• Alas & Bravo

Clay Tile Roof Repairs

Updated: Aug 26, 2021


To the right, I completed an area repair on a tile roof in Irvine. The leaking roof created a visible stain on the ceiling indicating that the underlayment and plywood needed to be replaced. But what caused the leak on this beautiful tile home in the first place?


Tile roofs are known for their long lifespan and durability. The tile's shape and design help rapidly channel water off of the roof onto the ground below. When properly applied, the mortar's water-tight seal on each tile protects the underlayment below and prevents water from finding its way into your home.




In a roofing system, although the underlayment does helps prevent leaks, it does not have the durability nor the lifespan of the external tile layer. It is not made to withstand prolonged water or elemental exposure. It is the second and last line of defense to water intrusion.


Any breach in the water-tight seal left unattended will lead to water damage that greatly reduces the roof's lifespan. To address the leak, I completed a tile relay in an area of the home larger than the leak visible on the ceiling inside.





The roofing system directly above the leak area showed signs of prior smaller repairs, where the paper underlayment was replaced. It was a patch job that did not fix the leak nor stop it at its source.


The source of the leak was a breach in an area higher up on the roof. There the water seeped down until it ran its course to the area where it caused the most visible damage. The underlayment's prolonged exposure to water resulted in the plywood below needing to be replaced. After that, I installed 2 layers of ASTM #30 underlayment for additional protection. Finally, I reinstalled the tiles that had been temporarily removed and stacked.


I reinstalled the tiles on this roof by applying mortar only. With this method of installation, only the tiles at the perimeter of the area need to be mechanically fastened with nails. This method results in fewer nail holes penetrating the roofing system; from the tiles above, through the underlayment, to the plywood below where it grips.


With 30 years of experience, I am familiar with the proper overlap the tiles need to provide protection. In addition to a water-tight seal, my precise application of mortar on the tile produces a textured look, adding to the natural appeal of this popular material.