Common causes of broken roof tiles

Left to their own devices with no external influence, roof tiles will last a lifetime without cracking or breaking. However, the fact they live outdoors means they are exposed to things that can break them.

If you’ve ever had a broken roof tile, you’ll know the dangers all too well.

A broken roof tile is a tile that can let water and moisture penetrate it. Conventional logic says this is not such a concern if you have a waterproof membrane below the tiles (the most common is felt) but this is no guarantee a roof won’t leak.

For this reason, it’s important to get broken roof tiles replaced when you spot them. If you have an annual roof inspection performed, your roofer will probably find at least one or two tiles that are broken and in need of replacement.

But why do they break? What are the common causes? In this article, we’ll cover these.

Birds

Birds are a nuisance on roofs. They peck at moss and unearth it, causing it to run down the roof and into your gutters which can clog them.

In the case of broken roof tiles, birds can nest underneath them if there’s a hole (they often get in under the eaves). They can also drop stones onto your roof, a by-product of them clawing up sticks and undergrowth for nesting.

You should get broken roof tiles replaced immediately if birds have started to try and get in. You may find birds pecking at a tile to make the hole larger.

Impact damage

You might not think your roof is susceptible to impact damage, but the fact birds drop stones onto your roof is proof it is.

Most impact damage is the result of weather, which can drop relatively heavy sticks on the roof if you live close to a tree. Hail stones are also culprits for breaking roof tiles. The bigger they are, the more likely a tile will break.

Tiles are quite hardy and can resist some impacts, but if there’re any imperfections in the tile (these develop naturally over time) an impact can cause a crack.

Improper installation

The strange thing about roofing is that to the untrained eye, a dodgy roof can appear perfectly fine from ground or even inspection level. However, improper installation of roof tiles is more common than you think.

Tiles need to be installed with a minimum distance between tiles, and they need to be self-supporting with a consistent weight distribution. If these things are not achieved, the tiles will be subjected to stresses which can cause cracks.

The only way to know if the cause of your broken roof tiles is improper installation, is to have a reputable company inspect your roof.

If you live in Leeds or the surrounding area, we’d be happy to perform this inspection for you. Perhaps you have a few broken tiles? It’s no problem. Just let us know what tiles your roof has (for example, concrete) and we’ll replace them on our visit.

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