Tile roofs

How do you approximate the age of tile roofs.

I see slate occasionally but do not do many tile roofs.

This one was on a century home but the stated age was 75 years old.

The age of the house would be one way but this one did not correspond to that theory.

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It’s difficult to estimate an age for a tile roof. I would say the one you have pictured was a mid '70’s install, just based on the tile design. I don’t think that style is manufactured anymore, but I could be wrong.

More importantly, if the roof structure was not designed to carry the weight of concrete tile, you could have a major structural deficiency.

What would be typical roof structure for a tile roof?

What would be considered a structural defect fo a tile roof.

Hi Dave, I’d be looking for missing, broken or slipping tiles, bad mortar joints on the ridges and be paying very close attention to any visible flashings (they tend to fail before the tiles themselves). Also I’d be lookin for sings of leakage or discoloration of the tar paper underlayment if the roof has skip sheathing, do you have any more roof or attic shots?

I agree with Jeff BTW that is an older design my guess would be 60’s



This tile roof is bar tile. It’s no longer being made and it can be very hard to find these tiles. It’s common to see them clued back together. A few concerns about this tile….Is there felt under the tiles? Or was it sold sheathing with felt? Your photo of the valley tells me this roof is an older roof 20-50 years maybe? It was a common practice to install these roofs over skip sheathing with no felt. I have seen some of these roofs actually get water logged and have water go through them. The concert was so pores that water sweep through the tiles. DO NOT WALK ON THESE ROOFS….tiles are some of the weakest tiles ever made other than a natural clay tile. Even with 15 years of roofing and walking on thousands of roofs a year I will break these tiles. This roof is like any other tile roof if; its maintained correctly it can last for a life time. However if there’s no underlayment…oh boy we have another story…here……

i also dont like the look of the valley and tie in area…as a home inspector I would recommend a roof inspection on this bad boy…cya. have any other photos?

How about public records? Asking the seller (if there is one). When all else fails, knock on a neighbors door. They might know.

I learned that the hard way when I stepped through one. I will still walk these if they are installed over solid sheathing.

Dave - it’s almost impossible to determine (visually) if the roof structure was designed to carry the load of concrete tile, but it’s usually pretty obvious if the structure has been reinforced from original. When in doubt, defer it to an engineer, but look for stress fractures in the walls and ceilings that may indicate movement or unusual settling.

Always ask the owners (when you can) if they know the history of the roof - when it was replaced, what type of material it had previously - and look around the neighborhood. You may be able to get an indication based on what some of the neighboring homes have for roof covering, but maybe not on a home of that age.

Look at the roof-covering materials on neighboring homes. If they’re mostly tile, your’s is proabably OK. Disclaim responsibility for confirmation of the ability of the framing to carry tile. You have no way of knowing.

Older tile will sometimes show efflorescence. High quality clay tile is almost like glass… extremely vitrified, and will not absorb moisture. Lower quality will absorb moisture, delaminate or flake, and exhibit microbial growth over the years, especially in freeze-prone climates. Some discoloration that you’d swear is mold is not (take my upcoming roofing video courses)

Concrete tile lasts pretty well. As Gerry mentioned, flashing, fasteners and improper installation are what to look out for.

Yep… look for bad flashing. Sidewalls should have continuous pan flashing with a raised edge to form a water channel.

… and good inderlayment. Tile usually has 30 lb underlayment or better specified by the manufacturer and code, but not always. If you see 15lb. recommend a specialist inspection.
Look for (and call out) exposed underlayment

Cracked, broken or missing tiles… call 'em out. The older the roof is, the more fragile. You don’t have to walk tile roofs.

Received this tonight:

You don’t. Your evaluation of the tile roof is not to give a remaining lifespan, which you should never do, but to evaluate it’s condition. It’s OK or it’s not. Most important, if that tile roof is at or near the end of its useful life, you need to point that out in your report.