Terracotta tile roof structure

Down here in TX, we do not have a lot of terracotta roofs. I have not inspected one previously but I know the roof structure for this product needs more beef.

Today’s house has some cracks in the brick veneer in various places but most are at the top (top plate) and none go to the ground.

My thinking is that the structure is not sufficient for the weight. However, I do not know what would be required for this roof. Does anyone have a general idea what would be required?

The attics were framed with 2x10s and with plywood decking. Each rafter had a collar brace, but that was pretty much it. Slope was typical for this style (probably 6/10).

I’ll try to include a couple of pertinent photos.

Thanks in advance,

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Are the two right photos from opposite side of the home. I see a slight “v” separation to the cracks.

The two right photos are the same crack from top to bottom. You’re right, there is some separation.

In my haste to get a post out, I didn’t include other photos that show a different crack and some bowing brick.


The upright brace in pic 1 is bowed.
In pic 2, is that an exhaust vent into the attic?

Is the roof structure hip or gable / or both?

Yes it is bowed.
Yes that is an exhaust vent.

The roof is hipped.

In order to evaluate the roof framing, we’d need to know the span, the wood species and grade, and the dead load of the terra cotta roofing system.

What are the walls made of? Stucco on masonry? If so, the cracks shown may be because of insufficient bearing length of the lintels spanning the window opening. In one picture, it appears as though the lintel is bearing on only an inch or so, instead of the eight inches that should be provided.

Wall openings create stress concentrations at the corners. If it’s a concrete wall, then there should have been some diagonal re-bars placed at 45 degrees at each corner of each opening. This is often not done, with resulting corner cracks, but the corner cracks usually radiate out at approximately 45 degrees.

With regard to the cracks shown, are there similar cracks in the opposite wall in the same places?

Looking closer, I see that the walls are brick. Are they brick veneer, or solid masonry?

In this part of the house, it has its own hipped roof. The exterior is brick veneer over a stick-built house. The span is about 16’ (left to right in photo). Don’t know the wood grade, species is pine. I’m trying to locate the dead load of terra cotta. No opposite wall cracks in this case.


Along with the other posts…

No insulation for being in Texas.

Window openings are pulling apart.

I think “run, don’t walk” from this one is in order.

I don’t DO Structural Engineer referrals much, but I think a good one is in order here.

If it’s a stick-bult house, the brick veneer bears no load, so it wouldn’t be likely that any kind of roof dfeiciency would affect the veneer in the way pictured. To comment further, it would be necessary to get an overview of the whole picture of the house and what ails it. For example, is there any cracking inside the house where the cracks exist outside? The close-ups show the cracks well, but the entire story can’t be seen in them.

I agree. It is difficult to analyze if you weren’t there. Heck, it was difficult for me and I was there. The reason I questioned the roof structure is because there was some bowing and a crack in the veneer in an another area. The crack pictured above seems to be founation-related but the crack extended from the top and not the bottom. Thus, my asking for information regarding common framing practices for a roof when you know there will be a tile roof on top.

There some cracks in the sheetrock in that upper room, but nothing really out of the ordinary.

I was never able to see the slab profile because of major overgrowth next to the house. So couple those facts together and I ultimately deferred to both a structural engineer and/or foundation repair specialist and a framing contractor for the roof.


What else can you do? Good call.

Thanks. I guess nothing else. But part of me always wonders.

Ultimately, I wanted to know common framing practices for tile roofs for my own edification. They are not common here at all, but with the Tuscany-Mediterranean look people crave, I may be inspecting more of them. I did some research on the net, but I think I’ll make a trip to the roofing store in town.

I figured more of the California/Florida inspectors would post. I’m under the impression there are a lot of tile roofs in those areas. That’s a guess; haven’t been there in a while.


Hi Bruce attached is a typical attic I would encounter with a concrete tile roof.

Hi Bruce,

to be honest if you are concerned about the settlement then you need to defer to a structural engineer, but in answer to at least part of your question most Asphalt shingle come in at around 225-250 lbs per square, concrete and clay tiles are around 4 times heavier roughly 800-1000 lbs per square. I see very few stick built roofs with tile here, most commonly they are over truss built roof framing.



Hey thanks for the those posts. I hadn’t thought about AZ; should have though. Thanks Brian, Gerry.

IMO, the one I inspected needed some support to transfer the load to multiple points not just the exterior walls.