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Repair Of The Day: How To Replace A Broken Clay Roofing Tile

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Clay roofing tiles can make your home look like a Mediterranean villa, and while your tiles can last up to seventy years in good conditions, individual tiles may get damaged from time to time. When one of your tiles breaks, you should be able to make the repair on your own with the right guidance. 

Don't Make the Damage Worse

Clay roofing tiles tend to be brittle, and if you step on the ridges in S-shaped barrel tiles, you can break them. To avoid damage, step in the valleys between the ridges. Also, when you kneel down to make your repair, make sure you are kneeling in the valleys.

Materials Needed

The key to any successfully repair is to make sure you have all of your equipment gathered before you go up on your roof. For this job, you will need, a tile fastener removal tool, a roofing hammer, a crowbar, a caulking gun, roofing cement, an empty bucket, a putty knife, and roof tile adhesive. 

The Procedure

Once you have gathered your materials, carry them up to your roof so that they are all at hand when you need them. You can then begin your repair in this way:

1. Insert your fastener removal tool under the bottom edge of the damaged tile. The removal tool will have a handle at one end with a flat piece of metal extending away from it. At the end of this flat piece, you should have grooves cut into the sides of the tool.  Fish around until you find the nail that holds the tile in place, hook it with the grooves in the removal tool, grab the handle with your weak hand, and strike the guard at the end of the handle with your hammer until you pull the nail out and free the tile.

2. Slide the tile out of the way. Sometimes it is helpful to break the tile with your hammer and pull the pieces out of the way. You may also want to use the crowbar to lift up the tiles from the row above so that the top edge of the tile comes free easier.

3. Put the pieces of the damaged tile in your empty bucket.

4. Spread roofing cement over the nail holes with your putty knife. 

5. Slide your new tile up until the bottom edge of the tile is even with other tiles in the same row. Make sure that tabs at either side of the tile overlap properly with the tiles to either side.

6. Prop the bottom edge of the tile up with the crowbar. Make sure the crowbar is situated in the valley of the tile. 

7. Insert the tip of your caulking gun under the tile and put down a thick bead of tile adhesive all along the lower edge of the tile. 

8. Remove the crowbar and push the tile down to spread out the bead of caulk. 

Replacing a damaged clay tile is not complicated, but it does require good mobility and a good feel for heights. If you don't feel up to making your own repair, feel free to call in a roofing professional to do the job for you.