How to replace damaged clay roof tiles

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Lifestiles’ clay roof tiles are long-lasting and durable products. However, it is important to take care when laying and fixing clay roof tiles. This will help avoid damage and to maximise the lifetime duration of your roof. This will avoid the need for replacement clay tiles.

Clay Roof Tile Maintenance

When our clay roof tiles are installed accurately, they should last for well beyond their 30 year guaranteed lifetime. High-quality clay roof tiles will last a few decades. Some historical examples have even been recorded as remaining in situ for centuries.

To enhance the longevity of your clay roof tiles, we advise you to check them regularly for overgrown moss and lichen. Moss, lichens and the occasional dead pigeon can affect water flow. Areas which need most attention are usually gutters, valleys and rainwater channels. These should be regularly cleared of debris. These maintenance checks will help to prevent any damage to your clay roof tiles.

Damaged Clay Roof Tiles

One common cause of damage to clay roof tiles is people walking carelessly across them without the relevant equipment. If possible, ask window cleaners and satellite installers if there is another way to access the areas they need. However, if it is necessary to access the roof by ladder, make sure that ladders are not resting directly on tiles.

If individual tiles are damaged, it is best to replace them as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the roof. Tiles can be lifted up and any nails removed using a ‘slaters rip’ or ‘ripper’, then simply fit the replacement clay tiles. Here is a great video to help if you have not tried this before, and feel comfortable working at height.

Retiling An Old Roof Using Replacement Clay Tiles

For older buildings, it is sometimes necessary to strip the whole roof and start again. This is a task for professionals. Clay roof tiles will often last for decades, even centuries. However, their weakness, as with all roof tiles is fixing failure. Galvanised steel nails, clay nibs and riven oak pegs are all potential weak points which may necessitate retiling if present throughout the roof.

Depending on the listed status of the building, you may need approval from English Heritage or local authority conservation officers. In this case, it is recommended to salvage as many tiles as possible and re-use them amongst the new tiles. Replacement clay tiles should match the existing tiles as closely as possible and our handmade clay roof tiles are often the best due to their more rustic appearance.

When tiles are salvaged for re-use, they should always be assessed for quality to ensure that their lifespan is sufficient. Some suggest that no more than 50% of the new roof should be made up of salvaged tiles.

Damaged clay roof tiles or fixings can be a problem for older roofs. Handmade clay roof tiles tend to provide the best likeness, especially when matching to salvaged tiles from the existing roof. It is best to prevent damage occurring in the first place but there are various solutions to the problem. If you’re trying to match new clay roof tiles to salvaged ones, please get in contact to discuss your project with one of our helpful experts. Alternatively, request a sample via our website

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