Converting Your Roof From Shingles To Tiles (or Vice Versa)

Roof Repair, Roofing

If you are in the Phoenix Valley area and it’s time for a new roof, you might be considering trading your shingle roof for tile. There are many advantages to converting your roof from shingles to tile, including significantly enhancing your curb appeal and getting the biggest bang out of your home improvement investment.

While the initial investment for installation will be higher than shingles, beautiful, durable, sustainable tile roofs can easily last twice as long or more than shingles. In addition, tiles provide superior protection from rain, high winds, and damage from Arizona’s high UV levels than shingles do. One final point. Clay and concrete tiles are excellent insulators, due to the layer of air beneath them, which is important in Arizona’s summer heat.

Installing a Tile Roof

So, we get back to the fundamental question, can you convert a shingle roof to one covered in tile? The answer is generally yes, although there may be some caveats.

  • Tile is typically twice as heavy as shingles. Your roof is designed to support a specific weight. Consequently, the first step in conversion is a structural inspection of the existing roof to ensure no structural issues need to be corrected before installing the tile.
  • Once the roof has been cleared to support the weight, existing shingles and underlayment are removed, exposing the roof deck. Roof decks are typically made of plywood and should be inspected for rot and cracks before the actual installation begins. The same goes for flashing around chimneys, vents, valleys, etc. A solid deck is a foundation for a long-lasting roof.
  • New underlayment is the waterproofing foundation of your new tile roof, providing the first line of defense against the elements. Self-adhering underlayment can give even more protection.   Our experience with synthetic underlayments has shown most are a poor underlayment for tile roofs and would advise caution if a synthetic underlayment is recommend to you.
  • Finally, tile roof installation quality depends heavily on the skill and experience of the tradesmen who do the actual work. Tile is not as simple as just nailing shingles. Rows of wood battens are installed. The tile is then nailed to the battens in an overlapping pattern. Getting that overlap exactly right is vital both for protection and appearance. Similar challenges exist for cutting clay or concrete tiles to fit valleys, flashing, and edges. Having an experienced crew is crucial.

Your Roof Conversion Options

If you decide to convert to a tile roof, one of your biggest challenges will be selecting from the wide range of colors and shapes that tile comes in. A nice feature of colored tile is that it will not fade with exposure to the sun like many asphalt-based shingles. Most tile is now made with color integral in the concrete or clay, so the color you select will remain for the life of the roof.

In the rare instance where a homeowner wants to convert from tile to shingle, they should be aware they are taking on a labor-intensive project. Obviously, the tile has to be removed, a task in itself, but then the battens and possibly the underlayment (some tile underlayments are not suitable for asphalt shingles), Other features like bird shields edging for leading tiles also need to be removed. The conversion is possible, but it will probably be more expensive than a straight shingle reroof job.

When You’re Ready

Your most important option is the roofing company you select. There is no shortage of roofers in the Mesa, Phoenix Valley area but, if you want professionals, highly experienced in tile roofing, who have a reputation for integrity and reliability, then you need to contact us at Roofstar Arizona, Inc. Contact us today and let’s get started with a roof inspection.

Free Assessment for Homeowners

We can handle all kinds of residential roof repairs. Call us today to schedule an assessment with one of our Field Inspectors. We also assist with insurance claims. Learn more about Our Real Estate Services.

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