Low slope clay tile roof leaks (C) Daniel Friedman Clay Tile Roof Installation Specifications
Specifications for clay roofing tile roof slope, clay roof tile fastening, clay roof tile exposure & head lap
     

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This article describes installation requirements & specifications for clay tile roofing.

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Clay Roof Tile Installation Specifications

Clay tile roof installation Mesquite Cove Arizona (C) Daniel FriedmanOur page top photo shows clay roofing tiles installed on a low slope roof in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Below we comment on the special steps needed to keep a low slope clay tile roof from leaking.

The installation guidelines for clay roofing tiles vary widely by geographic area. For example at How clay roofing tiles are secured we include a photograph of a clay tile roof in a mountainous area of Mexico where very little is done to fasten the tiles to the roof structure.

Our photo at left shows a tile roof ready for installation in Mesquite Cove, Arizona. The tiles will be secured to battens nailed over an underlayment. Notice the drainage gaps in the batten strips.

In windy or stormy areas owners sometimes leave heavy stones on the edges of their roof to avoid wind blow-off of the tiles. In coastal areas where high winds and hurricanes are a threat to all roofs, extra steps are taken to fasten tiles to the roof surface.

Clay tile roofing material and installation labor are more expensive than alternate materials, but the material has a life expectancy of up to 350 years where high quality vitreous tiles are used. Clay tiles are heavy, weighing between 850 and 1,700 pounds per square (depending on the tile type).

Roof Slope or Pitch Requirements for Clay Tiles

Low slope clay tile roof leaks (C) Daniel Friedman Low slope clay tile roof leaks (C) Daniel Friedman

Clay roofing tiles are installed on slopes as low as 4/12, restricted to 6/12 in some jurisdictions. Our photo (above left) shows a low slope clay tile roof in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

This roof was built without sufficient pitch (about 2/12) and it leaks badly during heavy rains, as you can see by our photograph of the roof's under-side (above right). Raising the high end of this shed roof a few inches will improve the roof drainage and stop the leak problem.

Clay tile roof, Xotolar, Guanajuato, Mexico (C) Daniel FriedmanWhere clay tiles are installed on low slope roofs (less than 4/12) for aesthetic reasons, install a waterproof membrane on the roof surface below the tiles.

The clay tile roof support system shown at left uses locally-cut trees and bamboo-like grasses to support the roofing tiles. This system works acceptably in areas such as central Guanajuato, Mexico where the structure is not subjected to high winds nor freezing weather.

Even here, a too-low-slope clay tile roof will be quite leaky - which is of little concern if sheltering only an outdoor shed or animals in a warm climate.

Details about how roof slope is measured or calculated are at ROOF SLOPE DEFINITIONS.

Tile Exposure Specifications for clay tile roofs

Most clay tile roofs permit exposure of more than 50% of the length of the tiles, and interlocking clay tiles have an 80% to 90% exposure of the tile surface. An exception is that for shingle flat clay roofing tiles the exposure is less than 50%.

Head lap specification for clay tile roofs

Clay tile roof, Boca Raton FL (C) Daniel Friedman

Interlocking and curved clay roof tiles have no head lap. Clay roof shingle tiles have a 2" to 4" head lap.

Photo above: clay tile roof installation in Boca Raton, Florida.

Clay Tile Roof Flashing Specifications

Flashing recommendations for clay tile roofs are detailed at CLAY TILE ROOF FLASHING.

Leaks in clay tile roof flashings are discussed and illustrated at CLAY TILE ROOF FLASHING LEAKS.

Continue reading at How clay roof tiles are secured to the roof: We continue the discussion of installation details for clay roofing tiles at CLAY TILE ROOF CONNECTIONS.

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