Tile Talk: Maintenance Program

The Roofing Industry’s Untapped Market

by Richard K. Olson, president & technical director, Tile Roofing Industry Alliance









(Editor’s Note: Richard K. Olson is president and technical director for the Tile Roofing Industry Alliance. The association represents industry professionals involved in the manufacturing and installation of concrete and clay tile roofs in the United States and Canada, and works with national, state, and local building officials to develop installation techniques, codes, and standards for better roofing systems. Olson can be reached at rolson@tileroofing.org.)


As roofing professionals, we can play a role in helping to extend the overall life of the roof assembly through regular inspection and maintenance programs. For steep-slope roofs, there are specific areas that when properly maintained will significantly increase the life of the roof performance.



Removing debris will ensure that any water that might breach the system will not be trapped.


Raised Fascia

When fascia are installed, the use of an anti-ponding material will help prevent the backup of water against the wood, which could lead to issues of performance with underlayment.



During maintenance inspections, the method of attachment can be noted for future monitoring. For roofing tile, we can have direct deck, batten, or raised batten installation methods.



The ridge treatment should be inspected to ensure proper attachment to the ridge riser. It should also include inspection of weather blocking at the interaction of the field and ridge tiles.



The rake provides the transition from the field tile to the end of the roof area. Inspection for proper fasteners and weather blocking should be performed.



Maintenance should include cleaning of all valley areas and removing any obstacles. For batten installations, make sure that batten extenders are used in the valleys to prevent channeling of water from the valley under the tile.


Roof to Wall

Ongoing inspection to ensure water is being properly directed onto the tile, or off the roof without obstructions, is important for long-term performance.


Roof Penetrations

Inspection of the installation, sealing, and flashing can help identify any maintenance issues. Using code approved caulking, mortar, and other flexible materials can help prevent water intrusion. Over time these can degrade and create leak potentials. For larger penetrations, inspection of proper flashing and water diverters should be done. The anticipated tributary water upslope is important in the determination of cricket sizes for larger openings or structures.


Solar & HVAC

We often find accessories such as solar and HVAC are installed post roof installation by non-roofing professionals. In some solar installations, the solar panel areas are converted from tile to a lower height material to reduce the panel height. Make sure there is a proper flashing design to allow the water to transition out of the lower roof surface. This flashing will need to be installed on all sides of the boxed-out area.


Field Tile

Inspection and identification of broken tile can be easily performed, and the broken tiles can be replaced during routine maintenance.



During inspections of roof tile applications, it is easy to remove a tile to view the condition of the underlayment. The condition can be noted and repair options presented to the building owner.