From the earliest days of rooftop PV, installers have struggled with tile roofs. Broken tile is a reality that solar installers learn to live with. Repairs can be time-consuming, difficult, expensive and unattractive—but there are options out there to repair broken tile.
Reduce potential for breakage
Though it’s almost impossible to avoid breaking tiles, installers can minimize tile breakage by following these guidelines:
- Walk carefully on the bottom third of the tile where it is supported by the tile underneath.
- Protect ladder access points and walkways around the array by using pads or cushioned platforms.
- Use lightweight installers.
Replace broken tile
Corner-breaks of roofing tile are very common. Some installers ignore corner breaks or try to re-attach corners with adhesive, which is not a reliable long-term solution. Larger breaks compromise the water-shedding performance of the tile and allow more water to get to the underlayment, increasing the potential for a leak. Replacing the tile is the optimal solution. Whenever possible, visit the local tile yard prior to the installation to find tiles that match the shape of the existing tile to make sure replacements fit precisely. Finding an exact color match is difficult, so try to find tiles close in color. A color difference is rarely noticed on a second-story roof, but first-story roofs are more easily seen. Off-color replacement tiles can be swapped with existing tiles from less visible areas, such as a second-story roof section or under the array. In a pinch, spare tiles that do not match in color can be painted to blend in with the existing tiles.
Avoid repairs with the Tile Replacement Mount
Another option is to use Quick Mount PV’s Tile Replacement Mount, which mitigates the issue of repairing or replacing broken tiles. This tile roof attachment replaces the tile with a metal flashing that is shaped like the tile. Every mount installed yields a spare tile that can be used for repairs of broken tiles. This eliminates trips to the tile yard, tile swapping or painting tile to match.
The Tile Replacement Mount offers three different form-fitting replacement metal tiles that fit in the place of flat, S or W tiles. Two lag screws secure the base to the rafter using elevated water seal technology. The installer slides the post in the slotted base to center it on the tile. The base incorporates an integrated metal flashing for easy bibbing or three coursing into the underlayment per the flashing requirements mandated by the Tile Roofing Institute Installation Manual.
This installation tip was provided by Jeff Spies, senior director of policy, Quick Mount PV