Saturday, March 5, 2011
Although tile roofs are typically pretty durable, they do occasionally leak—especially with older homes. The longer a roof leaks, the greater the damage, so it is important to keep your eyes open for signs of a leak.
Usually when there is a roof leak you will see a wet spot in the ceiling or even high in the wall itself. Most homes in San Diego and Temecula have drywall surfaces, and when drywall gets wet it quickly becomes obvious. However, it is harder to spot a leak on a home built with lath and stucco walls, which can hold and hide water 5 times longer than drywall. Although most new homes are made with drywall, some homes in San Diego that are over 40 years old are made with the lath and stucco ceilings and walls.
Most people are surprised to find out that the tiles don’t actually waterproof their roof; it is the underlayment or felting. Although the tiles are built to last a lifetime, the key to a watertight tile roof is in how they are installed. The tile acts as a protectant, but it is the roof felting that does all the work.
In the San Diego area, most tile roofs that are over 15 years old only have a 30 lb. thickness underlayment (or only one layer of paper). This dramatically increases the chances your roof will leak. The ideal installation in San Diego is 2 layers of 40 lb. paper. When getting your tile roof redone, you will want to make sure that your contractor is not just using two layers of 30 lb. paper or one layer of 40 lb. paper.
Because the underlayment does most of the work, this also means that you can reuse your existing tiles if you are looking to save some money.
Another major flaw we see throughout these tile roofs is that pipe flashings are not used. All those funny pipes you see sticking through your roof to vent your heater and hot water system are often packed with concrete to seal around the pipe and the tile. This becomes a major problem over time because the concrete will expand and break away from the pipe, which in turn allows water to leak through. When reroofing, make sure you use pipe flashings that are specifically designed and made to flash your vent pipes.
By using the proper metal flashing and underlayment you can ensure that your roof will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about the best way to protect your roof, feel free to contact me at (858) 537-6490.