Roofing Concrete tile roof leaking, concrete tile roof, tile roofing

Roofing Concrete tile roof leaking, concrete tile roof, tile roofing


Expert: Stan Skarbek — 3/9/2004


I know you said tile roofing is not your area of expertise, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway.

We bought a single story house (built in 1991) three years ago that has a large spanish style roof with concrete tiles manufactured (I believe) by Moneer(?). There is a plywood decking underneath with one layer of 30# felt. The roof began leaking as soon as we moved in. For the first fix, we had a roofing contractor caulk nailholes that were exposed, hoping that would solve the problem. It didn’t. The next time we developed several leaks we went to another roofing company, and they said the tiles had not been installed uniformly with the minimum overlap. In some places the exposure was as much as 14-1/2 inches, where it should have been no more than 13-1/2, I believe. They recommended removing the tile, replacing the worn felt with two layers of #30 and then relaying the existing tile. They did this on two section of the roof where we were having the problems. Three months later, after a heavy rain we developed leaks in two new areas. They did the same process in those sections of the roof. For those two fixes alone, we paid $7,000 (about $3500 apiece). Now it is a year later, and we’ve just had another heavy rainfall, which has resulted in several new leaks. Our roofers came out and said the roof is failing in new areas for the same reason (nail holes are exposed because the installation was shoddy) and they are bidding on doing the same process in two other sections. With what it’s costing us, we’re beginning to think we should have just gotten bids on replacing the whole damn thing, and be done with it.

Is the original builder (who happens to be a neighbor) in any way responsible here? We had a professional home inspection when we bought the house, and he checked the roof, but reported no problems at the time. With this and other unexpected repairs we’ve had to contend with since acquiring our "dream home," we feel like we’ve moved into the proverbial "money pit."

Any suggestions on the roof? How do I go about finding a really reputable roof restorer who is an expert on concrete tile roofs in our area? (We live in Southern California). Why should we even need to replace the felt underlayment on a roof that is barely thirteen years old, when we live in a place that hardly gets any rain?

Any advice will be appreciated!



Hi Estelle,

I can help you on this one. The original builder isn’t responsible, although, if you can track down the original roofer from 13 years ago, it’s possible that the owner of that roofing company might have a conscience and might want to give you a very special deal on taking care of the problems.

Roofing Concrete tile roof leaking, concrete tile roof, tile roofing

The problem that you’re having is easily missed by a home inspector. For future reference, if you buy a home, hire a licensed roofing contractor to inspect the roof. There are too many possible problems in a roof that a non-roofer may not see, and the roof is too important to take a chance on it.

After 13 years, if you lift and reinstall the tiles, it’s a very wise decision to replace the asphalt felt paper. Thats a relativing low cost thing to do. Over time, even without being exposed to the sun, the felt paper loses it’s ability to be bent. When the tile loses it’s flexibility, you’re just a hop, skip and a jump from leaking felt paper.

Remember that you don’t do things in the roofing system to prepare for the sunny days. Even if you don’t get rain often, you have to plan for rain, in how you build your roof.

On finding a good roofing contractor, I recommend going to the local Roofing Wholesale Company and ask the manager for a few recommendations. He’s going to recommend people who pay their bills, and that is a good indicator of a persons character, in my opinion.

Good luck in the process,

Your roofer with a keyboard,

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