Gibsons Home Inspection, Concrete Roof Tiles

A Gibsons home inspection came across a relatively uncommon feature which was a roof covered with concrete tiles. How to advise the buyer about this roofing product?

Concrete roofing tiles are a rarity on the North Shore and Sunshine Coast, which is too bad as they can offer the homeowner 30 to 50 years of roofing life. The tiles themselves are made of water, sand and cement, formed under compression and typically steam dried. Here are some issues to consider when purchasing a property with such a roofing product:

  • Is there any sag in the roof? Shingles can weigh 2 to 4 lb/ft2. Repairing the timber framing will be expensive. Concrete tiles can be as heavy as 10 to 12 lb/ft2. The roof framing will be significantly massive, easily with 2 x 12 rafters, rather than the more common 2 x 4 ¬†factory built trusses.
  • Are there any cracked or uplifted tiles? This will create water entry points that can damage the interior framing and finishes. This may be caused by failed fasteners, others walking on the roof to clean gutters, service skylights or weather related events.
  • Have the ripple edges at stack penetrations, skylights, ridges and around the perimeter of the roof been properly sealed against water and pests? These locations require a special insert or technique to adequately seal the tile profile to another surface, be it rippled or flat. Otherwise expect pests and rodents in particular to make the attic space their home.

In Europe and South America, tiles have been used for centuries and construction techniques are well established. In Canada, being much more of a rarity, the home inspection with a concrete roof tile requires extra attention since experienced installation crews are less common.