How to Fix a Leak on a Clay Tile Roof

A roof with clay tiles.
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20-45
What You'll Need
Waterproof membrane
Caulk gun
RT-600 Tile Roof Sealer (terracotta color)
Pry bar
Hanger strap
Wet saw

A clay roof tile is often susceptible to leaks caused as a result of various problems in the tile or in the method of installation. The manner in which a leak can be repaired will differ depending on the cause of the problem.

Step 1 - Identify the Cause

Clay roof tiles may leak due to several faults. While some problems go beyond the roof and are related to the other aspects of the roofing or installation methods, some of the common problems regarding clay tiles are:

  1. Defective or worn out waterproof membrane
  2. Collection of debris in the roof valley
  3. Cracked tiles
  4. Broken tiles

To fix the leak, you will need to fix the specific problem that applies to you. Keep in mind that clay roof tiles break easily under pressure, so be very careful when walking on your roof to determine the cause of the leak.

Step 2 - Fix the Membrane

If the problem is in the waterproof membrane, you will need to remove all your existing tiles and replace the old membrane with a new one. Then, re-tile your roof. You may need the help of a professional for removal and re-tiling.

Step 3 - Remove the Debris

A roof with clay tiles.

The roof valleys, especially the closed ones, collect a lot of debris. More often than not, this can cause leaks in clay roof tiles. In order to remove the debris so that there is no more leakage, you will need to remove the tiles from the valley, clean out the area, and then reinstall the tile. Consider converting the roof valleys into open ones to avoid debris collection in the future.

Step 4 - Fix a Crack

If you find that there are fine cracks in your tiles, you can repair the crack by applying RT-600 on the tile using a caulk gun. Allow the sealer to spread over the entire tile, and let it dry.

Step 5 - Fix Broken Tiles

A roof with clay tiles.

Tiles that are broken or have large cracks need to be replaced in order to fix the leak. For this, you will need to remove all damaged tiles using a pry bar. Use a hammer to assist in the removal, but be careful not to damage any of the good tiles. If your roof is old, the chances are that your tiles have been fixed using mortar. In this case, set the new tiles and use the mortar to seal them in place.

Newer roofs will have nails that hold the tiles in place. If this is the case, you will need a hanger strap. Place your new tile on the hanger strap, and hang it where the new tile needs to be fitted. Make sure that you do not force the tile in place. Use a wet saw to cut the edges, if needed. Next, simply hammer the nails into the top tiles, securing the new tile to the roof. Now, apply mortar or RT-600 to the sides to ensure a complete seal.