How to Repair a Leak in a Tile Roof

Clay tiles are a popular roofing material in American homes built in the Southwest, as they are consistent with the Spanish mission style of construction.

Tile roofs are designed to allow water to run off the end of one tile and onto another tile until the water eventually runs off the roof. When a roof tile cracks, water seeps into the crack rather than onto the next lower tile, resulting in leaks. Luckily, replacing a cracked roof tile takes little time and only a few tools.

Lift the tile just above the broken tile enough to wedge a wood strip underneath the tile. Wedging the tile above the broken title is necessary to access the top the broken tile where the tile's nail is located.

Break the tile into small pieces by gently tapping the tile with a hammer until the tile's nail no longer secures the tile in place. Remove the debris from the tile, then remove the single tile nail with a pry bar.

Attach a tile clip to the roof. When a tile roof is initially installed, the tiles are installed starting from the bottom of the roof and are secured to the roof with a single nail. Installing a new nail with the replacement tile is a difficult task because the bottom of the tile located just above the broken tile will make hammering a new nail difficult, if not impossible. For this reason, tile clips are used to hold the replacement tile in place. The clip has a hook on the bottom of it. This hook holds the bottom of the new tile in place, while a nail at the top of the clip secures the clip to the roof. To install the clip, hammer the clip's nail into the wooden roof support located in the area of the roof the tile will cover.

Remove the wood wedge used to lift the tile above the damaged tile while using one hand to keep the tile in a raised position. Slide the top of the new tile underneath the upper tile, then lower the upper tile.

Pull the new tile toward the hook at the bottom of the tile clip gently until the bottom of the tile rests securely within this clip to complete the repair.

Things You Will Need

  • Wood strip
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Tile clip

About the Author

John Stevens has been a writer for various websites since 2008. He holds an Associate of Science in administration of justice from Riverside Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. Stevens is a lawyer and licensed real-estate broker.