A new terra cotta roof can protect a home for more than a century. To make sure you get that kind of life from your roof, there are a few regular maintenance tasks you can do. Here is how to make sure this is the last roof you'll ever need to put on your home.
Keeping the Roof Clean
Dirt and pollen can build up on the clay tiles creating a dull appearance. If part of your roof stays damp for long periods, algae can grow on the tiles. These plants extend small roots down into the tiles to hold the plant in place. The roots can cause tiles to crack and leak. To keep your roof looking nice and prevent water leaks, clean off the roof regularly.
- Mix a solution of equal parts chlorine and water.
- Place the mixture in a sprayer.
- Soak the roof tiles thoroughly, especially in areas where algae is present.
- Scrub the tiles with a long-handled brush where you can reach the tiles safely from a ladder.
- Rinse off the roof gently with a garden hose, but not a power washer, which may force tiles up off of the roof.
For a larger roof where you can't reach all of the tiles safely from a ladder, have a residential roofing contractor clean the roof for you.
Repairing or Replacing Damaged Tiles
Tiles that are cracked allow water to leak into the house. Cracked tiles should be repaired as soon as they are spotted.
- Clean the cracked tile and allow it to dry thoroughly.
- Fill the crack with clear silicone sealer from a tube or caulking gun.
- Force sealer into the crack to create a waterproof seal.
- Wipe excess sealer off of the outside of the tile and you'll barely notice the repair from the ground.
When a tile is broken completely through and missing pieces, it must be removed and replaced. Clay tiles are installed in a waterfall pattern. The first row is installed at the bottom edge of the roof with subsequent rows overlapping the row under it. This makes getting to the nails that hold the tiles onto the roof difficult to get to. Use the following steps to replace a broken tile:
- With a hammer, break the tile up into pieces and remove them from the roof. Be careful not to crack the surrounding tiles.
- Remove the nails from under the overlapping tile that held the broken tile in place.
- Apply roof sealer to the top of the new tile and on the edges that contact the lower tile.
- Position the new tile under the overlapping tile and push gently until securely in place and lined up with the existing tiles.
- Take care to put sealer only on the portion of the tile that will be covered by the overlapping tile and you'll not be able to spot the repair from the ground.
As with cleaning the roof, have a roofing contractor, such as All American Roofing Incorporated, repair broken tiles that you can't reach safely