How to build a tiled roof

Updated March 23, 2017

Tile roofs are an economical and stylish way to protect your home from the elements. A big advantage of having a tiled roof is that it is relatively easy to fix and replace single tiles. This means the bulk of the roof can last years without needing full replacement.

Select your preferred tile. There are many kinds of roofing tiles, including slate, concrete and clay. Concrete tiles are heavy and durable. Slate tiles are a little lighter and easier to break, requiring more frequent replacement. Clay tiles hold in coolness and warmth.

Make sure your roof is properly constructed. You will need a roof that has at least a 3/12 pitch, otherwise your roof could leak. Also, make sure that if you use a heavier tile, your roof is able to support it.

Lay down a layer of support. This is especially critical for concrete tiles. In general, 3/4-inch plywood will work well as a sheath for your tiles and should be laid down over all of the roof you wish to tile.

Lay down your underlayment. The underlayment is a sealed membrane that also serves to waterproof the roof. Most underlayments are made out of bitumen, a plastic-like material made from a variety of organic liquids and combined with felt. It provides extra weight and cushioning.

Lay down your tile. It is best to lay down a few sections of tile roofing together to ensure that the pieces are interlocking properly and have no gaps between them.

Affix your tile. Use a nail gun for this. Your local hardware store can help you determine the right size and nail for nailing your tile into place.

Install flashing around plumbing gaps or any other gaps and crevices that appear at risk for seepage. Flashing is usually made out of metal and comes in the form of thin sheets that can help provide extra protection from water leakage.

Things You'll Need

  • Roof tiles
  • Nail gun
  • Nails
  • Flashing
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About the Author

Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.