Clay and Concrete Roof question


I was doing the training on the roof inspection here at Internachi but didn’t see anything about concrete roofs that have a sort of drain system that is underneath them. Is there anywhere I can get more info on these? Maybe these are specialized? I have seen a few recently on newer homes. Thanks.

If you are talking about reinforced concrete roofs, that would be the roof structure substrate and not the roof covering. You won’t find one made out of clay. The only way to comment on the condition of the concrete is if you can see it from underneath. Treat like any other concrete structure, like the slab or concrete foundation walls.

Clay and concrete tile usually go over a batten and counter-batten setup, to help with drainage and airflow.

The BC roofing contractors association has a good description online. Check out page 50

Interesting installation. Have you seen it done with battens? I understand they may do this in some areas and some manufactures require it but it would be a big mistake

Battens are not unusual. Tile roofs are not prevalent in my area, but metal roofs are typically installed over battens. It might be more of a northern thing, where ice dams are more likely.

Why do you think it is a big mistake?

I think I’ve seen a total of 2 residential concrete roof structures in the US, so the InterNACHI roof courses don’t cover them. There is plenty on concrete tile. As has been mentioned, counter-batten systems providing drainage under tile are common in many areas of the US. In many parts of the world battens under tile are installed directly on underlayment stapled to rafters or trusses with no solid sheathing at all. In parts of Australia, they don’t even use underlayment. Yep, the roofs tend to leak a lot! :D:D
Not sure what you mean by “built in drainage system”.

Kent…I’ll send you some pictures of concrete roofs from Ecuador, tomorrow or the next day…hopefully in different stages of construction. I’ll be here until the end of the month.

Dale, there’s nothing but concrete roofs here in Mexico. I think I’ve seen 2 that aren’t!

You having any luck with Spanish? My Spanish teacher is my neighbor, we share a yard, and I’ve become much more dedicated to learning Spanish recently.

LOL…Yes, I found a nice young lady for Spanish lessons for myself too…looks like you did well–:slight_smile:

I might stop in Mexico on my way back to the states, I going to Belize on my way back to see if I can find our friend who moved there.

How long you going to be there?

A year or so depending on how business goes. We’ve just been asked to inspect 20-30 small schools. No real details yet.
I’m in Cuernavaca, about an hour South of Mexico City. Stop on by if you get a chance. See it before the volcano blows! The volcanoes—Popo and Isla—are actually about 50 miles away and not even smoking right now, although at one is live.

This is Cuernavaca with Popocatépetl in the background.

The military likes to keep a high profile so you see them, always three guys in the back of a truck with a rack-mounted machine gun, one guy always has his hands on the gun. This one looks like a BAR but they usually have .50 cal. At toll booths, checkpoints, banks, etc., you see guys in uniforms, body armor and automatic rifles walking around. It’s a little intimidating at first, but you get used to it. You don’t try to take their picture, though.

I got pulled over for missing my front license plate by five cops bristling with weapons. They took one look at my Hawaiian shirt and all started laughing and let me go.

Sure are pretty, though—:shock: :cool:

Making progress with development?

The battens cause obstruction of water flow and rot overtime. Tile roof are designed for water to flow under , now if you put a batten perpendicular to the slope how can that happen? It creates a dam does it not? Again I do understand that some manufacturer call for it and mostly on roofs 6/12 or more but if you ever removed one that had this type of installation you would understand even more why it is a bad idea. But some engineer a lot smarter than me designed it…

They install battens parallel with the slope first, then battens perpendicular to the slope over top. Looking back at the link I posted I see that is not clearly stated.


I see you are from Lakeland. For the most part roof tile installation in the Florida Building Code defers to Manual FRSA/TRI 07320 which is jointly published by the roof tile manufactures and roofing contractors and provides methods for prescriptive installation.The manual is a handy desk reference and is Florida specific.
As to your original question I think what yoo are referring to are eave enclosures which contain required weep holes to allow water to pass from under the tile.
These can be of metal, mortar, or rubber, but also be aware that a raised fascia system can be utilized and would be required to have an anti-ponding system behind the raised fascia which would not be visible at the time of a home inspection.

When no counter-battens (oriented up and down the roof) are used, battens are installed with gaps between the ends to allow for drainage.


While battens may be fine in the arid western portions of the country, I think we would all agree that not a good idea in Florida. To futher that point no provision in Florida allows a counter batten. The 1x2 nominal batten must be adhered directly to the membrane of a solidly sheathed roof deck. The battens are required to have a 1/2 inch gap at 4 foot intervals. Battens can be used on any deck of 4/12 pitch and above.
The requirement to use battens is deferred to the roof tile manufacturer. The 3 different manufactures that I have used required battens on roof slopes steeper than 6/12.
Moral of the story do not buy a house that has a tile roof with a slope greater than 6/12 in Florida and If you are inspecting one look closely in the attic because if it is not leaking today it will be tomorrow.

I haven’t worked or lived in Florida but I’ve seen tile installed on battens in many places including very wet places. What’s the problem with battens and counter-batttens?

I think the clay and concrete roof are very strong kind of roofs and also take care of the various aspects including the temperature and other basic needs .The above post about the **Clay and Concrete Roof seems very informative and reliable as well. One must go through the same.