Traditional Clay Tile Roofing - Investigation and Rehabilitation

December 30, 2006
Publication: RCI Interface p 20-30

Abstract: Traditional clay tile roofs combine both modern and time-proven materials with traditional craftsmanship to produce what can be one of the most durable, aesthetically pleasing, and architecturally distinct steep-slope roofing systems. On the downside, designing and constructing clay tile roofs present technical and aesthetic pitfalls that can defeat the most durable materials. For example, an inappropriately selected tile color or finish can unacceptably alter the appearance of a building, and a poorly designed or constructed roofing system can be quickly destroyed by material failure, leakage, or wind uplift. Achieving maximum durability requires careful material selection, meticulous detailing, and construction by knowledgeable and diligent craftsmen. This paper presents practical advice to help designers and builders conceive, design, and construct durable clay tile roofs. Several aspects of clay tile roofing are covered in a restoration and rehabilitation context, including investigation of existing clay tile roofs to determine causes of failure; selection of tile materials, geometries and finishes; selection and detailing of flashing and membrane under­layment; and review of attachment methods. Advice and recommendations based on the authors' experience are also included to illustrate successful design and building practices for clay tile roofs.