With a little care from you, your new clay roof could last over 100 years. It could be the last roof that you ever put on your home. Here are some of the regular maintenance tasks that you can do to get such a long life from your roof.

1. Clean the roof off regularly.

Dirt and organic debris from the yard and surrounding trees can make the clay tiles look dull. If leaves, sticks and other materials allow water to saturate the tiles in an area, algae can grow. These plants send tiny roots down into the clay, which can crack and break tiles. To kill and remove any algae growing on the tiles:

  1. Mix equal parts water and chlorine in a household yard sprayer.
  2. Soak the tiles thoroughly, making sure any tiles covered with algae are soaked well.
  3. Using a stiff brush, scrub the tiles, making sure you get down into the edges as far as you can.
  4. Rinse the tiles off completely with fresh water.

If you use a power washer for any of the roof cleaning, always use the low setting and work from the top of the roof down. Never point the nozzle up into the tiles because you may force tiles to come off the roof.

2. Repair cracked tiles.

When you spot cracked tiles, repair them quickly before water can get under the tile to form a roof leak.

  1. Clean all of the loose material out of the cracked tile.
  2. Clean any dirt and debris from the surface of the tile.
  3. Force silicone sealer from a tube or caulking gun into the crack.
  4. Wipe any excess from the tile.

When the sealer has dried, you should have a hard time spotting your repair from the ground.

3. Replace broken tiles.

Tiles that are broken and have large pieces missing pose the threat of a leak. They should be replaced as soon as you notice them. This is a more complicated job than repairing a crack, so if you feel unsafe doing this work, have a roofing contractor replace the broken tiles.

  1. Use a hammer to carefully break up the tile to be replaced into small pieces that you can remove from the roof.
  2. Be very careful not to crack the adjoining tiles.
  3. Reach under the overlapping tile and pull out any remaining nails from where the broken tile was installed.
  4. Apply a layer of roof sealer on the top portion of the tile that will slip under the overlapping tile.
  5. Apply a bead of sealer on the edges of the new tile that will overlap the lower tile.
  6. Slip the new tile up under the overlapping tile and push into place, aligning it with the other tiles in the row.
  7. If you're careful where you put the sealer, you won't be able to spot the repair when done.

For more information about keeping your clay tile roof in good condition, contact a local roofing expert.