Skip to main content

How to Install Clay Roof Tile Correctly

Writer and Blogger. Writes on business, digital marketing, personal development, spirituality and technology.

Tile roofing is not new to us. It's been around for centuries. And in the modern age, tile roofing is still widely used because of its aesthetic appeal, durability, longevity, and energy efficiency benefits.

Now manufacturers are producing tiles from various materials aside from traditional clay tiles. Some worth mentioning varieties are metal, concrete, bitumen, copper, and polymer-sand tile. However, the demand for clay tiles is still high for tile roofing due to their insulation, weather resistance, and low maintenance facilities. If you are planning for clay roof tile, you have made the right decision.

However, tile installation is not an ordinary DIY project. You need to hire a professional roofer to set up the tiles correctly because they have proper knowledge of roofing material and installation procedures. Also, you should have a basic concept of the process to ensure everything is happening appropriately.

In this article, you’ll get a brief guideline on the clay tile roofing process. It includes a 5 step approach from learning roofing components to finishing the tiling process with ridge setup. Let’s get started.

1. Understand roofing components:

A clear idea about the different parts of the roofing will help you to select and buy materials correctly. Also, you will understand installation instructions easily. Here is an image that illustrates the components of roofing work.

Scroll to Continue

2. Choose the materials:

The next step is to know what stuff you need for clay tile roofing. Although roofing work involves various tools and materials, you should decide on essential materials such as roof deck, underlayment, flashing, battens, nails and clips, and mortar. Get expert help to select the right items for your project.

3. Estimate for materials:

After you've selected the appropriate materials for clay tile roofing work, your next step is to calculate the number of materials. To do this, measure your area first. Then divide the area number by the unit of each material. If possible, get the help of professionals to measure the exact quantity of materials.

4. Tile installation process:

The process involves several stages, and below are the steps to follow.

  1. Prepare roof surface: Before you begin roof setup, ensure the surface is even. If it is not in the proper condition, apply mortar or a thin-set product to even up the area.
  2. Set up roof deck: Roof deck serves as a foundation for the entire roof system. There are mainly three types of the deck – concrete, wood, and metal. Wooden material such as plywood is popular among them.
  3. Install underlayment: Roofing underlayment is a water-resistant layer that goes on top of the roof deck. Although several types of underlayment are available, you can select asphalt-saturated felt material for clay tiles.
    To set underlayment, roll out felt paper and cover all deck areas appropriately. Keep in mind that the roof edge and valleys are covered perfectly. If needed, install an extra layer in these areas. Then secure the underlayment with nails.
  4. Install metal flashing: Metal flashing is used to protect roofing components from water. It is installed on exterior edges (eaves and rakes) and around the chimney, conduit, and vents. And in the places where the roofs meet a vertical wall. After setting up flashing, use caulk or other sealants to seal these areas.
  5. Set battens: If your roof has a steep slope, you want to install battens to hold the tiles. Battens are thin wooden stripes, generally 1 inch thick and 2 inches wide. They should be placed at a certain distance. To determine the distance between two battens, use two tiles and measure their height and width. Maintain a consistent space in setting up the battens.
  6. Install the tiles: Begin by positioning the first tile from below and on a corner. Then nail the tile into the batten and use a clip to anchor the tiles to the batten. Then place the second tile in the way you do with the first one. Make sure the second one will overlap the first tile. Then complete laying the tiles in the first row in the same way. After that, move up and set up tiles in the next row.
  7. Cut tiles to fit the edges: Chimney, rakes, and eaves areas are unequal. To set tiles in these areas, you need to cut tiles. Be cautious in cutting the tiles because you have to fit them tightly around these areas.

5. Install the ridge tiles:

After completing tile installation in the board area, you want to cap the upper parts of the roof. For this, ridge tiles are used. They are fitted in an end-to-end or overlapping style. It depends on the roofing type and design.


Clay tile roofing needs less maintenance but lasts more than 100 years if installed correctly. However, they may start slipping and falling off the roof because of poor fasting and low-quality materials. Therefore, it is wise to use good quality material and set it up appropriately for a long-lasting roofing system.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Shamima Akter

Related Articles