Tile Roof

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  • Solar install on clay tile?

    Mar 1, 2023

    Looking for recommendations for a solar installer on an old clay tile roof.  Many contractors are unwilling to work on these roofs due to the tiles cracking and breaking when walked upon, so I'd love to get some help finding a good solar installer who's willing to work on this type of roof.  Thanks!

    We had solar installed on our tile roof about five years ago by Bill Wong at Interstate Roofing and Solar. They did a fantastic job, and I would highly recommend them. We needed to have the original (90 year-old) roof replaced and decided it was time to add solar while they were at it. They removed all the tiles, replaced the underlying felt material, installed solar panels, and put back the necessary tiles around the solar panels. 

    Yes, West Coast Solar works with clay roofs. In fact, they have a roofing contractor license, which should give some reassurance that they are well-equipped to take this on. I used them for our home and recommend them highly. Try reaching out to Mike Kleeman at mikek [at] westcoastsolar.com or 925-334-4959. He's a former roofer who know does residential solar for West Coast Solar and can talk you through the risks, options, etc. Let him know that Dan S. referred you.

  • Can anyone recommend a great roofer who can replace a Spanish tile roof?  Apparently, the existing tile needs to be removed, the underlayment replaced and the salvaged tiles need to be re-set.  

    No responses received.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Need to replace our roof - thinking about Spanish tiles

March 2009

We bought our first home in October 2008, knowing we'd need to get the roof replaced soon-ish. Well, all the rain has moved that to the top priority on our list so we're looking for info.

We own a 1920s stucco/wood frame bungalow in Oakland. We currently have a shingle roof that's got four layers on it according to the home inspection report. The inspector we spoke to said to have them all removed and completely replace the roof. Is that necessary? Will it cost way more? Will we have major problems if we forgo his recommendation and stack another layer on?

Lastly, we think our house would look lovely with spanish tile roofing but we don't know anything about them. Any pros or cons to getting spanish tile versus 40 year shingles or something else? Any thoughts on how much either would cost. Our house is single-level and about 1200 square feet with moderate pitched roofs (not like a tudor, but not flat either) on a flat lot. Any advice or recommendations of great roofers would be appreciate as well. Thanks BPNers! Newbie to homeownership

Spanish tiles can be pretty but they are really heavy and shouldn't be put on a house that was not designed for them. If you are building a house from scratch and you want a tile roof, then the tile roof has to be installed before the windows are installed because the weight of the tile roof compresses the building's framing. There are new synthetic roofs that are not as heavy but be ready for sticker shock.

If you have 4 layers of old roofing on your roof it is heavy and is just creating spaces for water to accumulate. You really do need to strip them off. At the very least it makes for a bumpy surface and the new roof won't last as long because of it. If your roof doesn't have plywood on it then now is the time to do that as well. If you get a lot of sun I'd put in a radiant barrier as well. And it's most likely that you will also want to redo your gutters at this point... Paul

You may need to beef up your roof structure (and foundation) for a tile roof. Tile is much heavier than shingle - I would consult a structural engineer before embarking on this project. As you probably already know, it is also costlier although does last longer. Good luck! Architect

Spanish tiles roof looks great, however they can be quite heavy. Again, you have to consider whether your roof framing can take the weight. After all, you don't want to end up with sagging roof.

I'm a homeowner and also a structural engineer. I understand your concern about replacing the shingle roof entirely since it would probably be less expensive to just add another layer of shingle roof. However, adding another layer, on top of the 4 layers that are already there, would means that more weight is added to the roof framing. Your roof framing may not be strong enough to carry the added weight. I've seen situation where roof caved in and framing member just basically snapped only to find out there were multiple layers of roofing. In this case, I agree with your home inspector to replace the roofing.

In your situation, I suggest that you talk to a reliable roof contractor. He would be able to advise you which roof materials to use and what needs to be done if you opt for the spanish tile roof, and also any permit requirement. You might also want to call your local building department and see what you need to do if you were to replace the roof to a heavier roof materials. Not try to scare you, but they might ask for a structural evaluation of the existing roof for the new heavier load. I hope this helps. Goodluck!

Tile Roofer

June 2002

I've looked at all the past recommendations for roofers on the website but I wanted to know if anyone had any recommendations specifically for a tile roofer. I have a spanish style tile roof and I have heard that some roofers who are great with a regular shingle roof sometimes aren't so great with the tile. thanks for your help. - Patricia

I can reasonably recommend David Robles of Robles Roofing (925) 679-9131. We had our tile roof replaced earlier this year and had a tough time finding recommendations for good tile roofing companies. Robles and Flagler were the two companies that were recommended to us. We got references for both and there were pros and cons for both. We finally decided to get back in touch with the guy who inspected our house before purchase 8 years ago, who had David Robles do the original roof inspection at that time, and we ultimately decided to go with David and were happy with the results. - Shoshana