How to Install Clay Roof Tiles

roof tiles
  • 0-24 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 3,000-35,000
What You'll Need
Clay tile roofing material
Saw (to saw-and-shape tiles for any tight edges)
Roofing battens
Metal flashing
Painting brush

As a roofing choice, clay roof tiles are very popular owing to their inherent properties like being durable and lightweight. A clay tile is made by baking plates of molded clay. Its insulating properties are superior to ceramic tiles. This helps to keep the interiors cool in summers and warm in winters.

Clay tiles are sold in various sizes and shades, making them suitable for all structural requirements. Clay roof tiles maintain their natural color for long periods. A good example of this is pitched roofs made of clay roof tiles that are known to survive for decades without fading. They require little maintenance except periodic cleaning. They are fireproof too. In terms of time needed to complete the roofing project, it takes more time to lay a clay-tile roof than wood/metal roofing. However, the overall weather insulation of clay roofing is superior to any other roofing alternative.

Importance of Roofing Underlay in Clay Tile Roofs

The entire installation can go horribly wrong if the sloping nature of the roof is not addressed early. The pitch of the roof plays a role in the way tiles respond to snow and rain. A strong underlay is essential for ensuring the long life of clay roof tiles. The durability of clay roof tile depends upon the quality of the underlay. During the rainy season, there is the possibility of rainwater leaking through the underlay.

The underlay is essentially made from an asphalt-saturated roofing material. It covers the entire underlying surface area of the clay-tile cover. The smallest of installation mistakes can induce displacement of the overlying tiles. Installing clay tiles is rather easy if you follow the simple instructions explained below.

Step 1 - Choosing the Right Clay Tile

Clay tiles are retailed across various grades. Each grade offers different levels of resistance against climatic issues frosting. The selection must depend upon the severe climatic conditions that the tiles will most likely endure. Some clay tiles need to be installed by weight, often measuring up to 120-pounds per square meter.

Step 2 - Laying Tiles and Creating Underlay

Start by placing a ladder to easily access the roof. You can create an underlay with a metal flashing which is corrosion-resistant. Over the metal strip, lay down rows of roof battens across the entire roof-spread. Leave small gaps between the rows of battens to ensure that any rainwater that seeps through, is easily drained-away. Always start laying tiles from the side of the roof.

After laying the first layer, secure each tile with a nail. Hammer each nail into the center of the contoured edge of the tiling, that is easily identifiable. Now lay the second layer over the first layer of tiles, packing the tiles in a compact manner. The overlying tiles should form an interlocked configuration with the first layer. This interlocking doesn’t have to be created. The retailed roof tiles have the required edges to allow easy interlocking. When the tiles are interlocked, there must be no dust or debris between the joints. If you find any, brush it away with a dry, painting brush.

Step 3 - Final Roof Tile Layering and Edging

Once the roof is completely tiled, ensure to install a row of tiles around the edges, which is the edging. This helps to secure the roofing tiles in their position and protect them against displacement due to strong winds. This final layering or edging is also recommended from an aesthetic perspective.