Despite being heavy and costly, tiles remain one popular roofing material due to their beautiful aesthetic look, durability, energy efficiency, resistance to decay, and low-maintenance quality. Because they can last for several years, people don’t hesitate to invest in a tile roofing system. Whether you go for tinted concrete, terra cotta, fired clay, or molded ones, tile roofs can ensure safety from natural elements, including high winds, fires, storms, and other related circumstances.
However, like other types of roofing, tile roofs are also susceptible to damage due to extreme weather conditions, debris, and other heavy materials falling on the roof, and even accidents caused by human errors. Although the damage can significantly affect the tiles, they don’t necessarily require replacement. In that case, a perfect tile roof restoration can be an effective solution. It involves specific processes, including cleaning, fixing, and recoating a roof.
Generally, restoring the tiles on your roof can help breathe a new sense of life into your property. A roof covered in broken tiles will not only look unappealing, but can actually damage your building if left for too long. If you are looking to sell your home this can be an especially good investment, with the average roof restoration adding around $10,000-$15,000 in value to your property.
To start, you may go the DIY route or seek help. If you don’t know what to do, working with professionals specializing in roof restoration can be an excellent option. They have the expertise, skills, and equipment to help them get the job done right without any problems. Yet if you believe you can do it yourself, you can also perform the process freely.
On the other hand, whether you have the skills to do the repairing and painting yourself, or will be hiring a professional tradesman to complete the work for you, there are a number of steps that should be followed in order to achieve a roof restoration that is not only attractive, but meets professional standards.
Step 1: Repair the tiles
The first step in tiled roof restoration is removing and replacing any tiles that are broken, cracked, or chipped. Most roof tiles in Australia are made of terracotta or concrete and can easily be matched to tiles in hardware stores if you do not have the original tiles. Tiles can usually be replaced very simply by using a flat ply bar to lift the above tiles and then sliding out the broken one. If the broken tile is nailed into the roof, you can use the ply bar to loosen the nail; once this is done, you can use the same method to slide the new tiles in. It is often worth checking the guttering and battens are in good condition on your roof before you begin your restoration, as this will ensure that you will not need to disturb the tiles in the future.
Step 2: Clean the roof
Once the tiles are repaired, you should clean your roof thoroughly to remove dirt and debris, giving you a clean base to work with. You will need an industrial-strength pressure washer to do this successfully, as it is important the chalky layer on top of the tiles is removed. A great tip is to really focus on the end tiles, called the tile noses, as many people forget to wash these. Great care needs to be taken not to flood the roof – you need to hold the nozzle at 60 degrees and move quickly – however, not cleaning these end tiles properly can make the restoration look unprofessional.
Step 3: Re-bed and point the tiles
Before repainting the tiles, you will most likely need to re-bed and re-point the roof. Re-bedding can be tricky to do, but you can find bedding rails in most hardware stores which can help with precision. Ridge caps will need to be removed and a new concrete bed laid, before re-laying the ridge caps. In most cases, this will need to be left to dry overnight before re-pointing can begin. Re-pointing is a fairly straightforward task. A polymer-based pointing mortar should be applied with a specific pointing trowel of 3-5mm – it is important that the mortar is flexible to be able to cope with the roof movements. If your roof does not need re-bedding, then pointing can just be applied over the pointing that is already on your roof. This should be left to dry for a day before moving on to the next step.
Step 4: Prime the tiles
Once the foundation of the restoration is complete, you will then need to prime the tiles. This can be done using a primer or sealer, and it is recommended that you use a 5/19 tipped airless paint machine. The amount of paint needed will depend on whether the roof tiles have previously been painted. If your roof has never been painted, this step will require around 15 litres per 100m2 to cover the whole area. For a pre-painted roof, the amount you need will be approximately 50% more, depending on the thickness of the previous coating.
Step 5: Apply a filler coat
Next you may need to apply a filler coat if your roof looks rough or patchy. This will build up the surface and create a smooth layer for the top coats to sit on. Similarly to how you would apply primer, you will need an airless paint machine with a slightly larger nozzle for the easiest method of applying filler coat. Using large sweeping motions will allow you to get an even coverage across the whole of the surface of the roof. If you are working with a flatter roof, it may be possible to apply the filler coat with a large roof roller. However, this is a lot trickier, and the finish will not look as professional. It is advised that you invest or borrow a paint machine to avoid an amateurish finish to your roof.
Step 6: Apply a double top coat
For this, you will again need a paint machine with a 5/19 nozzle to achieve the desired effect. Using an up and down motion when spraying will allow you create a seamless coating that will not look streaky. It is vital that you properly coat the tile noses, especially the bottom ones, as these often need an extra layer to cover any dips or general wear that they have. Ensuring that the noses are fully painted will give a professional look to the roof and really stand out against other DIY roofs. The amount of paint needed will differ depending on the type of tiles and their porosity. But generally, for 2 coats of paint, you will need 2 litres per 5m2 in order to get the perfect coverage. If your roof is very bare you may need to do three coats of paint, or an extra filler layer, to give you a better finish.
Step 7: Finishing touches
To give your roof the wow factor, it is important to touch up the parts that could not be sprayed. Hand painting the dutch gabes and barge capping, etc, will give your finished roof an impressive, cohesive look. Throughout each stage it is imperative that you wait for the filler and paint to dry, as this will allow the layers to blend together and create an even coat. Following these steps in order may sound tedious, but these extra touches are really worth it when it comes to the finished result.
Generally, a tile roof restoration doesn’t need to be challenging. You can handle the process seamlessly and quickly by taking note of the steps mentioned here. The more you know what to do from beginning to end, the higher your chances of getting a successful restoration job on your tile roofing system.
I appreciate you telling us that the first step of tiled roof restoration involves removing and replacing broken, cracked, or chipped tiles, and checking the guttering and battens to ensure they won’t disturb the tiles in the future. There was a storm in our area the other day, and I’m worried that it left significant damage to our tiled roof. I’ll have to contact a tile roofer soon to help restore it to good condition.