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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

Several roofs may face countless problems when fragments crash against them. This scrapes up pieces off the roof. In Phoenix, Arizona, the monsoon season can have powerful gushes of wind that toss small stones and branches into the air. A strong tile can easily take the blows and nicks and hardly show any signs of damage.

Fire Resistance

Apart from resisting damage from rain, tiles also do a good job of resisting heat. They can seem like a godsend in a crowded neighbourhood where one building may throw flames onto opposing structures. Their high resistance to heat also means that tiles can either absorb incoming heat or reflect it so that your home stays cool. This can ensure that during the hottest days in Phoenix, Arizona, your home stays cool.

How Long Can the Roof Last?

The life of a tile roof can vary based on how well it is cared for and the type of material used in its construction. In optimal conditions, concrete tile roofs can last for 50 years or more. On the other hand, clay roofs can last up to 100 years and can be more expensive than concrete roofs; however, they also have a good resale value.

A slate tile roof may be good for up to 80 to 200 years, given it is properly maintained. You can also find them in several different shapes. Tile roofs can last a lifetime too, but they require appropriate maintenance. That said, some factors can reduce their lifespan.

Even though birds may seem harmless, their droppings are high in uric acids, which can weaken a tile if it stays on it for too long. Additionally, leaves and other debris that accumulates on your roof can also form a water dam which can weaken a tile’s foundation.

Every tile is designed to divert water off your roof quickly, but the underlayment is what stops water from seeping into your home. Unfortunately, this can also deteriorate with time. Try your best to ensure that this seal never breaks!

Kyko Roofing Systems Has Got You Covered

Rather than testing your luck and assuming that your roof and its underlayment can’t be damaged, you should conduct a frequent check on your roof’s health with help from a professional. We’d advise you not to do it yourself since walking on a tile incorrectly may cause it to crack. If you don’t know how to go about this process smoothly or feel safe doing it, KY-KO Roofing Systems can help.

The roofers working for us in Phoenix, Arizona, have been trusted by the people of Arizona ever since we started operating doors back in 1994. To get in touch, call us today or fill out a form on our website to get in touch.