How to Walk on Clay Roof Tiles

Written by brenda priddy
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How to Walk on Clay Roof Tiles
Walking on a tile roof requires a few tricks. (tile roof image by Sergejs Kostjucenko from

Tile roofs are usually made of red claylike materials, although they can also be made from cement. Tile roofs are made in the traditional Roman style, with rounded tiles and overlapping edges. This style of roof adds character to any house. When it comes time to repair the roof, however, or you must walk on it for any other reason, a tile roof can be a disadvantage. You can employ a few different tricks to prevent the tiles from breaking if walking on the roof becomes necessary.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Ladder
  • Plywood sheets
  • Scrap carpet

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  1. 1

    Wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles when walking on tile roofs. If you wear shoes with slippery soles, you can easily slip right off the roof. Tie your shoelaces tight so that you do not trip over the laces as you walk over the roof.

  2. 2

    Place a ladder against the roof in a level, sturdy area. Lean the ladder against the house. Climb the ladder, and slowly crawl onto the roof. The main problem with tile roofs is that the tiles are brittle and can easily crack or break if you apply too much pressure to them. To alleviate this, make sure to evenly distribute your weight at all times. Never rest your whole weight on one tile. Always stand on two tiles with equal weight on each. If you see a cracked tile, do not stand on it.

  3. 3

    Step on the back third of all tiles, which is where the tile connects to the above layer of tile. If you stand on the edge of the tile that is hanging off the roof, it will break off. Some tiles also have metal strips between tiles, which you can stand on with no damage to the tiles or roof.

  4. 4

    Take a piece of scrap carpet and a plywood board up on the roof with you if you must work on the roof for extended periods, such as when repairing the roof or repairing the chimney or roof vents. Place the carpet over the tiles, cloth side down. Place the plywood over the carpet. You can then stand or sit on the board to relieve the pressure off of individual tiles and distribute the weight evenly across all tiles.

Tips and warnings

  • Never climb on a tile roof when it is wet.
  • If the pitch of the roof is extremely steep, do not use the carpet method. The carpet will slip right off and cause serious injury to anyone sitting on it.

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