Why proper underlayment can extend the life of your tile roof

With their hardiness and old world appeal, clay tile roofs bring a historic character to the home; however, after 60-100 years, leaks often become evident.

Many tile themselves are not completely water tight. They depend on an underlayment that rests between the clay tile on top and the wooden deck below, said Mark Sherby, a quality control expert for The Durable Slate Company.

Typically, it’s the asphalt-based underlayment that begins to deteriorate, which leads to leaks.

How do you fix this?

  1. Pull up the tile in the leaking section
  2. Remove the deteriorating underlayment
  3. Install a flexible, fiberglass-reinforced membrane (typically a self-adhering rubberized sheet)
  4. Remove existing flashings and install new flashings (usually with copper). Typical flashing replacements include valleys, wall flashings, chimney flashings and vent pipes.
  5. Reinstall existing tile and/or replace damaged tiles
  6. NOTE: Durable Slate has one of the largest inventories of reclaimed clay tiles in the country. This is important so that we can match the existing, historic tiles already on the roof.

Established in 1986, Durable Slate has installed, repaired or restored hundreds of tile roofs.

“It’s important that the underlayment, flashings and tile are installed to strict standards. Using an inexperienced company can potentially cause more damage,” Sherby said.

The Durable Way

Quality is essential to restoring tile roofs. Durable Slate emphasizes the use of copper fasteners on clay tiles since they do not rust. Using old-world techniques, Durable Slate employees hand-solder the seams of their copper flashing work wherever it is appropriate.

“Caulking might last a few years, but a proper soldering job can last more than 75 years. Plus it’s maintenance free,” Sherby said.

“Preserving the craftsmanship of a bygone era is our specialty,” Sherby said. “We take pride in maintaining the historic appeal of these homes.”

Mark Sherby works in The Durable Slate Company’s Quality Control Division. He has been working on slate and tile roofs for the last 15 years.

More than a roof. It's a Legacy.