How to Install A Clay Roof Tile


If you’re looking to give your home a Spanish or Mediterranean look, a clay roof tile is the way to go. Aside from its elegant appearance, there are many other benefits that come along with clay roofing as well. Today we will discuss these benefits, as well as tell you how to install your own clay roof tile. So let’s not waste another minute!

What is clay roof tile?

Clay roofs are one of the oldest types of roofing, dating over 12,000 years ago in China. Clay is a natural material that is formed into a variety of different shapes for tiling. Once molded, it goes into a high-temperature kiln. They are usually terracotta red in color, but a glaze can make it a variety of other colors.

This type of tiling is strong and durable but it can only be used in certain weather climates. Climates that experience freeze and thaw cycles cannot use clay roofing. But if you live in a climate that is warm year-round, clay tiling can be a great option.

What are the benefits of clay tile roofing?

● Clay roofing is very durable. This type of roofing is resistant to fire, insects, and rot. It is extremely durable and has a long lifespan if properly cared for. A well-maintained clay roof can last up to 100 years or more. This makes it one of the most durable roofing materials. 
● Clay roofing is low maintenance. Clay roofing is more expensive than metal roofing, roof shingles, and other roofing types but it also doesn’t require as much maintenance. Over time, this lowers the total cost of ownership and can even out any extra up-front fees. 
● Clay roofing regulates rooftop temperatures. When installed properly, air is free to circulate beneath clay tile roofing. In turn, this helps to regulate the temperature of the roof, especially in hot weather. And as we all know, when the temperature of the roof is cooler so is the temperature within your home. As a result, clay tile roofing can help you to save on energy bills. 
● Clay roofing is attractive. Many people see clay roofing as one of the most beautiful of all roofing types. It’s common in Spanish and Mediterranean homes and can enhance the appearance of stone or brick siding.

Things to consider before you install a clay roof system:

1. Do you have the proper slope?

If your roof has a slope of less than 20 degrees, you should not use clay roofing. The greater the slope of the roof, the more attractive the aesthetic of the tiling. This type of material is ideal for cathedral-style roofing but not for flat roofs.

2. Do you know how to install the underlay?

When installing a clay tile roof, the underlay is of utmost importance. This is the material beneath the clay and will play a huge role in the durability of your roofing material. If your clay tiles break or it incurs some other type of damage, it will be your underlay that protects your home from water damage. An extra layer should be installed at the roof edge and in valleys to provide additional protection. 

3. Do you have experience laying the tiles?

In order for a clay roof to maintain its durability, it must be installed properly. If not installed properly, clay roofing can be subject to water damage as well as damage from high winds or other extreme weather. All fasteners should be resistant to corrosion, and all other materials like drip edge flashing and gutters need to be very high quality to match the durability of your tiles.

4. What type of material will you use?

There are several different types of clay tiles to choose from. The type you choose should be based on the climate in which you live. Each type of clay material can withstand different environmental conditions. Some of the most common types of clay tiling include:

  • Porcelain
  • Non-porcelain
  • Ceramic
  • Terracotta

How to install Clay Tile Roofing:

Step 1: Remove your old roofing (if applicable). Once you have removed your old roof system, prepare to install your new roofing by reinforcing your frame and making any necessary repairs.

Step 2: Install your underlayment. Prepare and install your underlayment by rolling it out in 10 foot long sections at a time. Secure it with nails at intervals of 24 inches. Overlap the underlayment as necessary.

Step 3: Prepare materials for obstacles. Chimneys, skylights, and other obstacles need to be considered when installing your clay tile roof. Be prepared to protect these areas with things like sealants, caulking, and metal flashing. Cut your underlayment to fit around these obstacles.

Step 4: Install Battens (when applicable). If the slope of your roof is steep, you might have to install battens to help fasten your tiling into place. Battens are thin pieces of material that run horizontally along your roofing and help to secure your clay tiling.

Step 5: Install your tiling. Working from one side of the roof first, install your tiling. As you get your tiling installed in one area you can start moving along the length of your roof. If you have battens, nail the clay tiles into those. If not, nail the tiles directly into your sheathing. Follow manufacturer directions to ensure they are properly installed. As you work your way along your roof, you may also have to cut your tiles to fit around obstacles like chimneys and skylights. All tiles should fit snugly around these areas.

Step 6: Install your ridge tiles. Ridge tiles play an important role in keeping rain and water out of your roofing. Use them to cap the tops of your roof.

And there you have it – that’s how you install your own clay roofing!

Should I attempt to install my own clay roofing?

Unless you are a professional and have been trained in clay roofing installation, you should never attempt to install it on your own. Here’s why:

● Roofing is a dangerous job. Whenever you are roofing, you’re working from a height. Climbing up ladders, working on steep surfaces, and climbing on roofing that may not be structurally secure puts you at heightened risk of injury. In fact, roofing is one of the most dangerous professions simply because of the reason that there are so many things that can go wrong. Unless you have the proper safety equipment and training, you should never attempt to repair or install your own roofing. 
● The durability of your clay roof depends on proper installation. As we mentioned earlier, clay roofing is extremely durable and can last upwards of 100 years. But this statistic only remains true if the roofing is installed properly. Poor installation of your roofing can drastically decrease it’s durability and longevity, leaving you to pay for new roofing before it’s time. 
● You can void your warranty. Clay roofing generally comes with a generous warranty but if it’s not installed properly this warranty can become void. Some manufacturers even state that your warranty is void as soon as it is installed by someone who isn’t considered a professional in the industry. This reason alone is enough to leave your roofing installation to the experts.

If you want to install clay roofing for your home, contact a local roofing contractor today to discuss your options.

Schedule a Roof Inspection with the Experts at

McAllen Valley Roofing Co.

Contact Information


5828 Sebastian Pl, Suite 102 San Antonio, TX 78249

Call Now ButtonClick to Call Now