Leaking Roof Tiles

Updated November 21, 2016

A leaky roof is not something a homeowner wants to find. It causes major damage if not corrected, and can be expensive to repair. If you have spotted a small leak in the roof, then you have probably caught it in time. Small leaks are normally caused by minimal damage such as a single tile, and you might be able to avoid major repairs by fixing the problem yourself.

Look in the attic or roof crawl space area to locate the leaky area. Note about where on the roof this would be.

Climb on the roof to find the tiles that are an issue. Go to the general area where you know the leak is and look for missing, broken, chipped or cracked tiles. Also look for tiles that might have shifted slightly out of place.

If they are asphalt tiles, straighten them up and staple into place with roofing staples. You will need to lift the tiles above slightly so that you can reattach them at the top edge of the tile. For clay-type tiles, just push them back into position. They are hooked over ridge that keeps them from sliding down.

Seal split or cracked asphalt tiles if you don't want to pull them off and replace them. Use roofing cement for these quick repairs. Clay tiles with cracks will need to be replaced.

Pull up asphalt shingle tiles to replace. Rock the tiles back and forth to loosen the staples. Slip new shingles in place, making sure to align them the same as the old ones. Lift the shingles above the ones you just put in place and staple the top of the new shingles to attach them to the roof.

Remove broken and cracked clay roof tiles. You might need to push up on the tile to release it from the ridging it is hooked onto. Lift the tile above it slightly so that you can get the tile out. Slip a new tile in its place by lifting the one above, and sliding the top of the tile in under it. Lay the tile down and pull down on the tile to hook it onto the ridging. There are notches in the tile that will rest on the ridging.


Use caution when working on the roof. Wear shoes that have good soles that grip so that you don't slip, and be careful on ladders. Set them so that they are on firm ground and are stable, and make sure someone is holding the bottom of the ladder when people are climbing up and down. Also it is best if you have help on the roof so that someone else is there in case you get hurt.

Things You'll Need

  • Roofing cement
  • New tiles
  • Nail gun
  • Roofing staples
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About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.