Skip to content

How Long Does Tile Roof Underlayment Last?


When you consider your options for residential roofing, tile roofs are often considered a great choice. That’s because they’re well-suited to harsh desert-like climates and can also take on scorching sunlight, rain or even a storm. That said, these climate conditions can slowly deteriorate your tile roof’s underlayment (the material between the roof’s deck and the tile).

To ensure you know whether you need a tiled roof or not, you must first understand the lifespan of the underlayment and the cost to replace it. But first, let’s start by understanding the intricate structure of a tile roof.

A Close-up View at Tile Roofs

Compared to the other roofs you can find in Phoenix, Arizona, tile roofs have a more complex construction process. The roof has to bear significant weight of the tiles placed on it for decades and withstands challenging weather conditions. As a result, tile roofs have more regulations than shingle roofs.

The International Residential Code states that concrete or clay tile roofs must have a minimum pitch of 2:5:1. In comparison, slate roofs need to have a minimum pitch of 4:12. The foundation of every tile roof is the deck. The deck is the barrier between the inside and the outside world, and tiles are laid on it.

On the top of the deck, the underlayment is usually made from synthetic materials that give it waterproofing abilities after construction. Thin strips of material called battens are placed on the surface, and these act as anchors, hooks, or nails that hold the tiles in one spot.

Some tile roofs can also have supplemental features that help stand firm against tough weather conditions (especially in areas that experience freezing temperatures or heavy rains). These roofs may use extensive metal flashing to redirect water away from the roof. Roofs with chimneys may need a ridge-like structure to prevent the water from pooling at the base. But then again, shouldn’t all of this have an impact on the tile roof’s underlayment?

How Long Can the Underlayment Last?

The life of your tile roof’s underlayment depends primarily on the weather conditions your roof is exposed to in Phoenix, Arizona. In cold or scorching climates, the underlayment can degrade faster compared to a warm or cool climate. However, it’s almost a given that the underlayment will deteriorate faster than your tile roofing, so needless to say, you will have to replace it at one point.

Asphalt felt, which is the most widely used underlayment material, can last for 20 to 30 years. In extreme conditions, however, this life can be cut in half. You can also opt for a synthetic asphalt underlayment which can last for 25 or 35 years. This material is more stable and has higher tear resistance as well. In comparison, rubberised underlayment is high in polymer concentration which gives it waterproofing qualities.

The key to ensuring that your underlayment lasts long is to opt for regular inspections. All roofing experts recommend that you inspect your roof’s underlayment every 4 to 5 years to take all corrective measures. If something goes wrong, water can seep into the deck, which will threaten the structural integrity of your house.

Why Do People Opt for Tile Roofs?

Damage Resistance

Roofs are often subjected to a myriad of challenges, especially when confronted with the relentless assault of natural elements. The Southwest, in particular, experiences its share of tumultuous weather, notably during the monsoon season, where ferocious winds and intense storms can wreak havoc on roofing structures.

During these turbulent weather events, fragments of debris, ranging from small stones to branches, are hurled into the air with remarkable force. As these projectiles collide with rooftops, they can inflict significant damage, scraping away pieces of roofing material and leaving behind telltale signs of impact.

However, not all roofing materials are created equal in their ability to withstand such punishment. In the face of these formidable challenges, strong and resilient roofing materials, such as durable tiles, emerge as the unsung heroes of roof protection.

Tiles, renowned for their robust construction and formidable resilience, possess the inherent strength to endure the blows and nicks inflicted by airborne debris. Unlike more fragile roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles or wooden shakes, which may succumb to damage under similar circumstances, tiles stand firm against the onslaught, emerging virtually unscathed from the ordeal.

The inherent durability of tiles enables them to absorb the impact of flying debris with minimal consequences, preserving the integrity and aesthetics of the roof surface. Even in the wake of severe weather events, where lesser materials may falter, tiles remain steadfast guardians of the home, providing reliable protection against the elements.

As such, for homeowners in regions prone to inclement weather, investing in a robust tile roof offers unparalleled peace of mind and long-term value. With their proven track record of resilience and longevity, tile roofs stand as a testament to the enduring power of quality craftsmanship and superior materials in safeguarding homes against nature’s fury.

Fire Resistance

In addition to their exceptional resilience against rain and wind, tile roofs offer another invaluable benefit: superior heat resistance. This characteristic makes them a veritable godsend, particularly in densely populated neighborhoods where the risk of fire spreading from one building to another looms large.

