Installing a Tile Roof Part 1 of 2

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Clay tiles give homes a truly impressive roof that can’t be imitated by other materials. The S design makes installation easier and less time-consuming. Each tile simply overlaps the preceding tile.

 

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Continue to Step 1

Overview

Modern clay tiles use an S-type design rather than the two-piece system that was once common. This simplifies the installation process and saves you time. Due to the contour of the tiles, you’ll need plumbing vents and air vents that match the shape of the roofing materials.
Before starting the project, make sure your roof framing can support the weight of the tiles. The materials are very heavy, and roofs designed for asphalt shingles may not have the structural support for clay tile. Check with your building inspector if you’re unsure.

What You'll Need

Tools:

Hammer
Tape measure
Chalk line
Circular saw
Jigsaw
Trowel
Diamond saw blade
Caulk gun
30# felt paper
Ice and water shield
Nailers (2 x 6, 2 x 3, 2 x 2)
3/4" roofing nails
Roofing nails
Sand
Portland cement
Plastic cement
Cement mortar Type M
Tile
Bird stops
Plumbing vents
Air vents
Roofing sealant
Peel-and-stick flashing
Plastic cement

Materials:

Hammer
Tape measure
Chalk line
Circular saw
Jigsaw
Trowel
Diamond saw blade
Caulk gun
30# felt paper
Ice and water shield
Nailers (2 x 6, 2 x 3, 2 x 2)
3/4" roofing nails
Roofing nails
Sand
Portland cement
Plastic cement
Cement mortar Type M
Tile
Bird stops
Plumbing vents
Air vents
Roofing sealant
Peel-and-stick flashing
Plastic cement

 

Step 1

Tips for Installing a Tile Roof - 1

To cut clay tile, use a diamond blade in a circular saw or grinder. Clamp the tile to a work surface, make your cutting line on the tile, then cut along the line. Be sure to wear safety glasses and a respirator when making the cuts.


Step 2

Tips for Installing a Tile Roof - 2

Mortar is available premixed, or you can mix it yourself. This project requires cement mortar Type M. To mix it, combine 3 parts portland cement, 1 part lime, and 12 parts sand. Add water and mix until the consistency is like mashed potatoes.


Step 3

How to Install a Tile Roof - Step 1

Cover the roof with underlayment. Install drip edge and valley flashing. Nail 2 x 6 lumber on the edge over all ridges and hips.


Step 4

How to Install a Tile Roof - Step 2

Install 2 x 2 nailers along the rake edges of the roof. Butt 2 x 3 nailers against the 2 x 2s and nail them in place.


Step 5

How to Install a Tile Roof - Step 3

Measuring from the outside edge of the 2 x 3 nailer along the left rake edge, make marks on the roof every 12". Center a bird stop over each mark, aligned with the front edge of the roof, and nail in place. Note: Bird stops are available from the tile manufacturer, or you can cut your own from wood.


Step 6

How to Install a Tile Roof - Step 4

Place gable tile over the 2 x 2s along the rake ends of the roof, overhanging the front of the roof by 3". Nail in place, using two 3/4" roofing nails per tile. Overlap tiles by 3". Note: Be sure to use left gable tiles for the left side and right gable tiles for the right side.


Step 7

How to Install a Tile Roof - Step 5

Starting on the left side of the roof, place the first field tile over the gable tile and 2 x 3 nailer. Align the end of the field tile with the end of the gable tile. Nail in place with two nails. Install the first course of tiles the same way, placing them over the bird stops. Tip: To ensure alignment, tie a string across the end of the first gable tiles. Set the tiles flush with the string. Move the string to align subsequent rows.


Step 8

How to Install a Tile Roof - Step 6

Install the next row of tiles on the roof, overlapping the first course by 3". Install remaining courses the same way. Avoid stepping on or walking on tiles as they break easily. When you can no longer reach new tiles from below, begin to work from higher up the roof. Work around obstacles as you encounter them, as seen in the remaining photos.


Step 9

How to Install a Tile Roof - Step 7

At dormers, chimneys, and walls, install pan flashing at least 4" up the wall and a minimum of 6" along the roof. Turn up the outside edge of the flashing 1 1⁄2". Install counter flashing over the pan flashing. Note: The top edge of the counter flashing must be installed under the wall siding or placed in the mortar between bricks in the chimney. The flashing may still be present from the old roof.


Step 10

How to Install a Tile Roof - Step 8

Install a 2 x 3 nailer along the turned-up edge of the pan flashing. Set the tile over the nailer and nail it in place.


 
 

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