One of the main problems that you may encounter with concrete roof tile is improper installation. Installing the tile is a difficult process, which can lead to errors by installers. In fact, special training and skills are necessary to install a concrete tile roof correctly, so it is not a do-it-yourself project. Cutting around roof protrusions and valleys is particularly difficult because the tile is so hard. It requires a special saw and a great deal of time. Installing the tile on small sections of the roof and architectural features presents similar issues. In addition, the nail procedure for concrete tile is complex since each lugged tile requires a single nail while each non-lugged tile requires two. All of these steps are crucial because improperly installed concrete tile is more likely to suffer damage from rain, snow, wind and hail, so your roof does not last as long as it should.
Concrete roof tile is usually quite durable. However, you may have problems if you live in an area that experiences freezing and thawing cycles regularly. Moisture can penetrate the underlayment sides and tile butts on a concrete roof. As a result, constant freezing and thawing can result in cracked and broken tile as moisture seeps beneath the surface and tiles expand when it freezes. Snow and rain accompanied by strong winds may also damage a concrete tile roof.
While concrete roof tile is available in a variety of colors, it's not colorfast like clay tile. When exposed to rain, snow and sun, concrete tile begins to fade. Even tile that is impregnated with pigment throughout its thickness can lose its color. In fact, a concrete roof may begin fading as early as the first year. As a result, when you replace a broken tile with a new one, it won't match the rest of the roof.
Like many types of roof tile, concrete tile can crack easily under certain conditions. Moisture damage may result in broken tiles, and concrete tile may also crack if it is walked on during repairs or inspections. Roofing professionals know the proper technique for walking on the roof without breaking the tile, so call an expert if you suspect damage to your roof. If you need to inspect the roof, use a ladder and binoculars. In addition, avoid lightweight concrete tile, which is less expensive but more likely to break than standard weight tiles.