In densely packed urban areas, where buildings stand shoulder to shoulder, the threat of flames leaping from one structure to another during a fire is a constant concern. However, tile roofs serve as a formidable barrier against such a scenario, thanks to their remarkable heat-resistant properties.

When confronted with intense heat, whether from neighboring fires or scorching sun rays, tile roofs excel in dissipating and deflecting thermal energy. Their innate ability to absorb or reflect incoming heat ensures that your home remains comfortably cool even amidst the sweltering heat of the hottest days.

Unlike other roofing materials that may succumb to heat-induced damage or exacerbate indoor temperatures through poor insulation, tile roofs act as a thermal shield, effectively reducing heat transfer and maintaining a pleasant indoor environment.

By absorbing minimal heat and reflecting the majority of solar radiation, tile roofs play a pivotal role in minimizing heat buildup within the home, thereby reducing the need for excessive air conditioning and energy consumption. This not only enhances indoor comfort but also contributes to energy efficiency and lower utility bills—a win-win for homeowners and the environment alike.

In essence, the heat-resistant properties of tile roofs make them an indispensable asset in mitigating fire risks and combating heat stress in residential areas. With their ability to keep homes cool and comfortable even amidst the hottest days, tile roofs stand as a testament to the enduring value of quality craftsmanship and innovative design in creating resilient and sustainable living spaces.

As the best tile roofer in Phoenix, KY-KO has been trusted by thousands of homeowners and businesses since we got our start in 1994.

How Long Can the Roof Last?

The lifespan of a tile roof is contingent upon several factors, including the level of maintenance it receives and the type of materials used in its construction. In optimal conditions, well-cared-for tile roofs can provide decades—even centuries—of reliable service, depending on the material chosen.

Concrete tile roofs, for example, are renowned for their durability and longevity, with a lifespan of 50 years or more under proper maintenance. While clay tile roofs may command a higher initial investment, they offer an even longer lifespan, lasting up to 100 years or more. Despite their upfront cost, clay roofs boast excellent resale value, making them a sound investment for homeowners seeking enduring quality and aesthetic appeal.

For those seeking the pinnacle of longevity, slate tile roofs emerge as a premier option, with a lifespan ranging from 80 to an astonishing 200 years when properly maintained. The versatility of slate tiles, available in various shapes and sizes, adds to their allure, allowing homeowners to customize their roofs to suit their unique preferences and architectural styles.

However, even the most durable tile roofs are not immune to the effects of environmental factors and neglect. External elements such as bird droppings, leaves, and debris can compromise the integrity of tiles over time, weakening their foundation and diminishing their ability to effectively divert water off the roof’s surface.

Bird droppings, in particular, contain high concentrations of uric acids, which can gradually erode the protective coatings of tiles if left unchecked. Likewise, the accumulation of leaves and debris can create water dams on the roof, leading to moisture infiltration and potential damage to the underlying structure.

While tiles are designed to swiftly channel water away from the roof, the underlayment plays a crucial role in preventing water seepage into the home. Over time, however, the underlayment may deteriorate due to exposure to the elements, necessitating timely replacement to maintain the roof’s watertight integrity.

To ensure the longevity of your tile roof, it’s essential to prioritize regular maintenance and address potential issues promptly. By proactively addressing factors that can compromise the roof’s performance, homeowners can preserve the structural integrity and aesthetic appeal of their tile roofs for generations to come.

Kyko Roofing Systems Has Got You Covered

Rather than leaving the condition of your roof to chance and assuming that it’s impervious to damage, it’s imperative to conduct regular inspections to ensure its ongoing health and integrity. However, attempting to inspect your roof on your own can pose risks, especially when dealing with delicate tile materials. Incorrectly stepping on a tile can lead to cracks or other damage, potentially exacerbating existing issues.

For this reason, it’s advisable to enlist the expertise of a professional roofing contractor to perform thorough inspections and maintenance tasks. At KY-KO Roofing, we understand the unique challenges and intricacies of roofing in Arizona, and our team of skilled roofers has been trusted by homeowners across the state since our inception in 1994.

With decades of experience and a commitment to excellence, our roofers have earned a reputation for reliability, professionalism, and superior craftsmanship. When you choose KY-KO Roofing, you can rest assured that your roof is in capable hands, and every aspect of its health and performance will be meticulously assessed and addressed.

To schedule a comprehensive roof inspection or discuss your roofing needs with our knowledgeable team, simply give us a call today. Alternatively, you can conveniently fill out a form on our website, and one of our friendly representatives will promptly reach out to assist you.

Don’t leave the safety and integrity of your roof to chance. Contact KY-KO Roofing today to experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing your roof is in expert hands.