Replacing Tile Roof With Shingles

We replaced this tile roof with shingles in Melbourne Beach, Florida, saving the homeowner the cost of the tile roof. Tile roofs have a long life span, especially in Florida, but they have become expensive to replace. This article discusses some of the reasons why tile roofs have become costly and low-quality compared to the past.

Tile roofs in the sixties and seventies were expected to last 30 years or more, and they did. However, the installation was different back then. They were installed using a procedure that ensured longevity while continuing the appearance of a Floridian-style tile roof home. 

They were installed after removing roofing materials from the wood decking, and any damaged wood would be replaced. Then, the 30-pound felt paper would be attached to the wood with hot tar. A tar mop is designed for tar. After this procedure, the roof would be waterproofed. Then, a 90-pound granulated cap sheet would be mopped on top of the 30-pound for a completed roof. 


Tile Installation

The tile was installed after the roof substrate was complete and fully waterproofed, including hurricane-proof. Using masonry cement, each tile piece was set in the mud. The hip ridges were also completed in this fashion. The roof would last for many years in the Florida weather. The typical color of the tile was white for its reflectiveness in Florida’s hot sun. These tile roofs reflected the heat and insulated the attics from the sun’s heat due to the tile and concrete. The air ventilation under the tiles creates a barrier that can help cool a house in summer, lowering energy costs. 


Past Tile Roof Houses

At the risk of being a little nostalgic, I remember air conditioning was unheard of back then. We never had the luxury of air-conditioning. We had windows that were called Jalousie windows. They consisted of equally paralleled glass panes that were horizontal in the window or door. And all opened and closed at the same time with a small knob. It would make full use of the window size for ventilation.

I remember that, in my childhood, we had an attic fan installed in the hallway ceiling. This fan would pull air into the house through the Jalousie windows. It then went into the attic, where the heat went out the vents. We always had a cool breeze coming through our house in those days. We could always enjoy Florida’s fresh breezes. Combined with a tile roof with jalousie windows and an attic fan, the house was somewhat cool. Back to today. Why not tile roofs now?


Why Tile Roofs Are No Longer Chosen

In addition to inflation and material costs, the installation process does not compare to the past tile roofs. Many roofers install forty-pound base sheets, which come in rolls. This was installed directly on the wood deck with simplex nails or button caps. Tiles were then installed onto firring strips or direct to the roof with screws or nails.  Additionally, they install pressure-treated boards on the ridges for the hip tiles to lay on.

All the above procedures are terrible. Why? Because the base underlayment does not adhere to the deck with a tar or self-adhered product. It is fastened with nails which rust over time and leave holes for water penetration. Roughly 10 percent of water gets behind the tile and runs down the roof pitch to weep holes at the drip edge. But if the fasteners have rusted away, water goes into holes. Florida salt air can rust the nails quickly, especially on the barrier island.

There are more issues associated with this type of installation than discussed here. The roofers will install this way to keep the price low and secure the job. However, the homeowner is the one who loses as these roofs will not last the 30 years as promised. When they fail, the homeowners tell other homeowners, and the tile roof becomes the dreaded tile roof due to poor installation.


The Correct Way To Install Tile Roof

The same procedure is used to remove and clean the roof of materials down to the wood deck. However, a self-adhered underlayment is the best way to replace tile roofs. Sometimes called ( peel N stick ) or TU ( tile underlayment ) over the entire roof deck. All penetrations are then sealed to the point the house roof can go through a hurricane at this point. Then, tiles are installed using an adhesive foam for a 160mph adhesive. See the video for an example of tiles installed with screws vs tiles with adhesive. The ridges are installed using 2×6 galvanized ridge poles that will not warp like pressure-treated wood will. Then all the hip ridge tiles are screwed to the ridge pole and cemented on the edges. This type of installation duplicates the hot tar and cemented tile procedure.

There are more specifics to a tile replacement. Just know that if the cost to replace a tile roof is low, there is a reason. The correct installation can still be costly, but the roof will give the homeowner years of worry-free living. Some Hoas in Florida have restrictions on using tile only. That’s the Florida look: tile roofs with palm trees. 

This homeowner decided to replace it with shingles due to his age and not needing a 30-year roof. He also chose to avoid paying the higher cost of a tile roof installed correctly.

Consider replacing your tile roof. Call us for more information and a free quote at 321-914-3360. Or email us here