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Tile Roof Landing.

Why Do Roof Tiles Crack?

Roof tile cracks can happen due to several causes. It is not uncommon for older, untreated clay tiles to crack when they are installed in a home located in an area that regularly experiences rain because moisture is able to seep into pores of the clay tiles which will then expand when heated by the sun causing the tile to crack. However, in Florida, the most common cause of cracks in roof tiles is damage caused by strong winds and hurricanes.

Vulnerable areas include roof valleys and areas of penetration. In areas where the crack has led to a full horizontal or vertical break, it is unwise to use adhesive to fix the crack. The solution in this instance is most likely replacement.

Unlike older clay roofing tiles, modern terracotta clay tiles are much stronger than the older clay tiles because their coating prevents moisture from penetrating its surface. This makes terracotta roof tiles very durable and allows them to be able to withstand water and  temperature swings better than older clay tiles. However, no matter how good the newer tiles are, they often fail and crack when they are subjected to the wind and rain forces of a hurricane or tornado.

Boral cement tiles are similar to terracotta roof tiles. While they are very good, strong, and hardy roof tiles, even cement roof tiles can develop cracks. Concrete roofing tiles have an average water absorption of about 13%, while clay roofing tiles have a water absorption of about 6 %. Because of this, it can be said that untreated concrete roof tiles are more likely than clay tiles to be damaged and crack from water absorption. Regardless, these tiles also often fail and crack due to storm and hurricane damage.

In general, the most common reasons why roof tiles crack are from damage caused by hail or severe storms. However, in regards to cracked roof tiles, bad weather is not the only reason why roofing tiles crack. Some causes are just unavoidable accidents. 

The most common accidents which can cause roof cracks are foot traffic, fallen tree branches, and protruding nails from underneath. Unlike your “classic” shingle roof, a tile roof is much more sensitive to how weight is distributed across a roof tile. While this does not have any bearing on an undisturbed roof tile, it has an immense effect when additional weight or force is put onto the tile, like foot traffic across the roof. 

Accidental Causes of Roof Tile Cracks

Besides weather events, such as hurricanes, hail, strong gusts of wind, extreme heat, and freezing cold, there are other unexpected causes of roof tile cracks, here are few of them:

Foot traffic – one of the causes of roof tile cracks is when inexperienced people walk on the roof and unknowingly step on tiles in a way that causes them to crack. This is why you should only allow licensed contractors, roofers, inspectors, and adjusters onto your roof. That being said, roof tiles are perfectly capable of supporting a persons weight without breaking, and simply walking across a tile roof does not mean that the tiles will crack by default.

Fallen tree branches – if you have a tree growing next to your home, you may want to make sure that there are no branches hanging over your roof, that’s because old fallen tree branches are one of the main causes of roof damage.

Protruding nails – Sometimes, the improper installation of a roofing system can lead to some roofing tiles being set improperly due to a protruding nail. A protruding nail will lift the tile up, and when any weight or force is applied it will crack.

In summary,  any hard physical contact or impact can crack or break roof tiles, and taking steps to protect your roof can ultimately save you a lot of money in repairing and replacing roof tiles.

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