9 Concrete Roof Tiles Problems and How to Identify

Concrete tiles gained popularity after the Second World War when traditional roofing materials became scarce. Today, homeowners love them for their longevity, looks, energy efficiency, and many other advantages.

However, problems are inevitable, and concrete tile roofing experiences a host of them. We are going to highlight some of these problems below. We will also tell you how to identify them and suggest a few solutions.

1. Fading

concrete roof fading

Concrete tiles come in a variety of colors and patterns. Unfortunately, they are prone to fading after continuous UV exposure. This problem is not common in clay or slate tiles.

Although some people may prefer weathered tiles for their natural look, those who love bright colors may feel frustrated. Faded tiles could also pose an inconsistency problem when replacing damaged ones.

You could solve this problem by repainting the tiles regularly. However, the additional costs may be too much to bear. A repaint job could cost you around $2500. A more permanent solution would be going for concrete tiles whose color was added before molding. These will not fade like tiles whose color was added to the surface after they were formed.

2. Weight

Concrete tiles are heavy. They weigh between 400 and 1000 pounds per square. Such immense weight is bound to put a lot of strain on your roof deck. In fact, the roof could cave in if you fail to address the issue before laying the tiles.

There is no getting around the weight problem unless you opt for synthetic concrete tiles. The only remedy is to reinforce your roof deck to ensure it can withstand the weight. You may have to involve a structural engineer to get this one right.

If you are replacing an asphalt roof with concrete tiles, do not be tempted to lay them over the old roof deck. It is better to incur the extra cost of reinforcing the structure than risk your roof caving in.

3. Water Absorption

Concrete tiles are more porous than clay or slate. Therefore, they will absorb rainwater and moisture from the air. The water will compound an already existing weight problem, thus straining your roof deck more. Water absorption also leads to fungal growth and efflorescence. But more on these two problems later.

It is imperative to note that the porous nature of concrete tiles will not lead to leaking. Also, moss build-up and efflorescence are easy to tackle. Additionally, the weight problem will not be an issue if you account for it when laying the roof deck.

If water absorption becomes too much of a problem, however, you can apply a roof sealant. It works by forming a protective coating that will keep away water and moisture.

4. Brittleness

Concrete tiles are naturally brittle and will crack or break under impact. Therefore, they are not the type of roofing material you should be walking on, at least not cautiously. Cracks and chips can also occur due to hail, mistakes during installation, and falling branches.

You can avoid damaging your tiles by learning how to walk on a concrete tile roof during cleaning and maintenance. The first step is to ensure you have soft-soled shoes. When walking, only step on the spot where the edges of adjacent tiles overlap. Also, avoid applying too much pressure and distribute your weight evenly while at it.

Additionally, get rid of trees with overhung branches that could potentially fall on the roof. The tiles may not survive the impact.

If the damage occurs, you should address it immediately. Fortunately, repairing damaged tiles is easy since you only need to replace the broken tiles. However, you may have to remove several tiles surrounding the broken one first.

5. Technical Installation

Installing concrete tiles is a labor-intensive process that requires specialized knowledge and skills. As a result, it is not easy to find the right installers for the job. Even qualified installers may not have experience installing concrete tiles in particular.

Installation mistakes are common due to the technical nature of the job. These are often costly and will negatively impact the longevity and durability of the tiles. You will also incur additional costs due to regular repairs.

There is no need to pay top dollar for a roof that will only last as long as cheaper options. Therefore, getting experienced installers is imperative. To be sure, ask for evidence of concrete tile roofs they have installed before. Some testimonials can also be reassuring.

6. Fungal growth

Moss, algae, and mold usually grow between the tiles. This issue is prevalent in wet areas. As we mentioned earlier, water absorption may also contribute to this problem.

Fungal growth leads to discoloration and water marks. However, the problem can go beyond aesthetics if you don’t address it promptly. It can lead to paint peels, leakages, and other structural issues that reduce the longevity of your roof.

Mold is not as common as the rest but is a health hazard. If it finds a way into your home through gaps on the roof, it can pose a danger to your health. These growths sometimes also give off an unpleasant smell.

The best way to deal with fungal growth is through prevention. That means regular cleaning and maintenance. Trimming trees that are near your roof and improving the ventilation can also help. Remember to clean the gutters to ensure the water drains effectively.

7. Low-Quality Tiles

Many concrete roofing tiles have flooded the market as their demand continues to soar. Some of these tiles are sub-standard and will not last as long as expected. They also require regular repairs and replacements.

Always ensure the tiles you buy are ASTM-certified to avoid problems down the road. Another way to ensure you buy high-quality concrete tiles is by looking for a trusted manufacturer or supplier. Lower prices than usual should also raise a red flag.

8. Efflorescence

Efflorescence is characterized by the appearance of a white chalky substance on the surface of the tiles. It occurs when the water mixed with carbon dioxide combines with lime in the concrete. This natural occurrence is only an aesthetic issue, though.

Efflorescence makes the concrete tiles appear stained. But you can clean it off with just a simple wash. It may be impossible to avoid this phenomena since it is natural. However, you can keep the water and moisture away by applying a sealant.

9. Maintenance

Concrete tiles need more maintenance than clay or slate tiles. Their porous nature accelerates problems such as efflorescence and fungal growth, and they are prone to color fading. Since they are brittle, maintenance and cleaning are not a walk in the park.

Maintaining a concrete roof involves removing and replacing damaged tiles and cleaning to remove debris, dirt, and fungal growth. You should perform inspections at least biannually and clean the roof once a year.

It may take a while for the tiles to start fading. So, it could be years before they require repainting. However, you will have to hire a professional for this task, and it will cost you around $2500.

How to Identify Concrete Roof Tiles Problems

It is imperative to identify concrete tile roofing problems early before they cause further damage. For instance, failure to eliminate algae and moss on time could lead to leakages that will be more costly to repair. Here are several ways you can identify these issues.

Regular Inspections

You should perform regular inspections on your roof to check for damaged tiles, fungal growth, and leakages. Do this at least twice a year and every time your area experiences extreme weather conditions like storms and hail.

Musty Smell

A musty smell in your house could be a sign of mold build-up in the home’s interior. If the mold is growing in the attic or interior, it means the roof is leaking. You should hire a professional to check for points of leakages as soon as possible.

Varying Temperatures in Different Rooms

Every room in your house should feel comfortable if you have air conditioning. If some rooms feel colder or warmer than others, it could be due to faulty ventilation or a damaged roof. The leaky roof could be letting the bad air in and the good air out. Hire a professional to check for any damage if you experience this issue.


How long will a concrete tile roof last?

On average, a concrete tile roof will last for 50 years. However, it can even last as long as 100 years with proper installation and maintenance.

Will a concrete tile roof leak?

A concrete tile roof should not leak if properly installed. However, leakages could occur due to damaged tiles.


There are many reasons why you should install a concrete tile roof. However, you should be aware of the problems you are likely to experience. You can avoid many of them through regular cleaning and maintenance. However, some are inevitable.

The best way to deal with the issues outlined above is to fix them as early as possible. That means you should conduct regular inspections. Otherwise, failure to nip the problems in the bud could result in irreversible damage or costly repairs.

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