Pros of Tile Roofing

Tile roofing materials are known by many as the southwest style or look.  Shingles made from clay, concrete, or sand-cast tiles are usually seen on many southwestern United States homes, but that does not mean that that region is where they must stay.

Tile roofs can be beneficial to all .  But, as with most everything in life, tile roofing materials do come with their own set of benefits as well as draw backs.


But while these cons mean added cost for tile roofing, both initially and when the under-layer needs replacing, tile roofs have many pros to go with them, such as:

  • Endurance.  Tile roofs are well-known for their longevity and durability.  Once installed, the title shingles of the roof will last over fifty years.
  • Tough.  While the tile shingles themselves are actually quite fragile, they are likewise extremely tough as they are fireproof, resilient to insects, unaffected by rot, and can take a beating from a rain storm.
  • Evolution.  Developers of tile roofing shingles are coming out with new styles such as tiles shingles that look like wooden shingles, only, again, these “wooden” shingles wouldn’t catch fire, and other advances that are making the tiles lighter and less fragile.

Residential Solar Installations Made Easy

Published North American Clean Energy | November December 2012 | Pg. 20

Residential Solar Installations Made Easy

Mounting panels on tiled roofs

By Shelby Evans

solar tile mount, tile roof

The United States has over 5,700 MW of installed solar electric capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association ( That’s enough to power more than 940,000 average American households. This year, the residential PV market has continued to show steady, incremental growth. There was 98 MW of residential installations in the second quarter of 2012, which is up 42% over Q2 2011 installations.

Thanks to ever-adapting technology, solar panels can now be installed on a variety of different roof types, making solar energy accessible to nearly every household, at least from an application standpoint. Of course, some applications are easier than others, and most installers would probably agree that mounting solar panels on a tiled roof is one of the most challenging undertakings. This is especially true when installing panels on profiled tiles, such as S-Tiles. These types of roofs are popular in states such as California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Florida.

Tiled-roof challenges

A tiled-roof home presents difficulty from the very beginning of a solar installation project. Tiles are inherently delicate, so one wrong, or less than careful step, and they can break. As most installations for solar panels include eight or more steps on a rooftop to complete the installation, the process of mounting solar panels to a tiled roof can be tedious and time consuming, with a large margin for error.

Fortunately, solar mounting products that can be installed without cutting tiles are now available, and can save time and money—not to mention tiles. Of course, finding the right mounting product is key. Installers will want to look for products that don’t require the additional purchase of flashing hardware, that reduce the amount of parts and labor needed, and, most importantly, that maintain the roof’s warranty.Most solar tile mounts require the tile to be cut for it to properly attach to the rafter under the decking below the roof. Often integrators have little experience cutting tile. Because of its delicate nature, cutting tile takes skill. And even then, breakages can occur. A better solution is to eliminate cutting the tiles altogether.

Here are three keys to successfully installing solar panels on a tiled roof…

  • STEP 1: Mount placement & adjustmentsolar racking, solar tile mount

Depending on the type of tiled roof, some adjustments of the mount may be necessary. The solar tile mount selected should allow for vertical and horizontal adjustments. The horizontal adjustment offers some “play” or leniency when fastening to a rafter/truss, which is almost always required. The vertical adjustment allows installers to elevate and lower the mount for use with different types of tile installation, such as direct-to-deck, horizontal batten, and elevated battens.

Solar tile mounts should be elevated above the tile so there is a 1/4-inch minimum gap between the roof tile surface and the solar tile mount. This helps prevent tiles from breaking when load is placed on the panels from wind or snow. If the mount is used with an S-Tile roof, the mount should be positioned over the lowest point in the pan of the tile.

  • STEP 2: Fastening

Each solar tile mount must be attached directly into the roof framing below the roof deck (i.e. truss, purlin, beam, etc.), with at least two, high-quality fasteners. SDS screws, which don’t require pre-drilling, are preferable. Not drilling saves time and tiles.

Remember to purchase a mount that allows for side-to-side adjustment to locate a structural member. Problems often occur when the pan of the tile and the structural member don’t line up.

  • STEP 3: Flashing

There are several options available for flashing the base of the solar tile mount, and installers can:

1. Use a flexible flashing to cover the base, extending the flashing about two inches from the side and top edges of the base. Afterwards, an EPDM roller can be employed to secure the adhesive to the underlayment.

2. Trowel the mastic or butyl so that it’s large enough to cover the entire surface area of the base, and beneath the base before installation.

3. A waterproofed membrane can be applied over the mount base and extended up-slope, lacing it into the roofing felt or underlayment above.

Tile modifications

Once the solar tile mount has been fully installed, it’s important to replace the tile from the course above. In order for the tile to sit properly on the course below, the weather-check (bottom lug of the tile) must be removed.

Installing solar panels on tiled roofs is no longer all that challenging with the proper mounting products. After locating the rafter on the roof and loading the materials required for installation, the rest should be simple. Using the steps and options suggested here, mounting solar panels—even to tiled roofs—shouldn’t cause breakage or difficulties. As there are many solar mounting options on the market today, however, spend the time researching and finding the solution that works best for you.


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Image 1: S-Tiles shown with and without notch

Image 2: S-Tile mount fastening

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