to use a power washer to clean the tiles thoroughly without damaging them.

Repairing and Replacing Tiles

Tiles that are cracked but not broken apart can be repaired with a little silicone sealer. Carefully clean the tile and allow it to dry thoroughly. Using a tube or caulking gun, force clear silicone sealer into the crack. When dry, the clear sealer will make the tile waterproof again and be barely noticeable from the ground.

A tile broken all of the way through must be replaced. The tiles were originally laid out in a waterfall pattern. The first row starts at the edge of the roof with the next row overlapping the tops of those tiles. This continues all the way up to the peak. This makes it difficult to get to the nails that hold the tile in place. For safety reasons, consider having a residential roof repair company replace any broken tiles that you can't reach from a ladder against the roof. If you can reach the broken tile safely, here are the steps for replacing it:

  1. Break the broken tile up into smaller pieces, being careful not to crack surrounding tiles.
  2. Remove the pieces, including those under the overlapping tile.
  3. Reach under the overlapping tile and remove the nails that originally held the tile in place.
  4. Apply a layer of roofing sealer to the top half of the new tile.
  5. Apply a bead of sealer to the edges of the tile that will rest against the roof.
  6. Slip the new tile under the overlapping clay tile.
  7. Push the tile snug up under the overlapping tile and press the edges down on the lower tiles that it overlaps.

If you're careful to not get sealer on the exposed surface of the new tile, you won't notice the repair at all from the ground. For assistance, visit sites like