How to Replace Clay Roof Tiles

a rooftop
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 30-800
What You'll Need
Safety harness
Tile clip
Wooden wedge
Pry bar
Replacement clay roof tile

Clay roof tiles are quite common, especially in houses in the southwestern part of the United States. These quaint tiled roofs consist of overlapping clay tiles that allow any rainwater to run off the roof. However, if any of your clay roof tiles are broken, then water can seep into your roof and find its way into your house through any cracks in the roof. If this continues unchecked, it can damage your house’s roof and walls. Fortunately, replacing clay roof tiles is not that hard. Follow the below steps for replacing clay roof tiles.

Step 1 – Identify

First, you should identify what is causing the leak. Many times, the culprit is not a broken clay roof tile, but a pipe from your air conditioning unit or a leaking roof jack. Try to identify where the leak originates from. If a broken clay roof tile is readily apparent in that spot, then replacing it is the best option.

Step 2 – Safety First

Whenever you’re working at any height above 6 feet above the ground, ensure that you have taken all safety precautions. Get a sturdy ladder or platform that will enable you to access the broken tile easily. Ensure that the ladder is placed on a firm surface. You should always have a companion to help you when you are working aloft. If you fall working alone and nobody can hear you it's game over. If possible, wear a safety harness, and affix the other end to the nearest steel pipe that is not a gutter or downspout.

Step 3 – Wedge it

Before you can fit a new clay roof tile, you have to remove the broken tile. In order to do this, you will have to slide a wooden wedge under the tile just above the broken one. This will enable you to raise the tile so that you can access the nail that holds the broken roof tile in place.

Step 4 – Remove the Broken Tile

Once the nail has been exposed, gently tap the broken tile around the nail until it breaks and comes off. Be gentle, so that you do not end up breaking any perfectly good tiles. Once the broken has been removed, use the pry bar to remove the nail.

Step 5 – Install the Tile Clip

Now hammer a tile clip into the center of the bare roof which will be covered by the replacement tile. Replacement clay roof tiles are always fitted with a tile clip because they are far easier to install than nails. You can easily buy a tile clip at your nearest hardware store. Do remember to buy the right sized clip.

Step 6 – Install the Replacement Tile

Remove the wooden wedge that you fitted earlier while keeping the tile that it was holding up still lifted with your hands. Next, slide in the replacement tile under this tile and lower the other tile on top of it. Now gently pull this tile down until it rests securely on the hook at the bottom of the clip.