What you need to know about tile roofs in Arizona

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Concrete tile and composition shingle roofs

In colder climates the standard roof is asphalt composition shingle.  However in Arizona concrete tile roofs are now more common than composition shingle roofs at least in the Phoenix area.  Properly installed, tile roofs can last longer and can offer a better insulation system for the house than standard composition shingle roofs.  The upfront cost of concrete tile roofs is higher, but they have a longer lifespan. Even though tile roofs appear sturdy and almost indestructible, it would be an error to believe that they can be installed without requiring any future maintenance or inspection. It is very common that during a house inspection cracked, displaced and broken tiles will be found.  Repairs to a tile roof when found early are relatively inexpensive, but if left unattended the repair cost will increase significantly.

Do tile roofs in Arizona require maintenance?

Roof ValleyFirst of all I want to point out that I am not a licensed roofer but I have attend hundreds of inspections and in many cases the roof condition has required roof repairs.  I want to point out a couple of roof problems I’ve seen that when given proper attention major repairs can be avoided.

* The most obvious one is cracked, broken, or displaced shingles.  While you may think concrete tiles are indestructible, the hot Arizona sun takes a toll on everything even concrete roof tiles. Microbursts and high winds can also take a toll. `  The risk of having a cracked, broken, or displaced tile is the exposure of the underlayment which is the black felt like material under the tiles. Once exposed, the underlayment degrades rapidly over time and loses its effectiveness in protecting the house from water that gets under the tiles.

* Where roof lines meet the water is carried to the side of the house by metal flashing or a valley. When debris such as leaves, twigs, dirt or anything that prevents the water from flowing it backs up and overflows onto the underlayment.  If this happens repeatedly and with time, the risk is that the water will seep through the underlayment and damage the plywood, penetrating the ceiling and enter the house.  Then you’ll realize that you have a problem that has been years in the making.

The solution is to have a roofer inspect your roof regularly (I recommend every 2 years)  to make sure you don’t have any of the above conditions.  The repair cost will be minimal when problems are found during a regular inspection compared to the cost when you notice water seeping through the ceiling!

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